I had never heard of a Kirby vacuum cleaner, so the first few times the Kirby guy came to the door, I didn’t know what he was talking about.
And that’s what he did, just popped by like a 1950’s milkman, did the old Shave-And-A-Haircut knock, and then when my kids asked who he was through the door, he just said in a bored, routine-sounding voice, “Kirby guy!”
As if that would be grounds for letting him in. It wasn’t. Beat it, Kirby Guy.
Then every few months, he’d come back. It made us suspicious – why was he presenting himself as someone children should let into the house? One time he showed up about thirty seconds after a gaggle of twelve year-old girls came in for a birthday party, did the same thing. That time we may or may not have called the cops.
Anyway, this time they tried a different tack. They sent a cute college chickaroo to the door first, who told us that they were doing free Kirby demonstrations with No Purchase Necessary in our neighborhood tonight – and what’s more, if she scheduled one more demonstration that night, her and her roommate got to go on Spring Break to Cancun!
This approach was successful, but not for the creepy reason you might think. I was right in the middle of blithely closing the door on the Spring Break Girl, even though she was still chattering. My wife then made a strange move.
No wait, she said, let the strange college girl who likes to party come on in. I should like to avail myself of this free demonstration she speaks of.
Well okay, sure, why not. The girl came in and explained that she would have a technician here very shortly who would then demonstrate the amazing Kirby vacuum cleaner for us, and she must have reassured me ten times that no purchase was necessary.
She of course did not have to do that. It’s very rare that allowing someone into your home equals a solid, legal obligation to purchase a $1600 vacuum cleaner from the next person who comes into your home. I mean, I’m no lawyer, but I’ve been around a little bit, seen a few things, you know?
So then the Spring Break girl – who really, kept telling us about Spring Break, long after it was clear that my wife wanted her to send a technician over – went away. I was thinking, man, if I had just been creepily suckered into letting the college girl in, I’d be kind of feeling stupid right now, since she’s leaving and now a dude with a NASA technology vacuum cleaner is coming, and something tells me he’s not going to be cute at all.
He was not. There were in fact, two of them. One was a technician, and one was a sort of laid-back, Alec Baldwin Sales Chieftain, who was here to confirm that in fact, a demonstration was taking place, which I guess is how the Spring Break Girl gets credit for setting the appointment.
The Chieftain began by introducing our Technician – I’ll leave their names out of it – and then proceded to engage in a series of psychological ploys in an attempt to get me to like him.
For instance, he noticed my chess board and said, “Ah, you play chess? Heh – I probably wouldn’t know how to move the pieces.”
Translation: You are smarter than me, Tom, so please relax and get out your money. If the chess board had been a weight set, he would have said, you are stronger than me, Tom, so please relax and get out your money.
I blinked at him. Took a swig of beer. Yes, I play chess, Chieftain, thank you for asking.
Meanwhile, the wife was getting pretty excited at the prospect of getting this guy to clean as much of our house as possible for free, safe in the knowledge that No Purchase was Necessary. I went ahead and made her a white russian, let’s take that edge off.
So then the Chieftain withdrew from the house, and the Technician began to really elaborately assemble his Super Vacuum, and I wasn’t making that NASA thing up. He literally told us that NASA helped design the vacuum cleaner. I started thinking about that Dyson Ball guy on television whose entire being revolves around improving the vacuum cleaner and I thought, I’d feel better about this guy and his rocket vacuum if he had a cool accent like the Dyson guy.
Meanwhile, he put the thing together with a weird demeanor which was one part boredom and one part expertise, making as he did so ten more attempts to win me over psychologically by trying to get me to agree with him about practically anything.
Just absoltuely clamoring to get the word “yes” to come out of my mouth. This had to be a specific part of his training, because I could see that he was getting frustrated by my refusal to say the actual word.
You seem like a smart guy, right Tom?
Big football fan, Tom?
Say, Tom, I like to breathe air, how ’bout yourself?
Blink, blink, blink. Glug, Glug, Glug. Ahhh, that’s a tasty beer.
The whole time he was casually, confidently scattering parts of what appeared to be a time machine all over the living room. This is presumably done so that it takes longer to tell him “no” at the end, and then get him the hell out of your house.
By the time he tells you that it’s $1600, his crap is all over the place. You can kick him out, sure, but then you have to stand there awkwardly, watching him gather all his belongings, looking hurt that you’ve refused his sales pitch after all you’ve been through with him. It’s like, man, you’re the one who ziplined in here out of nowhere, no one invited you.
Well, I guess Spring Break Girl did, that’s true. Where did she go, by the way? I miss her.
Fortunately, I have the kind of wife who doesn’t feel even slightly awkward about tossing a vacuum cleaner salesman out into the street, regardless of whatever personal connection they’d enjoyed during his visit.
So, after spending nearly an hour and a half crawling up and down the hallway, scrubbing baseboards with a variety of oversized dental attachments, after watching the Technician vacuum our entire living and dining room, and even our couch, well then she simply said, wow, great vacuum cleaner. Why don’t you go ahead and hit the bricks now? It’s getting late.
We hurt his feelings, that’s for sure. And I think we really disappointed him as human beings, as well. But the fact is, it’s just a vacuum cleaner and it’s not even that mind-blowing and we didn’t ask for one and the chances of us paying sixteen hundred dollars for it were exactly zero percent.
A rough gig though, for the Kirby Guy. I know a few car salesmen who have nightmares about my wife, and she was at her most cunning and ruthless that night. I felt kind of sorry for him the whole time, as I was lifting up my feet so he could vacuum under them for free while I blogged about it.
You might be hearing a little more about the Kirby vacuum guy – I found the entire experience absolutely fascinating. Soon, perhaps I’ll really dissect his sales pitch and put it up here for anyone googling them as he’s going through it. A lot of cool psychological tricks to watch out for.
Anyone else have any experience with the Kirby Vacuum guy? I’d love to hear it.