I am an easy mark for folks who work at anything other than standing on a corner with a sign summarizing their terrible existence, often the result of not really working in the first place. So it should come as no surprise that I would extend this kindness to two college age ladies standing in my driveway, talking to Sharon when I drove in from running a few errands. These ladies patiently explained that if we would let a representative from their company come into our home and simply vacuum one room, they (these two ladies) would be paid 25.00 and all would be well. They assured us that nothing need be bought, and after the floor was vacuumed, the sales representative would be on his way. With this introduction, we let a Kirby vacuum salesman into our home. I can honestly say, I have never seen anything like the fiasco we unleashed and never hope to again. So, this story begins!
At about the same time a previously ordered pizza was delivered, a van drove up and expelled two young men who promptly set about unloading a demonstration Kirby vacuum cleaner, carefully boxed in a manner that would make a Chinese furniture packer green with envy. The driver shook my hand and promptly departed in the van, leaving his protege’ to handle the sales pitch. That our salesman was now stranded should have been a clue, but what the devil, just vacuum the room and jump in the soon to return van and be on your way. The two girls will have earned their 25.00, we will enjoy our pizza and life would be good. Except…….that is not the Kirby way. At this point, I should note that Sharon had the good sense to stress, in terms that Tazzy could understand, that we would NOT be buying a vacuum cleaner, under any circumstances. Period, as Fred Sanford would say.
After unpacking his shiny, aluminum alloy vacuum cleaner, the salesman, a young man that I would judge to be about 25 or so, carefully made a production of displaying 50 or so round, white discs that resembled coffee filters. He also assured us that in spite of our efforts to maintain a clean home, we were living in filth, which he captured on these filters one at a time, thus proving we were next in line to have my office declared a Haz-Mat site. All the while he chattered on about the virtues of his vacuum, the superior suction, quietness and the comparative lightness of their proprietary new alloy machine. Simultaneously, the salesman was flipping through a binder, a prop designed to emphasis the absolute necessity of owning a Kirby vacuum. We were patient, but unmoved. Sharon, sensing my rising displeasure, dispatched me to the living room with instructions to begin eating the slowly congealing pizza, which was under the protective gaze of Tazzy. She was within earshot, and I clearly heard her again carefully inform the salesman we would not be buying a vacuum, even if it repainted the office and dusted the bookcase. The salesman was undeterred, and bantered on, while I enjoyed a slice or two of pizza. The pizza had a calming affect on me, and I walked back into the office and told young Lee Iacocca to pack his vacuum up and leave my home, giving him 5 minutes to accomplish this prodigious feat, of which two minutes were already used in the delivery of this ultimatum. He began packing, but was still on message, explaining that we could not possibly go on living as we do without his vacuum. Then after packing, and still chattering incessantly, he announced he had no ride. Not a problem I said, use the cell phone in your pocket and call your vacuum, uber van and tell him to haul ass over here as your life is in danger. “I can’t”, he said, “my phone has no SIM card”. We retrieved one of our cells and dialed the number provided for him and he then used it to explain that his customers (us) were getting increasingly frustrated, and that he (the van driver) should expedite his efforts to retrieve him. We helped him and his vacuum to the curb and waited for the van, which had already driven by once without stopping. The van finally stopped and in the time it takes to load a vacuum cleaner and a salesman, Sharon delivered a blistering summation of their tactics and product to the driver, presumably the “Team Lead”. I was proud of her ability to deliver such a crisp, succinct and horrifying summation in 30 seconds. I learned some new words and have now been schooled on tone and inflection! I should note that young Iacocca thanked me for not beating the crap out of him as he drug his ultralight vacuum down our driveway, a clear indication of some situational reasoning skill.
You may be wondering why we just didn’t buy the vacuum cleaner, and use it as a spare behind our very efficient current device, if for no other reason than to be free from this plague we had brought upon ourselves. The Kirby he was hawking retails at $3,500.00, give or take! Kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it? So, if a couple of comely shills stop by and suggest they are working their way through college by lining up a vacuum job for your home, don’t take the bait. Gently close the door, cross yourself even if you are not Catholic and sweeten your offering the next time you visit your church. Some acts of kindness are clearly counter productive…….