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View from Cavtat Harbor toward the Hills The owner of Villa Olav & Jo  say their goodbyes Today we left Dubrovnik, fly...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Trojan Horse... No wait, I mean the Trojan Vacuum

Holy crap.

Had a docent meeting tonight but was soooo very sleepy I just came straight home. Then, about 6pm, knock at door.

Young Lady: Would you like to have us clean your carpet for free? It will help me win a free trip to Orlando.

Me: WTF? [inner brain slogs around a bit and concludes: Salesperson Alert!]

Young Lady: No, really. NO obligation.

Me: WTF? [inner brain still muddled but yelps: Scam Alert! Scam Alert! Nothing is free!]

Young Lady: Free carpet cleaning!

Me: Uh... Ok.

Young Lady: I'll be back in about 20 minutes. See ya!

Ok, we know there is one born every minute (speaking!) So I got on line and googled, 'free carpet cleaning, scam' and such but found nothing inside the twenty minutes.

Turns out it was a free vacuuming & shampooing by the Kirby Company. They used every angle of course, to sell the product including pushing how much crap is in the carpet fibers (no kidding?) , how many dust mites and dust mite crap is in my mattress (no kidding?) etc.

The girl had a boss that came and went every fifteen minutes or so as he went around my neighborhood 'assisting' other 'associates'. Whenever he came in, the pressure was applied to me to buy, buy, buy! You would have thought that I specifically asked them to sell me a vacuum, and not that they decided I needed a new vacuum.

I knew there is nothing for free and allowed them to clean my carpet solely out of greed (free carpet cleaning, yippy) and from curiosity. Happily I'm increasing savvy to hard core marketing but it only comes from having been preyed on by various sales people over time, and from once going through a one day training for selling encyclopedias to people. The sales people were taught what words to never say, for example, never say 'buy this encyclopedia'. No, instead say 'invest in your children's education - mean, I'm assuming you would like your children to go to collage and make something of themselves, am I right?'

I quit the same day I had the training but I've never ever been sorry about the day spent learning how salers work to cooerce people into absolutely needing what is being sold through manipulation of emotions, guilt, whatever it takes to make the sale. One thing I learned is any good salesperson has the heart of a shark and a total dissociation from the actual needs, wants of the person being sold to. In short, as Mark put it some 20 years ago) '... 'salespeople are pond skum' - got that right.

Anyway, as the vacuum was shown to me the vacuum price kept dropping in increments of $100. I was shown that the vacuum could vacuum, shampoo rugs, clean ceiling fans, unclog drains, remove dust mites from your bed, remove allergens, blow leaves off your lawn (you think I'm making this list up? I am NOT!), clean your computer mother board, keyboard, and groom the cat.

Then when the demos finally ended after nearly two hours, the high pressure selling began. They spoke the two things that END the sale of any item to me:

  1. We can offer this gem to you at a reduced price for TODAY ONLY; and
  2. What can I do to to encourage you purchase this baby today?

NOTHING you mouth breathing, bottom feeders! I was an idiot to let you into my home in the first place, and here you are acting as if because I did let you in I am obligated to spend upwards of two thousand dollars without a second glance at my own bank account?

The entire evening had the feel of letting a guy take you to dinner and a movie, after which you spend the remainder of the evening trying to keep him out of your pants because he thinks 'I paid for the movie, she owes me sex.'

In short, the vacuum's starting price was around $1900 dollars (real cost or a pseudo-price high enough to allow the price to be 'generously' dropped so as to convince the customer that they are getting a once-in-a-life-time-deal?). Gradually I was accorded numerous discounts (via various phone calls back and forth between salespeople and their mysterious headquarters, which I have reason to suspect was a guy sitting in a car a block or two away, and I kid you not!.

I was offered a trade-in for my Eureka vacuum for $200 - oh, and the vacuum would be donated to a charity (they give me $200 for something they donate?) . Then I was given a discount for being a State employee. I was offered a discount because it was the salesgirl's first time in my house (huh?). When I continued to refuse to buy or respond to the bullying I was offered their bottom line - the entire Kirby 'system' for $1100 (a demo model that was used only 8 or 9 times but would still come with a lifetime warranty).

Astoundingly - for the salespeople - I refused.

Now, that said, by the end of the evening I wanted that fecking vacuum! It looked like an impressive bit of work and it now has me thinking when I take out the livingroom/hall carpet instead of one choice (going with the hardwood flooring under the nasty carpet) I might instead get a new carpet which I will be able to keep clean with miracle vacuum. Oh, but I gave up all those price reductions that will NEVER be offered again? I doubt that. I'm certain if I called them up or waited for some other group to offer the same vacuum they'd be just as eager to come down on the artificially high price until we could settle on fair market value, whateverthefeck that is.

So, anywhoo, I still refused to give in to the obnoxious high-pressure sales pitch, and refused to agree to spending so much of my money on the spur just to freakn' make the sales people happy. It must be HORRIBLE to be a sales person and the good ones have no souls and practice the Dark Arts.

On the bad side, the girl who did the demo was a very sweet young woman wearing clothing that was obviously geared toward any men in residence; a black pants suit with one of those off the shoulder tops like in Flash Dance, and when she leaned over the vacuum I had to look away, it was embarrasssing. Anyway, I felt like she was more a victim than I was. She gets a salary of $1,500 per month plus commissions on sales so because I wasn't buying she was being paid maybe... (she works 14 hour days, 6 days a week, that's 84 hours a week, that makes $4.46 per hour?). As you can tell, I purely suck at math. I felt guilty about the poor salesgirl. Then, as she was leaving the house she tripped over the front step (thank heavens I have insurance in case I get sued later) and landed in a sad little heap. I know she was holding back tears until her escourt could get her back to the car.

I felt like crap. On the other hand, the spots are off the carpet.

Talk about your mixed feelings...

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