31 December 2011

The Door-to-Door Vacuum Salesman

The Kirby Sentria

Have you ever heard of a Kirby vacuum cleaner? Of course you have! Your grandma probably had one...or coveted one. Both my mom and my mother-in-law had Kirbys...my mom still has the same one that we got used when I was about 10 years old. 

They are the BEST vacuum cleaners on the face of the planet. On this, there is virtually unanimous agreement. But... is a new Kirby $2500 better than your current one? Sure it can do windows and detail your car and unclog drains, but so can a roll of paper towels and a bottle of windex, the 16-year old car-nut down the street, and a toilet plunger. 

Last night, my husband and I were invaded by the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. I was going to write a post about our experience, but I found an excellent telling of the exact same story already online. I really wish I had read it yesterday afternoon before the psycho Kirby-bots from Hell rang my doorbell. The only differences between our experience and the one in the linked story are:
  • our incident occurred on a Friday late afternoon around 5 pm.
  • we were treated to a sort of harmlessly dorky and goofily earnest young man in a suit and tie minus the jacket instead of an attractive blonde.
  • he was accompanied by his squat, slick 'boss' instead of a handsome associate.
  • I was instructed to call a number on the flyer to schedule the appointment...which I didn't do and so was completely baffled when they showed up at my door 10 minutes later.
Otherwise, the experiences are identical almost to the letter.

Well, throw in 4 kids who were wanting dinner and a husband who got home from work at the exact same time as the 'presentation' was about to start and really just wanted a shower and a nap and to go to his buddy's poker game. It sucked. Almost as much as that Kirby can.

When they asked for my social security number to be written on a circular filter paper because they 'had no paperwork,' the red flags were whipping me in the face so hard the metal grommets drew blood (figuratively). No business cards. No product brochures. But sign a contract for a $3000 vacuum cleaner.  My husband did finally get pissed and very politely excused them from the premises.

They didn't get the sale.


They did clean the filthiest part of the lovely pink carpet for free! 

That linked story takes you to a website that has other dirt on Kirby sales techniques and recruiting, in addition to some other interesting stuff. You might like to check it out :)


  1. I spent about a month as a Kirby salesperson. Never made a dime on my one sale because my sales manager gave away my commission to get the customer to buy. Pretty sure he didn't give away HIS commission. Worst company I ever worked for.

  2. We had a Kirby demonstration at our old house. The carpet shampooing was well worth our time, and if I'd had $2500 or whatever it cost to buy myself a new Kirby they'd have had a sale. Instead, I saved up, hit up ebay, and have my own kickass vaccuum...which would be even more fantastic if I hadn't lost the #*$&%#@ cap to the shampooer attachment.

  3. OK, that's too funny...I responded before reading the linked story, and then saw the advice about ebay. lol. One good move, anyway.

  4. Shuts up-they asked for your social?!? What the?
    Also, Dyson kicks everything else's behind. :) Except it doesn't shampoo. But do you know how many times I could have had my carpet (when we had them) professionally cleaned before I hit $2500? yeah.
    Ah, salesmen.
    The link was awesome, though I have to say, the super pricey blender-totally worth it to us, and still going strong 8 years later! :P

  5. I was under the impression that Dyson was the new kid on the block, no? It just seems like they are raising the barre with innovation never before imagined for vacuum cleaners.

    We get window salesman all the time. The 4 guy tag team. I just make up my own language and start drooling.

  6. ok I would hate that so much! But at least you got a clean spot on your carpet, right?

  7. I do love my Kirby but I inherited it so no cost to me. I was an awesome phone rep for Kirby ( 20 yrs ago) and scheduled appointments for their sales guys for 4 years which paid for my college tuition. I'd only buy on ebay and never let them in the door but they are an awesome vacuum!!! So sorry that you went through a presentation!!! Happy New Years!

  8. I once got a door to door salesman selling home security systems. When I answered the door, I was holding onto my dog's collar, as he was barking furiously at the salesman. When the man started into his spiel, I interrupted him, pointed to my dog and said "this is my home security system!" The man was so dumbfounded he didn't know what to say!

    You need some type of smart-aleck comeback to the next vacuum cleaner salesman! Happy New Year!

  9. No, they are not. I'll be straight with you. " No soliciting"! If the living standards in the U.S were high you would have tile floors, plain & simple. You would never have to worry about vacuuming. The carpet standard is b.s. My Wal-Mart vac sucks more than a $1,000 Kirby. Their eco filter test is b.s, anyone can make that. They are worse than Jehovah's witness. The vacs are too heavy, wood rollers, old lighting system, uses bags, hardware used is company internal, it's going to rust, the power switch is weaker then what you buy at Wal-Mart with a low switch pressure rating, and the wheels don't have rubber tracks. Take a look at the Kirby again, the "only" reason it cleans more is because the motor is forward mounted right at the intake duct, they are not getting what they ask for. It's a $50-$100 Wal-Mart vacuum or a $130 combo and that's it.

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  11. These vacuum cleaners are comparatively expensive, but they are going to leave your house totally dust free. You might also want a vacuum cleaner with a bag. Vacuum, best vacuum cleaner

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