Clean Up With Vacuum Sales – Sometimes – Loveland Reporter-Herald
I have had more than a few surprises in the 11 years I have worked hard as a Kirby salesperson. A couple generated a few tears – sometimes for my potential client, and at least once for myself.
I remember one summer evening when I had an appointment to demonstrate a machine to a young couple living in a small basement apartment on the west side of Salt Lake City. I had installed my equipment in their little corner in front of their sofa, and I had started my demo.
It was a noisy evening, a thunderstorm was in the area, and with it a lot of baby boomers.
We heard a loud noise outside and the electricity went off – at the same time a spark stung my ankle (later we assumed the lightning struck a nearby transformer and that this surge caused a Kirby metal spark, at one of my favorite pegs).
After the pain subsided and I wiped the little tear away, I asked if the couple had a candle or two, and soon I went back to demo mode – with no electricity. I gave the presentation a much quieter end than normal.
And, I made the sale.
Another tear came when I found myself demoing a couple who lived in a converted chicken coop. It was tiny, and on one side the ceiling was so slanted that I couldn’t stand.
When I started the demo, I noticed the only thing in the house that seemed out of place: a brand new sofa. I commented on how nice it was, and the proud housewife told me, “This sofa is the first new piece of furniture I have and I love it.
Having said that, I continued with the demo, showing my potential clients the so called “portable hand cleaner”. Frankly, it wasn’t too portable; it was the full-size Kirby, carpet nozzle attached, but with a small handle where the long vertical handle usually fits. Thus, one could clean large flat surfaces with the power of a carpet cleaner.
It was when I passed him on his new couch that things took a turn for the worse. The sofa had several large buttons on the back and on the seat cushion. As I passed the machine over one of the buttons, the vacuum sucked in a button, and clicked and sounded inside the machine until I turned it off and removed.
Then the tears started: “Oh no! This sofa, the first novelty I had! And she began to sob. The sobbing continued for several minutes, and I reassured her that I would make sure the button was replaced. In fact, I called my boss, and he confirmed that we would take care of it.
Despite the tears, I sold the machine.
In a demo given to McCall, Idaho, in the middle of woodland, to a lumberjack and his wife, I noticed that the wood floors looked like porcupine skin, with spikes and splinters all over the place. . Mr. Lumberjack clearly did not remove his caulked (spiked) boots when he came home from work.
The only spot without splinters was the middle of the living room, where a large woven rug lay. There wasn’t much to vacuum there, but I bravely continued.
About 10 minutes after the demo started, I heard someone walking up the steps. He was a co-worker of the husband and the first words from his mouth were, “I wouldn’t have another Kirby, if you gave it to me!”
Useful, very useful. He continues: “I have one at home, and it makes more noise than a sawmill!”
I thought he had a machine with a broken suction fan, and I had a great idea. “Go get your Kirby and I’ll fix it for you – for free!” He was outside and returned with a can of soup, full of what had recently been his Kirby.
My idea was to complete the demonstration with HIS machine. I fixed the fan in a few minutes and quickly got through the steps with his old Kirby.
It was when I attached the carpet nozzle to the machine that things went wrong. I noticed pulling the machine towards me, instead of cleaning the carpet was black!
“Why did you last use this machine? ” I asked. “Oh, I cleaned my oven.” It was full of soot!
Ah, but don’t worry, I had the Kirby Carpet Shampoo to show off next.
I’m afraid it wasn’t designed to remove soot. All I did was flaunt it, and Mrs. Lumberjack was on the verge of tears. “You ruined my carpet! What are you going to do about it? ”She sobbed.
“Well, ma’am, the carpet is wet right now, but it will lighten as it dries.” I started to pack my bags in a hurry and before I left I told her to call me if it wasn’t better in the morning.
Come on, my idea was a good one that went wrong, I fixed a broken machine for free, and couldn’t wait to get out of my house.
Oh, I didn’t make the sale.