Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Post Where I Become an Ex-Kirby Customer

I have a Kirby sweeper / shampooer, and have had one for at least 13 years. When I had my first house, my aunt gave me her sweeper - she had gotten something lighter because of her stairs, so she didn't need it anymore. I loved it, and had it for 8 years with no major problems. Then one day the transmission went out, or something. It quit working. Around that same time a Kirby salesman came around selling their newest model - the DIAMOND edition. Wooo hooo. It had many more bells and whistles than mine, and it was so pretty and shiny.

They did all these demonstrations to show me how the new one worked and how much better it was with the improvements. You know, when they show you how dirty your house is? With those little white discs? It had many more attachments and abilities than our old one did and since the old one didn't work and they were willing to give me a trade in price, I got it. Lifetime warranty, never have to replace it again... blah, blah, blah. It is a very, very expensive vacuum cleaner, but I felt it was worth it because it would last a lifetime, right?

Yes, I do fall for sales gimmicks. Is there a self help group for me out there somewhere?

So, a few weeks ago, a sales woman came to my door to try to sell me another Kirby. I explained that I already had one and I wasn't interested. She gave me a door prize drawing ticket anyway and said that she would be willing to clean my carpet for me anyway. That she got "credit" for doing it, and it would really help her out. I declined, that was when I was sick and I wasn't up for it.

So, I got a call the other day from Kirby again - I don't recall giving them my number, but maybe I did for the drawing or something. They wanted to come and clean my carpet for me, wouldn't that be great? I don't know why I said yes - I know they are just doing their jobs, and in this economy I guess I just wanted to help someone out. Whatever. So, I agreed. I thought I agreed to Saturday at 2, but apparently I was wrong and they showed up yesterday (Friday) at 4 something because she was running behind.

I wasn't ready, at all. I had kids here, Jeff had just gotten home, and I was cleaning and doing laundry - in my pajamas still even.

They insisted it was OK that I was in my pj's and talked themselves right in the door. I told them before they started that I would not be buying one. I had one and I wasn't interested. That's OK she said. She gets "credit" for just doing it.

I figured, hey - I'll get a clean carpet out of it anyway. So, I let her. She needed to call in and let them know she was here, so could she please use my phone? Remember this for later in the story.

And she proceeded to do the exact same sales pitch as the guy did 5 years ago. Big mistake. She showed me how bad of a sweeper my current Kirby is - how that lifetime guarantee is a lie. How if I buy this new shiny Kirby for two thousand dollars, it wouldn't be working very well in just under 5 years.

She showed me the attachments - which I already have and already know how they work. She poured salt on my carpet and vacuumed it with my Kirby and then showed me how it didn't pick it all up. She had me vacuum my carpet with my Kirby and then she went over it with the new one to show me how my old Kirby just wasn't doing the job it was supposed to.

Is this really the best way for them to sell their machines? Even I, the one most likely to fall for a gimmick, the one who sits and watches infomercials amazed at what some product offers, or does for you, could see right through her.

Oh she was willing to give me all kinds of specials. Special discounts to "make that new shiny Kirby mine today." Three offers. Three rejections. I would get a trade in value of $300 for my old Kirby. I would get a special weekend discount because it was Friday and they were kicking off their weekend. I would get a special end of month discount because they were trying to meet their quota and help more people get Kirbys. I would get a "Kirby family" discount because I was a previous owner. I could make monthly payments for the next two years.

Don't I want a cleaner house?

Oh, and I would get a special discount for taking the demo model she used to clean my carpet! Because if I didn't buy it, then she would have to tell the people she demo'd it for the next time that it is used and give them a demo discount, so she could just go ahead and give it to me. Really? She didn't tell me that she had used that same vacuum to demonstrate to the person before me, so she was effectively telling me it was brand new. However, the box it was in had a LOT of wear and tear on it.

Still not interested? Well, there is a contest she is trying to win for a trip, so she will give me another discount on top of all the other great discounts!

Still not interested? OK she needed to call her boss to let him know she was done. So she pulled her cell phone and called her boss. (Where was the cell phone when she was calling when she got here?) Oh, and guess what?!?! Her boss authorized an additional discount to get me that new sweeper today.

Sorry, answer is still no.

After she was done, she and her "trainee" cleaned it until it was sparkling like new. They asked to use my Windex and sink to do it.

Then she wanted me to give out names and phone numbers of my friends and family so they could offer them a free carpet shampoo. I declined. She asked several times. I told her I didn't want to make anyone mad at me. She was incredulous. Her eyes got big, "they would get mad at you for giving them a free carpet shampoo?" No, they would get mad at me for the greater than 2 hour sales pitch.

So, I have a little advice for Kirby sales people. If you really want to sell your vacuum and get recommendations from a current customer - here are some dos and don'ts:

1. If someone had a Kirby, don't try to show them how bad their old sweeper is - do what you say you are going to do, come in and shampoo their carpet as a "customer service" and then ask for names and numbers of people the customer thinks could use a great sweeper like the Kirby.

2. Don't do the same demonstrations when the person already knows everything their current one can do - someone who has already sat through the exact sales pitch you are doing. I don't want to see the attachments and what they can do, I ALREADY HAVE THE ATTACHMENTS YOU ARE SHOWING ME.

3. Don't try to pass off an obviously used cleaner as a brand new one. I still have the box my Kirby came in and it is in better shape than the one you have that "new" one in. Once a person tells me a lie, why would I think anything else they said was true?

4. Don't tell them how the new Kirby will last a lifetime so it is worth the price when you are telling them their old lifetime Kirby is no longer any good. After 5 years!

Why would I buy a new Kirby for that outrageous price when I will only have to replace it in 5 years?

So, I don't have a new Kirby. And I no longer think they are the greatest sweeper ever.

I do, however, have clean carpet in my living room, and she also cleaned my ceiling fan to show off the attachments.

Had she walked in, cleaned my carpet without the sales pitch, and then asked me for names and numbers of people I think would love a Kirby? You would all be getting phone calls in the next couple of weeks. Well, those of you that I know and have your phone numbers...


mattells said...

I faintly remember my dad "letting" someone wash our carpet "for free" as a way to show off some fancy this or that. And then I remember that the strange man seemed to stay forever trying to sell my dad a vacuum my dad was never going to buy. And I remember that being the first time I heard a man use the word "damn" (but it was weird since it was "damndest") and really thinking this was high drama. I hate that kind of stuff. You'll never get biz-niz from me with the pushy approach.

As an aside, I was just sitting here doing something else after I read it and thinking about the phone thing. I suspect that she had to call in the first time from YOUR phone to prove she really was someplace and couldn't do that via her cell. Either that or they wanted to make sure they had your phone number in their automated telemarketing call systems. :)

Anywho: long time no talk -- hope all is well!!!

Barb said...

How utterly annoying! I had a guy come to the door about 2 months ago and told him I hated that stupid sweeper and to go away and never come back. I had one too a long time ago and it weighed a ton and you had to sit on the floor to change the blasted attachments. I owned it a very few months and then had them come and get it and refund my money. Man I hated that thing!
Smart girl for getting the carpet cleaned and the ceiling fan!!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I would have run her off my property. I'm pissy like that when I'm lied to!