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Lessons The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman Taught Me

I promise this is my last spill on Salesmen. I may have made that promise on this previous post, I apologize for breaking it!

Hubby, who is ever so sweet finds it hard to shut the door in people’s faces so when the Vacuum Cleaner man came acalling, he agreed to a demonstration at a later time when yours truly would be home.
The demonstration was meant to be for an hour, and by our calculation would be done and dusted by 8pm. Now 8pm Tuesdays was a crucial time in our household. The boys went to bed earlier, I was on a high and hubby and I just couldn’t wait for Prison Break to begin!
So the salesman began by introducing himself to me, showing his driver’s license for identification. That was when I made my first mistake.

Lesson one
Don’t engage in conversation.
I remarked how slim he had become compared to his photo. That, my friend was when the man gave me the looooong spill about how he was so overweight that he nearly died. He told me his story while very slowly unwinding the power cord from the cleaner. I figured it was an emotional story, once we get past this point, we’ll be on the move. Wrong again.

The conversation went on, I learned that he nearly died twice on the operating table, during his stomach stapling procedure. And how he had to have his stomach stapled twice. That he otherwise shouldn’t be standing in my living room at that time. Somehow it led him to talk about his grandmother and how her son (his father) knew she was going to die. And how she asked her son to stop praying for her so that she could go in peace. This led to talks about our faith, we shared the same faith- then he told me the history of the church he attended. His father was the pastor. He paused only to describe in detail the directions to the church and if I’d ever been to Marietta I would recognize the monument a few yards from the church . I should have just said ‘yes, I know the church‘, sadly some of us are slow learners. So he continued until I was forced to lie.

Lesson two

Be ruthless

By this time the presentation had not even started. I gathered the courage to gently stir him towards the reason he was in my living room. He then began by saying he got paid just to do the presentation. I assured him we had heard of the brand but we certainly were not going to purchase a thousand dollar vacuum cleaner today, but he was happy to simply do the pres and get paid. He said it didn’t matter so long as he showed me what the machine could do. If that’s what it took to put some money in the man’s pocket, it wasn’t so bad right?
He finally began. Attachment after attachment, he drawled on and on and on about how great the equipment was. From the ability to suck up and hold onto a Yellow Pages Phone book, to the gentle rose petal cleaning setting. Hubby wickedly abandoned me by this time to watch Prison Break upstairs, can you imagine?
Don’t worry, I paid him back as the V.C man asked to show me the dust mite removing function, so upstairs we went!

Lesson three

Don’t take him upstairs, Do tell him you majored in Biology

Not surprisingly the dust-mite demonstration was preceded by a lecture on the life cycle of dust-mites, what they liked to feed on, etc. He went into details of how allergies could lay dormant and then suddenly appear- a result of inhaling dust-mite droppings. His words were shrouded with pity as he spoke.

Next we went back downstairs where he nearly showed me the fan blade cleaning attachment. This time I put my foot down,” NO! I believe you, no need to show me!”

Finally, he asked me a very surprising question; “Would you like to buy one?”

My simple answer was “no thanks”

“Can I ask why?”

At this point I was convinced he had a recorder as his sales calls were being monitored. What else was I to think? Did I not tell this man at the beginning I only agreed to this for his benefit? Still I answered;

We are not in the habit of making spur of the moment financial decisions, especially spending that much on a V.C.”

“So it’s the money then? Give me a second“, he quipped excitedly.

He gets up to make a phone call which goes like this:

“The lady said she isn’t willing to spend a grand on a v.c. Oh? Really? I didn’t know that. Okay, that’s awesome. Are you kidding? Right, I’ll get on with it”.

He carries on with me;

“This is so bizarre. My boss actually said we can offer you interest free payments. They don’t do that anymore but he’s willing to do so just this once.”

He whips out his order forms.

“Er.. no, not really. We are not looking to buy a new one, even with your kind offer, thanks anyway. Besides we already have a v.c that does the job, we seriously don’t need all the attachments too.”

“Oh! So you have a v.c already?”


“Great! What’s the brand?”, he scribbles down as I tell him.

“What would you be doing with your old V.C if you were to buy one of ours?”

“We will not be buying one.”

“Hy-po-the-ti-cally speaking, it’s just a survey question, no big deal.”  He was starting to sound condescending like I could not think hypothetically.

“I’ll give it away to charity.”

“Okay. I just need to call my boss.”

“The lady said (repeats entire conversation) and that she’ll be giving away her old one to charity if she bought ours. Oh really? You can-not-be-serious. No! wow. I didn’t know you could do that. Okay, that’s fine then, thanks man.”

V.C shakes his head a few times.Stands up and paces back and forth. Then he sits again and puts his head down on the table for effect, mouth open wide in “disbelief”. After what seems like an eternity of me wondering what his great comeback will be, V.C speaks.

“I didn’t know they could do that. I se-ri-ous-ly did not know that was possible. You learn a new thing everyday”, he says to me. He keeps shaking his head. Me, I leave him to do his routine in peace.

“Would you believe they said because you are giving your old cleaner to charity they will knock off the cost of a new one? Approximately $120?”

“??? I’ll be honest with you V.C. Even if you sold us this cleaner for 10cents, I wouldn’t buy it, we don’t need it. Maybe when I move into my dream home I’ll give you a call but for now, we are very happy.”

Finally he left, but not before admitting to me that the only reason he bought one was because

he moved into a previously lived-in house. Oh and yes, we didn’t really need one as our home was a new build.


9 responses »

  1. Hahaha, you met someone who could out-talk you? Wow! You omitted the dandruff removing attachment 🙂

  2. I love this Toks. Very hilarious. I could just imagine your the look on your face. But you could learn a thing or two with this. Have a great day

  3. I sold VC for about two weeks back in 2003. So I can tell you all that shit is scripted.

  4. LOL! Thanks for the info, I will never accept a sales demonstration:)

  5. Pingback: Business News Today… « Toks's Blog

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