Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to Get Rid of a Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

So I come home from work the other night and there is a Kirby vacuum cleaner sitting in my living room. My husband has this defeated look on his face. I can tell it hasn't been a good afternoon.

Fun story: Russell had just put the baby down for an afternoon nap. He had a project deadline coming up and was going to try to get some good work done while the baby slept. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Russell answered it (mistake #1). A very nice sales guy asked if he could do a vacuum cleaner sales presentation. Russell told him we don't have any money to buy a vacuum. The guy said, "that's okay, I get $20 just for doing the presentation." Russell asked how long it would take and the guy said 15 minutes. Russell thought, I can give up 15 minutes of my time to help this guy make $20. He let him in (mistake #2).

It took the guy 15 minutes just to put together the vacuum cleaner. Russell didn't tell him his time was up (mistake #3). Instead, he listened to the presentation for AN HOUR AND A HALF. Not only that, but about halfway in, the vacuum WOKE UP THE BABY. He was a nice guy, but apparently one without kids, because he made no apology for waking up the baby. What he didn't realize was that not only had he robbed Russell of precious work time while the baby was napping, but he also made it impossible for Russell to get anything done for the rest of the evening, because the baby was cranky from having been woken up early from his nap! Aargh.

To top it all off, when the presentation was over, instead of packing up his vacuum and leaving, he told Russell he wanted to leave the vacuum here so that I could try it out, and that he would come back at noon the next day to talk to both of us, because (you guessed it) he gets even more credit if he pitches the husband and wife together. Russell let him leave it. (Mistake #...what are we on? I hope it doesn't sound like I was upset at Russell. I wasn't. I was super peeved at the salesman and the way he had taken advantage of Russell's kind nature.)

Well, whatever he thought was going to magically happen overnight to make us spend $2100 on a vacuum cleaner DIDN'T HAPPEN. Don't get me wrong, it's a great vacuum. It got all kinds of crap out of my carpet. He even cleaned a spot of tar out of the carpet with his carpet cleaner (that alone made me feel much better about the whole thing). If I had the money, I would buy it all. But the truth is that right now we have very different financial priorities; things like the mortgage, utilities, food, and clothing. A new vacuum is so far down the list I can't even see it with a telescope.

I steamed about it for hours that night. I couldn't sleep. I wanted to really tell the guy off. You come in here, make up stories about getting $20 just so we'll let you in, lie about the length of your presentation, take my husband away from his work, wake up the baby, ruin the whole afternoon, and now you want to talk about 12 months same-as-cash financing? YOU DON'T GET TO WASTE ANY MORE OF OUR TIME. We should have just not answered the door and kept the vacuum, no? Would have served him right.

I was much nicer than all that. I made Russell promise to stay in his office. Vacuum guy rang the doorbell, and I told him, "I'm really sorry you had to come back today. I'm not going to listen to your presentation." Of course, then it took him 15 minutes to pack up his vacuum, during which time he tried to make friendly conversation, and I remained awkwardly untalkative. No, I didn't use the vacuum. Yes, Russell is here, but he is working. Yes...Russell is pretty nice, isn't he? I'm sure he left thinking, poor Russell. He has to live with that b!@#%y woman, and he's such a nice guy...

I know. Most of you didn't know I could be like that.

12 comments:

Will said...

I would've left the vacuum on the doorstep with a fake restraining order taped to it. Well, maybe not the restraining order, how about a couple of quarters and a note for the guy to call somebody who cared. Signed, 1990.

carmen said...

Hey, You mean I'm not the only person that hates salesmen??

Chaka said...

Thank you for the reminder. I have a hard time being blunt and turning people away and I always end up regrettin it. Next time the traveling salesman shows up I will remember your story. (Which was well told I might add)

Liz said...

I hate hate hate when door to door salesmen come. We had a similar situation, not quite as dramatic as yours, about 7 yrs ago. My husband just is not mean enough to get them to leave. I do all the answering now, because I have no problem saying no.

RenegadeExpress said...

I didn't know you could be like that.

Kelley said...

Good for you, Bonnie. What that guy did was totally uncool. Honestly, if he intends to EVER sell a vacuum cleaner he'd better change his tactics and fast. Life asking if it's a good time or taking a bloody hint. I'm glad you got the tar out, though.

Buzz Carter said...

Yeah, Will's suggestion that you leave it on the porch with a restraining order doesn't go quite far enough for me.

I like Pictures. Like pictures of my gun collection. Or just one of them.

Lorinda said...

Bonnie, you are my hero. I wish i could be as honest. Mental note: remember Bonnie's vacuum. We have a really cute "no soliciting please" vinyl sticky on our front door now. Mike points out that it is too high to notice. I was going to cut the please off before i applied it, but i was feeling nice that day, i guess.

Lorinda said...

oh, and i love all the kirby vacuum cleaner ads at the bottom. heh.

Amy F said...

It's nice that Russell is so kind, though. If all people were, say, like me, all traveling sales people would have long quit their fruitless endeavor. (Or would start wearing shin guards because we'd have resorted to kicking them after they couldn't take a "no") (I'm not REALLY that mean, But, what's the phrase that best describes a situation like yours? "That really chaps my hide"?)

...Oh, and heaven help them if they get my husband. He used to be a pushover, but now he plays with them like a cat plays with a mouse...(It will be funny though when one day he actually gets a salesperson who starts talking back to him in Korean)

the lunch lady said...

i think salesmen must be so relieved when they get the husband -- Mark can't even hang up on a phone solicitor.

Joanna said...

You're awesome, Bonnie.