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Scaring the Salesmen. May 24, 2008

Posted by Mistress B in Kids, Ramblings, TJ.
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Yesterday I was caught out by a very slick salesperson.

She showed up  on  my doorstep with her bouncy blonde pony tail just bubbling with innocent effervescence about the ‘new’ ‘carpet cleaning company’ that was ‘just starting up in the area’ and how they weren’t trying to sell anything, just looking to promote their company by offering free cleaning of one room. Before I even realised what was going on she had effortlessly confirmed our address, wiggled my name out of me and booked in a crew to ‘clean our biggest room’. All they asked in return, she said on her way out the door, was to recommend them to my friends.

It was only after she left that I managed to get a good look at the flyer she handed me and saw in very small print the name ‘Kirby‘.


I am sooooooooo not interested in spending thousands on a vacuum that does no better job at ‘washing’ the carpets than the $32 hire machine from Woolies.

But then I figured I’d let them have a go at the stain near the TV unit before I hustled them back out the door.

Unfortunately I dropped the axe on my foot 10 minutes before they showed up. Mum wasn’t sitting through their spiel so told them to bugger off. They told her they’d be back today.

And back today they were.

The salesman arrives and is introduced to me by his manager. He thanks me for the opportunity to demonstrate the product for me as it is earning him points towards a prize (an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas).  He is irritating me right off the bat by constantly addressing me as ‘Miss Bettina’. I’m not an American southern bell that needs a ‘Miss’ in front of her name FFS! Then he starts telling me how my Dyson is designed to break after a few years,  then about this secret filter that apparently they don’t make obvious then use as an excuse to void your warranty blah blah blah which I just smiled and nodded at. They’ve obviously taught them to scare people off Dyson since the last time I saw the Kirby show!

After getting some of his ‘Kirby-is-so-much-better-than-Dyson’ shtick out of the way he gets about the business of vacuuming my living room. He first uses my Dyson which is still sucking a lot of dirt out of our ancient carpets. He then goes over it again with the Kirby which didn’t pick up very much at all in comparison to my Dyson or the other demo’s we’ve seen. Proof positive that the Dyson is doing it’s job. He’s explaining about the vibration technology that ‘lifts’ the dirt from under the carpet blah blah blah. I’m sitting there looking at the dirt on the pieces of black material that they use for demo’s and thinking “The dirt around our house isn’t quite that colour or texture”. It really made me wonder.

Then he vac’s part of the lounge and displays the *shock horror* dead skin cells. I’m meantime trying to figure out where the hell the cat hair is.  There was none.  None at all. None in the carpet samples, none on the lounge sample. With three cats in the house if my vacuum is so shit there should have been cat hair in his dirt samples. More proof in my mind that my Dyson is doing it’s job and doing it well. That, or the dirt on his sample cloths isn’t from my house at all, but sneakily put in there by him to aid the demo.

Then he starts telling me that dead skin cells and dust mites and all those dust mite legs and heads and bodies and stuff cause all asthma by which time I’m inwardly rolling my eyes and trying not to laugh at his ignorance.  He continues to expand on this point telling me that they are the cause of all asthma, bronchitis and sinus problems and did I know they Kirby are built by the asthma foundation? Meantime he keeps asking me if I find that scary and really hones in on that “any doctor will tell you what I’ve said is true” and then tries to tell me that any newborn exposed to this will develop asthma by the time they are Tom’s age. Then he asked if anyone had asthma and starts telling Tom that when he finds it hard to breathe he should just go outside cos it’s the dead skin cells and dust mites inside that are making it hard for him to breathe at which point I told him to pack up and get out of my house.

He was quite stunned. I told him that I didn’t appreciate heavy handed sales scare tactics that preyed on people’s fears and he genuinely looked perplexed. Poor kid. He had no idea – he was just doing what he was told and he was so earnest about it, but damn! The sales pitch they are showing the kids is repulsive. He kept apologising for offending or scaring me. I tried explaining to him that I just didn’t like the sales spiel, that if he wanted to show me how good the product was that he should be doing it on the merits of the product, not by trying to scare the crap out of me with false or inaccurate information, but he obviously didn’t get my point and I was too off my face on painkillers to be bothered explaining to him exactly why I found his sales pitch so ridiculous.

What really ticked me off though was the dodgy advice he was giving TJ. As most parents of an asthmatic child knows there are many things that can trigger asthma. TJ’s triggers are colds & flu and changes in the temp/weather. I have noticed that he tends to be more susceptible to asthma if his diet has been out of whack, but that on it’s own won’t trigger an attack. To sit there and tell my son that his home is making him sick and to simply go outside was ludicrous, especially when cold night air would make an attack worse. The idea that they are telling other people to do such things who may not be as informed as I am was horrifying not to mention irresponsible. The implication to parents  that it is their fault their children have asthma because they have not before had the tools to clean their house properly is replusive.

I have searched the Kirby website. There is nothing about being approved for asthmatics on it. You would think that if they were actually a company whose product was endorsed by Asthma foundations that there would be some kind of reference to this fact. Nope. Nadda. Not even on the page that talks about their supa dupa hepa filtration system.

Meantime if you go over to the Dyson website, they have a page containing asthma information including how their product will help you manage asthma in your home, but also links to reputable national asthma organisations and to the Sensitive Choice programme website – a programme that lists recommended appliances for helping to manage asthma in the home. Kirby isn’t listed there by the way. *snicker* .

And I didn’t even give them the chance to explain to me how many thousands of dollars this ‘you beaut’ product was going to cost me, chaining me into debt for many years to come as the price of my guilt and fear for giving my children asthma. *rolls eyes*

So this all just leaves one question. Why would a company with such a ‘good’ product need to badmouth it’s competitors, misrepresent it’s affiliations, spread false information about medical conditions, inflict guilt on parents and employ scare tactics?

I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Because they are as dodgy as all get out.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending their product to any of my friends.



1. Jodi - May 24, 2008

Through my line of employment, I have come across the odd Kirby salesperson or two… I feel sooo sorry for the kids they suck in to working for them. Three or four weeks of training, and a decent wage; then they’re out on their own with the spiel, working 60+ hours a week for an absolute pittance.

And I once accidently let one of Those Vaccuum Cleaner People into my house (migraine, expecting a different tradesperson, wasn’t capable of thinking…) I did let him vaccuum my lounge room, and strangely enough, whilst he managed to suck up loads of dead bugs and skin cells and the like – NO cat hair; and even more suprisingly, NO dog hair, either.

Didn’t buy his $1000000000000 vaccuum cleaner, either.

2. Kin - May 24, 2008

We had them come do a demo as well. I kept laughing at the guy all the way through it. At the time we hadn’t vacc’d for about 6 weeks because ours broke, so he had lots to do 😉

I think it was around the $4k mark he said. I wasn’t listening by this time, just happy that my lounge room floor had been cleaned so I didn’t need to pay for it to be done again when we put our house on the market, and just had to pay for 4 bedrooms 😉

Funnily enough haven’t heard from them since 😉 oh, and if you *really* want one, you can get them for about $1500 on ebay I found. Still couldn’t justify that so spent $700 on my dyson which I LOVE, and that keeps me happy (and doesn’t hurt my back).

3. Suze - May 25, 2008

Well no wonder you tried to chop your toes off with an axe to avoid sitting through THAT crap!

That’s a really appalling way to try and sell, badmouthing the opposition, spreading fear…hang on, he’s been watching the politicians!

I hate door to door anything. Never let them in, and have been known to be “really bloody rude” according to the hubby. Ah well, what a shame…

4. Frogdancer - May 25, 2008

I enjoyed reading this! Never seen one of these guys… probably a fringe benefit of fulltime work!

5. Darla - May 25, 2008

Oh for the love of pete! I’ve never had to sit through a demo from a Kirby rep. I’ve never heard of Dyson. I wonder if they are in the US.

We have all hardwood floors & tile on the main level but my child insisted on carpet in his bedroom in the basement, so we have a Hoover Wind Tunnel (that I adore) for that room.

6. Anja - May 25, 2008

Any doctor will tell you what?????

*sniggers* Guess what… they won’t.

I know many who will endorse a Dyson, though. 🙂

7. hilary - May 25, 2008

Been there, done that. We are only wise enough to avoid a new sales spiel after we’ve been sucked in once IMHO. These days I’m certain I have all my bases covered but they are so good at finding a new way in and taking you unawares, they still get me sometimes. And I got the dubious benefit, in my Kirby experience, of having one quarter of my rug shampooed. I said no to the vacuum cleaner. If she wanted to waste her whole morning not telling me the price when I knew I could only afford about $70, that was up to her.

Go you on the reaction to the asthma scare tactics. Doesn’t fear cause asthma sometimes?

8. Jayne - May 25, 2008

What a crock of shyte!
We usually chase them off at the front door/phone with “we have no carpet andwe’renotinterestedgoodbye” followed by the door closing/phone hanging up lol 😉

9. lightening - May 25, 2008

Ahhh….the benefits of living in the middle of nowhere!!!! NEVER had to deal with one of *those*. Does “door to door” really work for ANYTHING?????

10. frogpondsrock - May 25, 2008

I had a vacuum cleaner salesman come to my door here years ago. We were still living in a bus and a shed.

The look on his face was priceless as he couldn’t find a power point to connect the VC to… lol We were on temporary power at the time and ran everything off extension cords…

I told him to come back with a battery operated one….

cheers kim xxx

11. anonymum - May 25, 2008

Not even to get my floors done would I let one of these twerps in…you have far more patience than me….we don’t have carpet anyway, only polished boards and ceramic tiles…my little LG does a sterling job and has been for nearly 3 years now…it only cost me 89.00 and I didn’t even have to sell a kidney for the money to buy it! bonus…

12. Bettina - May 25, 2008

Jodi – I felt really sorry for this kid too. I was initially angry at him for trying to pitch this shit, but as soon as I told him that I didn’t like it was genuinely perplexed and couldn’t apologise enough for ‘offending’ me. Just a shame he didn’t realise what was so offensive about it. I hope he didn’t lost out on having his demo cut short.

Kin – yup $4 or $4 1/2 k was what they were going for last I saw the price. And if you can’t afford it they have these handy dandy payment plans……….. personally I think they are a system designed to fleece the lower incomed – they make more money in interest payments from people paying the damn things off than people who can afford to buy them outright.

Suze – LMAO!! Yup, amazing the extremes we have to go to just to avoid the dreaded Kirby salesman!

Fragdancer – they’d be scared of you, you’d be correcting their bad english 😉

Darla – Dyson make a kick arse vac that is actually endorsed by asthma foundations as helping to reduce dust and allergens in the home. It rates right up there amoungst my favourite appliances

Anja – I should have said hold on and I’ll ring one for you to set you straight on that aye? LOL 😉

Hilary – I’m usually more on the ball. I should have known that I had no business going near that axe after getting suckered by the door to door bimbo shouldn’t I? lol Yes, fear can trigger an attack.

Jayne – crock of shit doesn’t even begin to cover it. I don’t usually get caught by these types of con artists. I was obviously having an off day

Lightening – Certainly experience is teaching me that door to door = dodgy

Kim – LMAO!! Gots to love being able to bamboozle the bastards!

A-mum – I won’t be letting them in ever again I can tell you!

13. widdleshamrock - May 26, 2008

OMG !!!!

We don’t have Kirby, but have been frightened by DTD salesmen for various things.

14. scrappydo - May 26, 2008

Ok, so THAT sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon. Not! I do feel sorry for those reps – there must be something out there they can do for a living rather than bugging people with crocks of crap. Surely. And what did the manager say to all this?? Man!! I’d have been offended by teh fact two of them showed up….. talk about pressure. Ick.

15. Bettina - May 26, 2008

WS – I stand by my earlier summation – DTD – Dodgy! lol

Scrappy – The manager only introduced the sales rep before running back out the door. I’m quite sure that he would have been back to try to con me if the financial side of things had been reached. We’ve had them do all sorts of things before – offer us family discounts, offer us trade in’s on our old vac and the whole time they have their phones ringing and need to keep running in and out with different offers to keep the pressure up. Idiots.

16. alice - May 26, 2008

They did the sucking skin cells out of my BEDROOM MATTRESS when they came here. Hubby let them put their vac on my bed. I almost flipped out.

So, they never did get to the stain by the TV, huh?

17. river - June 22, 2008

I upset a Kirby salesman once by continually interupting his spiel with “how much is the machine?” Poor kid kept forgetting what he’d already told me and having to start over. eventually he gave up and just told me the price. I said “HOW MUCH??? You’ve got to be kidding!” Then I shut the door on him. At the time I had a $99 Hoover which was doing a great job. Now I have a $120 Hoover which also does a great job.

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