Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conspiracy theory / Need a high-dollar suckin'?

Today my wife gets home from work a good deal before me. She calls me while I'm still at work and I answer.
Bray  "Are you on your way home?"
Me   "No."
"You are?"
"So you're on your way home?"
"... What's going on?"
"You're on your way?"
"Lover. What the hell is going on?"

At this point I was sure she was on drugs of a hallucinatory manner, which was a bit disconcerting as A. She was home alone with our child, B. She's never done psychotropics that I know of and C. She didn't invite me.

She responds quietly, "There's a vacuum salesperson and they won't leave."

Me  "Give them the phone."
Bray   "..."
"Give them the phone, I want to talk to them!"
"I'll call you back."

So now I'm a bit annoyed, because I'm wondering wtf. And I didn't get to wonder wtf into a stranger's ear who seems to be harassing my wife.
I call her back in about 10 and she tells me the story.

[If some of these details aren't spot-on, I apologize. A lot of conjecture has happened in my mind since the incident.]

At about 3pm, a late 90s, early 00s model, dark-colored Expedition eases down our street. We're the last house in a cul-de-sac so that in itself is a bit unusual. Vehicle stops and a passenger exits the vehicle with some unmarked cardboard boxes and makes for our front door. The driver stays in the vehicle, idling in the road.
I'll add that our neighbors are pretty close by. We don't live in last-house-on-the-left solidarity.
Jax (our little baby doggie) is on the backporch already because Bray was getting some cleaning done and it's easier with the resident little baby puppy out of the way. ... Ok, he's not really little.
A knock at the door and Bray answers to meet a late-twenties, tobacco-toothed lady pushing a product. Bray told the lady she wasn't interested. And not ambiguously. Bray doesn't waste words or smiles. (No offense, love. You know I'd have it no other way.)

So the lady consents but with a "parting question."
"Can I just get your opinion on something?"
The next thing Bray knows, the woman's inside unpacking her box and scattering crap on our carpet. And by crap I don't mean stuff. I mean shit.

She proceeds to demonstrate for upwards of 40 minutes, vacuuming Simon's recliner, a square of rug, offering to vacuum in our bedrooms and on our bedspread (to which, wtf?). The Expedition idles a bit longer and then drives off. In the meantime, Bray doesn't move from the window. In fact at one point, tired of looking back and forth between this lady on our carpet and a tinted-windowed, drive-by mobile in the street, she locks the deadbolt.
"What? We aren't convicts," the saleslady says.
What the what? Who said anything about convicts?

She continues her pitch, occasionally making attempts to see the rest of the house (Bray blocks her) and asking the occasional question, such as "What kind of dog is that?" to which Bray replied, "He's a pitbull."
I'm glad Bray didn't let Jax inside. I'll tell you why later.

Finally, Bray's tolerated about as much as she can. And, with little boyo Simon about, she wasn't going to get snarky. But she did ask the lady to leave. The response is a heightened pitch. So my wife responds in kind.

Suddenly, the lady is talking about kids she has to feed. She's talking about the contest she has to win by selling more vacuums. She's talking about how her boss won't pay her if Bray doesn't let her shampoo the carpet.

Finally Bray said, "You have 2 minutes to get out of my house or I'm calling the cops."
"But it will take me more than that to clean all this up!"
Oh my God... If I'd been there her junk would have been decorating my front yard and her ass with it.
Bray said, "Ok. You have 5."
The lady proceeded to tell Bray, "You're mean." and "I thought you were cool at first."

Did I mention that this vacuum cleaner costs $3000?

It does.

The vacuum cleaner costs $3,000.

The vacuum cleaner...


Three thousand dollars.

Was the saleslady lost? Did a company that produces vacuum cleaners of that caliber really make such a colossal blunder in the selection of their audience?
Don't get me wrong, our cul-de-sac is a on a pretty street with green trees and pretty houses and smiling faces. But I'd be surprised if there's a $3,000 vacumm cleaner IN THIS ENTIRE ZIP CODE.

I get home from work and Bray tells me some more of the story and shows me the flyer. The lady phoned her driver/manager to say "it's not in their budget at this time." The driver/manager came back, collected her and her box, and they proceeded to visit every house on the street that would let them in the door. That is, unless Bray was able to call the person first with a warning. Eventually someone did call the cops and had them removed. Apparently they didn't have the paperwork to do what they were doing. But they soon got a license from the courthouse and were right back at it a street over.

Allow me to show you the flyer.

But first... You've heard of Dyson, right? High-quality vacuums. They sell models for upward of a thousand dollars.
Here's an advertisement of theirs

courtesy of
Simple, right? And yet attractive. Not unlike the actual vacuum. This is a high-dollar machine from a high-dollar coporation. That they spent a significant amount of time or effort or both on advertisement is evident in this picture alone.

Now, can you imagine what kind of visual wonderment would come from a company that sells $3,000 vacuums?
You don't have to imagine it! I've got a flyer right here!

courtesy of my trashcan


I wish, dear reader, that the poor quality of this document was my fault. I wish I could tell you my scanner is to blame for the pixelated logo top-left. Or the confusing formatting. Or the vague "Includes:" contents. Or the smudges, dots, and wrinkles. Or the fact that this advertisement is a TOTAL BOWL OF BOILED BUFFALO BALLS!

They couldn't even print the image from the source? They had to scan it and clone it all janky looking? They couldn't even be bothered to re-type that line "LOCALLY Owned !!!!..."
I don't know what it said before they covered the word up and scanned and reprinted... But I doubt it looked as bad as it does now!

When Bray handed me this, I was flabbergasted. What part of the presentation or advertisement or any of it was worth a down payment of that much money? What were they thinking?
It was with this in mind that I went outside and cut the grass. And while cutting the grass, my mind built the answers.

What if they didn't accidentally choose the wrong neighborhood as I'd first thought? What if the prices were that high and the salesperson that horrible to ensure a non-sale?
But if they weren't there to sell, then what? What if her questions about our house and dog had an ulterior motive... as if to relay info to someone who may pay a later visit? Were they casing the place? What if "The vacuum isn't in their budget at this time" really meant "They have a big-ass dog?"
I am glad Bray left Jax outside. He has a bark that can send shockwaves through solid cement and when his hair stands up, he looks like he'll rip your lungs out and leave you standing there. But the truth is he's a big ol' pillow.

"I'll eat your face."

Hmmm, eh? Quite the stretch, I know. But fact is stranger than fiction. And if you don't believe that, just open your eyes.

I hope I never have to resort to illegal means to feed my family...

But if I do, I hope I never have to do it at someone else s expense...

But if I do, I have an idea.

I'm going to take up a salesperson job. I'm going to pretend to sell the most expensive product I can, door-to-door, while actually casing out homes to see which is ripe for easy pickings. That I'm not the friendliest of people is actually a qualifier for this job. I don't want to mess up and actually get a sale. I'm going to find a neighborhood that definitely houses some medium-to-high dollar, lightweight electronics, jewelry or other valuables... But not so nice a neighborhood that I actually might make a sale. I understand that I'll have to lie and trick my way into my victim's household to scope it out but that shouldn't be too hard. And while they're in the process of asking me to leave, I'll act defeated, despite that I've gotten exactly the information I came for. If they do call the cops and I'm escorted out, it won't matter.

After all, it won't be me returning two weeks later at an opportune time, in possession of thin gloves and a healthy knowledge of the home's layout. It will be my accomplice. Different person, different vehicle.

Yeah. I think that's a solid plan.

Too bad someone's already thought of it.

Now, if an upstanding, door-to-door, Kirby Salesperson reads this and gets ruffled at my criminal libel about the pinnacle of vacuum sellers that is Kirby, know that my only experience with your company sucked, and not like it should have.
As much as you represent Kirby, with your shining cufflinks, impeccable honesty, and fresh breath, so did the lady that cased my house today.



  1. I agree - they were not there to sell vacuums.
    Wow, that woman never would've got into my house. Not even if she'd pulled a gun on me. Glad you guys called the cops.

    1. I just wish I'd been there. I thought of so many Home Alone-style boobie traps for the house while I was cutting grass...

  2. Sounds like the lady wasn't remotely interested in selling a Kirby. I sold books door-to-door in college (long story) and I never showed an interest in seeing their entire house. I also sold Rainbow vacuums for a short period (to pay off the purchase of my own Rainbow), but all of those calls were pre-screened by someone else. There was no door-to-door selling there. It was mostly referral calls from customers who had bought and people who agreed to watch the demonstration. I have never heard of anyone selling something really HIGH DOLLAR like that making cold calls door-to-door. I think you put this together for what it was. ::They were casing your house. Or trying to.::

    1. I think I might make this a longer story and expand on it... Perhaps under parallel conditions....

  3. Alex, I don't usually let random people into my home, especially when I'm alone with my child. However, the fact that our son threw open the door gave her the perfect opportunity to jump right in. With that said, my door will NEVER open for a stranger again.

  4. I just called Kirby. They do door-to-door sales but the flyers they use ARE SUPPOSE TO HAVE THE COMPANY NAME ON THEM (not Kirby). I'm calling the police station.

  5. That's horrible! I'd definitely try and keep a weather eye out for trouble- and maybe a sign in the yard that says 'House guarded by giant dog w/giant teeth'. People! Never cease to amaze, eh?

    1. I could use one of those signs.... Except neighbors might start blaming Jax when things happen around the neighborhood. It's a tough spot.

  6. Very engaging story--and scary. You could elaborate on this and turn it into a very good thriller novel. Years ago I considered taking a job selling vacuum cleaners door to door, but it just wasn't me.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Arlee, I'd thought about doing that!

      Yeah, I'd have a problem selling anything I couldn't honestly get behind. This is why me working at Best Buy never worked out... You kind of have to be dishonest.
      If I were confronted by a salesman like this lady, I'd want to just as her a couple of questions.
      Did you buy one? For this price?
      Didn't think so.

  7. Truth is indeed stranger than ficiton...glad you had a dog in the house:)

    1. Me too! I'm tempted to expand on this story...

  8. Oh my. People are crazy. Pushy salespeople are crazier. I really don't like buying things unless I've researched it and made the decision. My excuse is always that I have to consult with my husband first, and his excuse is that he doesn't buy things from door to door sales people, period.

    1. He's smart. I'm with you, if I haven't noticed a need, done some research and eliminated alternatives, I won't spend $s.

  9. Those vacuum cleaner salespeople are known for doing that stuff. They have this technique of getting into your house and making it hard for you to get rid of them. I once knew a guy who bought one of those vacuums...he had hardwood floors. Craziness. We have a No Soliciting sign AND are on the Do Not Knock Registry...AND we're in a neighborhood that has No Soliciting at the entrance. Still, the AT&T resellers come by banging on the door. You want to make someone mad? Knock on their door when they have a No Soliciting sign up. It gets ugly!

    1. Haha! Those sound like signs I should absolutely invest in.

  10. Funny I used to do this for work, not quite as badly as this woman. It does seem something was off about them. I still say the best advertisement for a vacuum is simple, "IT SUCKS!!!" :)

    1. I wish that had been the extent of her sales pitch... She'd have had a better success rate with us!

  11. That is bizarre! I sure hate it when salespeople come to my door. I normally don't answer the door during the day because no one I know would be knocking on my door during the day. lol

    I remember a vacuum salesperson that came into my house once, practically invited himself in, and stayed for hours. He ignored all of my polite attempts to get him to leave. He also ignored my face, which I know said, "I'm a single woman alone in this house and I'm starting to think you're here to murder me." After he told me the cost and I promptly told him I can't afford it, he still pestered me with payment plans. Really? There should be a law against salespeople knocking on people's doors!

    I agree with Arlee that this would make a great thriller. :)

    1. Yeah, it would. But with a twist... Like the homeowner maybe kidnaps annoying salespeople and does wretched experiments on them in the basement... Then it wouldn't be horror or thriller. It would be heroic!
      But for real. This is a lesson that only needs to be learned once. From now on, I'm smearing ketchup on Jax's face and letting him answer the door.

  12. Another oldie but goodie I missed by not blogging and visiting...

    I absolutely agree -- that woman sounds very fishy. Her behavior definitely sounds like she could have been trying to scope out your house. However....

    First confession: I once, in another life, in the distant past, in a place far, far away, while trying to support myself in college, used to sell similar vacuums. A water-filtration model by a brand that rhymes with "Pain-Glow." They were also very expensive, and we also gave similar, free "demos" in the houses of our potential customers in order to sell them. This involved cleaning carpets, furniture, drapes, pillows, and, yes -- even bedding (there was a special bag that could be purchased to vacuum-clean pillows and bedding) -- to show the "amazing versatility" of the high-dollar units.

    Second confession: It was (almost) the worst job I ever had, and I hated every minute of the two weeks it lasted. And I only sold one vacuum -- to my mom!

    With low overhead and an astronomical profit margin, these companies don't need to sell a lot of vacuums, and I suspect that most of their sales come (as with me) from naive and starry-eyed new recruits, blinded by the promise of "easy" commissions, who -- in their 'training' period -- are strongly encouraged to "practice" their canned demo speeches on their closest loved ones, who -- in sympathy, mostly -- may actually buy a vacuum.

    The usual "salesperson" is typically a new recruit, either young and naive, or older and not-quite-sharp-enough to catch on to the real economics at play in their jobs. Either way, they usually don't last long. The company's goal is to simply churn through the turnover fast enough that a sales or two trickles in every week.

    Your visitor may have been such a person, new and over-eager to do everything according to the entire "official script", because she's been convinced that doing so will surely lead to a sale. What Bray took for creepy criminal casing of your home may have just been incompetent, insistent, ineptitude from a person with no people skills and few social graces.

    But either way -- I'd keep my doors locked and Jax on patrol. And practice saying "NO!" loudly and forcefully through a cracked door, should any other such sales people arrive on the doorstep.

    1. Chris, I'm so glad you stopped by and saw this! That all totally makes sense! That's a really funny business practice those companies have.
      I'm pointing Bray to this blog to put her mind at ease.

      I've had some pretty awful jobs as well but mine were mostly of the filthy/disgusting nature.