Bad News For The Kirby Guy.

Since I haven`t felt super compelled to write anything lately…

I came across this the other night from my archives, for the first time in over a year, and thought I`d share it again… So you don`t think I closed down shop. haha


Here goes. This is circa September 2008.

[Image via Super]

Bad news for the Kirby guy.

The other Wed. I was back in my “office” (my laundry room) working on “business” (typing up my Orange Chicken recipe post). I was feeling pretty thrilled because I had just spent the whole day cleaning my house and was taking an hour off before we had to leave for Wed. night church.

Ah! Free time.

About 5 minutes later G appears in the doorway.

He had a grim look on his face like, please don`t be mad and please just be chill, and said,

“Hey, can you come out to the living room a minute?” (I like his casual preface, “hey”)

I know my husband, and I know each and every one of his facial configures, and I could tell he was thinking that he just did something he wished he hadn`t done. I got up to follow him and yup, yes, yessiree– as I came into the kitchen I saw it was my most dreaded HIM– THE KIRBY SWEEPER SALESMAN.

How he got into my house… Hmm.

I turned to give G my most cold, yet hard and withering glare. To signal to him that if he didn`t know it already, that I was probably wishing I could pinch him under the arm until it turned a little purple, for letting a salesman into my house right when I was so not in the mood to be nice.

I am actually a little bit petrified of door to door salesman. Now I don`t mean the cute, little Amish girl that comes to the door selling greeting cards (or as the Amish call them just “greetings”) the girl scout and her delectable cookies or the fireman selling good old BBQ. I actually like that. It`s affordable, I can use it, it makes me feel good to help out and they aren`t here LOONG. It`s an in and out deal. Plus, ten bucks really is not much to pay some one to leave my porch.

I also have issues with seeing them as just a salesperson. I get all sick and nauseated because all I can see is a well meaning, law abiding citizen that probably has 4 little kids all sitting in a row at home– their little mouths open like 4 little birdies in a nest. These little kids, they get hungry, they get cold– they need daddy to bring home money for school clothes. I think of the man as me and how much I would love to make the sale if I was them and the anguish in my mind: Do they get discouraged when they fail to sell a sweeper here? Does it make them hate themselves and say angry things to their loved ones when they get home?

But then, that thinking rages with my other more mean/practical side that wants to scream at the DTDS (door to door salesman):

“I did not call you to come over, you are rude for entering my home and I want to glare at you and shake my head until you leave”. So I have a stomach ache by the time they leave from all this warring within me.

But enough of the “pre-sell” (pun intended) to this story– back to the man in my livingroom, the one that is not Galen.

Ok, so he`s a spiffy looking guy, about our age, wearing a nice white dress shirt and black pants. He drags in a few boxes and all manner of gear in a bag. Everything is pristine– shiny and modern looking. As I glance out the front door to where he came from I see a glossy, black Escalade with two other people sitting, waiting in it. I gathered data about him really fast. Either he makes a great living or he doesn`t and he has to have a friend drive him to all his stops.

That, or the mafia is here and has no idea the have got the wrong house.

My first clue that he was slick was when he`s getting his sweeper ready to go and he says, looking at my green, linoleum looking carpet that stretches from wall to shining wall:

“Oh, wow, this carpet is beautiful *ha* that is really cool, at first, hmm, I thought it was linoleum”, he says.

“Oh, it`s not nice. We think it`s really ugly”. I said matter a factly.

He ignores this.

As he expertly whips and snaps all manner of gear together to create a beautiful sweeper model– he gushes over our home, our setting, and oh, back to our home! Everything we have here is JUST SO NICE. (Why thank you, I did just clean up around here today)

I decide that he either lives in a rough neighborhood, he is attracted to an older, simpler style of living or he is just plain thinks we eat up any compliment that comes our way.

Now his gear is all stuck together in the way he wants it. He now fires up his model to eat up all the dirt that I missed when I cleaned my house. I stand watching him, my heart is hard, like flint. He does not use a bag to catch the dirt but uses little white, flat filters. Galen said after he left– that he will forever in his minds eye see that Kirby man expertly flipping, slap, clamp, clank those little filters on and off, on and off. If you haven`t guessed already, the idea was to shock the homeowner (us) with the terrifying amount us dirt that our CHINCY, TACKY, PLASTIC WALMART SWEEPER MISSES EVERY DAY.

The humiliating moment was when he asked us to bring out ol GE.

“Oh, I am not bringing out my sweeper, you will have a fit over it”, I said to him.

“Get it anyways”.

So I obediently drag it out and hand it over to him. My trusty little GE, you have been so faithful to me in all my sweeping needs. It`s not your fault your company makes you disposable and not built to last 30 years like the good people over at kirbyland. GE looked really small, crumpled and homely as he stood beside the gleaming wonder of Kirby model. But I did not look away in shame but smiled at little GE to show I still loved him still.

“How many vacuums do you own?”


“Are they both like this one?”

“Yes, I keep one upstairs”

He raises his eyebrows. I could tell he thought I was about two boards shy of a lumber pile for this thinking this was a sane idea.

But, after it slipped out that I have a vacuuming fetish and that I vacuum my whole downstairs faithfully evey morning and night I could literally feel him start to turn and warm to me, like the sun shining on my face.

“I really have an obsession with vacuuming my house, in fact I did just that about a half hour before you got here”, I said.

He kicked it into high gear. He shocked me with dirt on my screen door, my ceiling fan, in my fireplace and even got a lot of sand out of my walk way area that bugs me like mad. I could feel the sun slowly warming my flint hard heart. The gushing over his sweeper model just kinda slipped out, he could do so many wonderful things with it. Things GE and I had only dreamed of.

I turned to G at one point with a soft smile tugging at my lips. He looked back at me, made a chopping motion at his throat and mouthed to me,

“Tone it down!”.

About now was when the night angled in a different direction. One of the people in the Escalade was a rather hot, blonde. Or at least she carried herself like she was. She came in and pretended to be bringing in an important piece of info on a little slip of paper which she handed to Mr. Kirby. But before she left she introduced herself as “Julia” to both of us, shook our hands, and then turned to G and I kid you not she said,

“I just did not expect ya`ll to be so YOUNG. This place is GORGEOUS. You all seemed so well established for being so YOUNG”. And then more about the yard, on and on and on.

I am pretty sure that in Kirby selling training class 101– the first rule in the book MUST say:

“Assess your clients. Tell them anything you think they may want to hear. Make things up as nessecary”.

Elle really let me down when Julia turned to gush over her– there in her mother`s arms. Which really was a joke, BTW,  because Elle had been waiting all day for her “church bath” and was looking a little wild haired and homeless at the moment. I`m not sure what all was said about the delightfulness of my daughter but right then Elle pulled away from me and reached like mad for Julia.

“Isn`t she a friendly little thing?” Julia said, recoiling. She made no move to hold her and I made no move to let her.  I make immediate judgements about people who don`t like kids.

About then, I started thinking that maybe all 3 people in the Escalade were sales people and that they drive in, access a neighborhood and then decide among themselves which of them should hit which style home.  I know from waitressing that male waiters do great with old ladies and attractive female waitresses do great with young guys. Doesn`t take a rocket scientist. Before we moved into this house, a really old lady lived here and I have had salesman here before tell me they were expecting an older woman to answer the door. I am guessing, but I think that when they sent in the charming guy we got, they may have been expecting a little old lady. I was pretty sure that now that they had noticed Galen that the blonde may be our new replacement.

I was right because she stuck around. As the night wore on she gradually took over the sale. So now the room is getting crowded, it`s G, Mr. Kirby, Julia and I.  Lines were being drawn. I feel like there are just too many people in my living room.

How these people slither from room to room I have no idea.  Somehow he managed to get into our bedroom (the mattress was covered in all manner of grossies he said), the upstairs steps, the living room (without asking, it was more like telling). When he walked into the living room, it killed me cuz he said,

“This is AMAZING. Wow, Berber– now that is a great carpet. Long lasting, beautiful… that Berber stuff is great”.

I like our carpet in the living room fine, but I was under the impression that Berber is not a high end carpet AT ALL. In fact, I don`t even think our carpet even IS Berber. That gave me jollies for about 5 seconds… He acted like oohlala, that classy, sassy BERBER stuff.

Time ticked on. All of a sudden I realized that we had to leave the house for church, in less than a half hour and neither Elle or I was ready. Guess I`ll have to slip away to get ready. I just hated to leave G all alone, but reasoned that he was the one that got us where we were in the first place. Aah, I was sensing the sweet winds of freedom beckoning me, even now. All though I had decided the Kirby sweeper was for me,  I knew that it was in my 5 year plan and not my tonight yet plan. I just wanted them to leave and the night to be over. I hate the high pressure and awkwardness of dealing with a DTDS, and I was dreaming of doing ANYTHING rather than spend one more minute with Kirby and Julia.

As I left I heard G say,

“Bottom line. How much are we talking about. We are going to have to leave here in a bit”.

G stuck to his guns and said no, they could not come back after church to talk over a payment plan. He had to say no to this probably five times. Finally– the number $1,500.00 was thrown out and a payment plan was being laid out on our kitchen table. I hovered in the bathroom and slicked back my child`s hair. No time for a bath tonight, honey!

Pretty soon,

Galen: (Tired voice) “Hon, can you come out here and tell them I`m not a jerk for not buying you that sweeper? Can they hear it from you?”

I walked out carrying a half ironed shirt over my arm and explained as nicely as I could that we just do not make big purchases in one evening. I loved the Kirby, I was sure it was worth all the money but there was no way we were buying it without sleeping over it. We have other things to save up for and we just don`t make fast purchases like that over here.

That was clearly, not an option.

“Do you still have your stimulus check?”

“You really want it… I KNOW you do. She does!” (The blonde)

(I already said that, and that`s beside the point).

The offer came all the way down to $700.00– but we were HUSH not to tell our friends. (Oops! Just did.)

“How much can you offer us?

“Why would you not just buy this!”

“Trade in your old sweeper and we will take $200.00 off!”

On and on.

We should have all four held hands and danced in a circle because that`s just what it felt like. We just went around and around.  Every reason we gave was dumb or not a reason. To them, wanting it and being able to make the minimum payment was the only reason you would ever need. They acted like we were super weird.

Spiffy guy had now taken a stance leaning on the front door jam, not saying a word. Julia had taken over and her voice was getting all high pitched and controlling. I got the impression we were pushing all her wrong buttons and she was about to kick it into Intimidation Gear as a last resort. She actually sat herself down at our dining room table and just kinda planted herself there. I decided that was fine really, because soon we would leave and she would have to leave too. Or talk to the wall.

I think it just kinda fizzled as they realized in disbelief that the crazies, were in fact, not buying! As they finally walked out the door I think I feebly said,

“Have a nice night”.

I was met with a cold silence. Mr. Kirby clearly was not happy with the way he had chosen to spend his evening. I felt bad for a second and then realized A) life was good again! and B) I did not tell him to come over.

Door shuts. Silence. I look down at all the dirty, little, white filters scattered all across my floor.

Galen said he found used Kirby`s on Ebay for $200.00 (he looked it up on his laptop half way through the presentation to discover this).

I said, “I hope to get one one day. Maybe for the next 5 Christmases-haha.”

We rehashed the whole night and drove to church. We rehashed the whole night on the way home from church. We laughed at certain parts. Clearly the Kirby people had done one good thing for us…

Kirby had united a man and his wife, and taught them how to stick together in the midst of great adversity and animosity.

We slept good that night.

Even though our Kirby-less bed still has all those dead skin cells and people grease just corroding on it`s surface.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Amber S says:

    This is hillarious. I DO. NOT. like DTDS! Or women for that matter. It’s really quite empowering to get them to leave without buying what they’re selling. 😀

  2. Bevy says:

    Oh my word… that is one GREAT story. I love how you say at the end the one thing that the Kirby people did was to unite you two – even greater.

    You handled the whole thing – so amazingly.

  3. Ruth says:

    Oh my word! Hilarious! This just made my day – I do know for a fact you two handled this mess a whole lot more glamorously than I would have. I am a fellow salesman “hater” ooh that might be to strong. Maybe I should say I don’t appreciate them. I figure, don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours by listening to your sales pitch and then saying “No.” Thanks for the laugh!

  4. Thelma says:

    Haha. i remember this from the first time around, but it was just as delicious the second time! reminds me of a certain time share weekend we were stupid enough to go on. but we were on their turf, so we felt even dumber by the end of it all .

  5. Shannon says:

    This was even better the second time around. Way to stick to your guns – it’s really hard for me and even harder for Rich.

  6. Linda Hershey says:

    i totally remember reading this. and you know it’s GOOD if this memory of mine remembers anything longer ago than breakfast!
    i can just see Julia strolling in and taking over. intimidation plan intact.
    loved it and love it still!

  7. Rhonda says:

    Jenny, you are one creative writer! This is the first I’ve been on your blog but I’ll be back! 🙂 I just love the way you put this whole scenario into a story! I must say we didn’t stand as strong when we had a sweeper salesman come to our door. Makes me sick but I do love the sweeper! Thanks for resharing cause I didn’t read it the first time around!

  8. Aug says:

    I remember this too, from before. Must have made quite an impression on me. Although I had forgotten a lot of the details.

    Stellar writing!! I feel like I could have been right there.
    But i wasn’t! 😉

  9. Oh, you are such a great writer!! I remember this from the first time around, but it was just as fun to read it again. 🙂 We had a similar experience with a Kirby salesman, except it was me that opened the door and he slithered in, and my husband came home from work to find him in our living room. Not very cool. But they must really do a Gush Training Course, because they did the same thing to us. Crazy. I didn’t buy it. And we didn’t buy the sweeper either. Nope. Newly marrieds then we were, we hardly had enough money for a meal out, much less a $800 Kirby. A year later, we found a Kirby at an auction for $25. Now we’re talking. 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    so so funny – thanks for the laughs i needed today!! i have a story for you jenn how i embarrassed myself w/one of these (a pill person equipped w/dvd & all) at the bakery lately.

  11. sadie says:

    I read every single word, while siting at the edge of my seat. lol You are a awsome writer. I had a very similar experience about a year ago, they are so pushy, and anoying and had to kick them out after being there house cleaning for 3 hours.!! 🙁 I decided NEVER again will i let a sales man in my house.

  12. Rachel Miller says:

    Oh jenny , you just brought back that horrible nightmare I had forgotten all about ! I however did not have my husband there to help me…..Long story short I called Preston 2 3 times to satisfy the guy that we indeed did not have the money and I wasn’t just telling a lie . after many hours of listing to him , him eating my pie. he finaly left me alone. I try to forget that day as much as I can.

    Your story sounds so funny. would have loved to be a little mouse 🙂

  13. Melissa says:

    Such a similar story has happened here that I thought I was reading about myself. It was very nice to have them doing my floors, but not so worth it for the agonizing hours they spent afterwards trying to get us to buy! My husband, much to my dismay, came home midway through the schpeal, so I could not say ” I have to talk to my husband about it!”. Do I need to say we did not buy it?

  14. Cindy says:

    this. is. so. cottonpickin. funny.

    my vacuum story is not.

    we had our first vacuum, an electrolux, last us for 19 1/2 years. beings that a vacuums life span is kinda figured out like dog years, we had one old machine. a mutt never would have survived in our dirt making and scattering family that long, right? so…enter…Kevin The Vacuum Man. He told me the same thing, my carpet was gush so nice. Aaaand this girl said, ” It’s old and ugly to me!” 😀

    but. unlike you, we bought Kevin’s expensive purebred. because really in the long run, it’ll be cheaper and all. and God knows we need a great dirt-sucker-upper around here.

    {the word sucker brings tears to my eyes.}

    we have had alot of problems with our new vac. just a few weeks ago, Kevin told me that my trouble is because we have {get this!} the “Wrong Kind of Dirt.”

    two things entered my little brain. one, my stay at home face and clothes must communicate “low-watt-bulb.” and second, “whaaaat? even my dirt is WronG?” {how much more wrong-er can you be?}

    i’ve learned alot. i was much happier before i knew that even my dirt is wrong and oh! the bliss of not knowing what could be sucked out of my sofa cushions. and mutts make much better pets. they come without “kevins” i’m sure.

  15. Heidi says:

    Jenny your awesome!! Love that you didnt give in to the extreme pressure!! At least you know they dont have kids at home with their mouths hanging open!! And that good nights sleep was better than any kirby could be! 🙂

  16. Melody says:

    I know I’m a bit late reading this Jenny, but I LOVE it. Greg and I had a VERY similar experience and it was HORRIBLE. they would NOT leave. I pretty much swore to never let another one in my house! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.