Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Saga

NOTE: The following is a true story embellished only with a random sprinkling of profanity and the occasional violent outburst.

Ever been hassled by pesky magazine salespeople? How 'bout Jehovah's Witness? Or maybe a circus clown on drugs? Well let me tell you right now... those things, my friend, those things are a walk in the park compared to the hellish fate that awaits you if you ever let a Kirby vacuum salesman into your house.

Let me make this as clear as I can. Under no circumstances, I don't care how lonely you might be, I don't care how much time you have to kill, I don't care if they offer you a free rim job... do not ever invite a Kirby vacuum salesman into your house.

It began one afternoon. Unbeknownst to me or my wife, someone knocked on the door of our house and our kids answered it. It was a man claiming that our family could win a "great prize" or some such shit and that all they had to do was fill out a card. They filled out the card (dumb shits), gave it to the man, and he left. Now keep in mind this scenario we did not find out about until -- fast-forward a couple of weeks -- our telephone rang at dinnertime. My wife answered it. It was a Kirby vacuum rep.

The Kirby rep, a woman, told my wife that we had won the drawing! Can you believe it? Out of all the thousands of entries, we won! The deal was Kirby was going to come to our house to vacuum and deep-clean our entire (filthy rotten dirty) living room carpet! In our wildest dreams we could not imagine such a fortune! And there were no strings attached! No sales pitches either! All we had to do is let the Kirby guy come in and go to town on our crappy carpet! My wife arranged a day and time.

Fast-forward two weeks. It was late afternoon on a Saturday. I was home with the kids, my wife was out galavanting around or some such nonsense. It didn't matter; our rotten carpet was going to look like new again! The doorbell rang. I opened the door. In walks the Kirby guy, a black dude who was obviously pretty gay. Now, there's nothing wrong with being gay, it's just that this guy was so extremely over-the-top with his flamboyance, it was kind of funny. Think Lamar Latrelle from Revenge of the Nerds... that was this guy.

So Lamar begins assembling the company's latest and greatest model: The Sentria. This thing can not only vacuum but also act as a powerful, foam-injecting, deep-cleaning scrubbing device. It was covered in chrome and weighed like 800 pounds.

The Kirby Sentria

It also came with like fifty-seven attachments and doohickies. Lamar told me he was new at Kirby and appologized for taking a while to hook everything up. He looked nervous. He inserted little white discs in the vacuum so he could show me the amount of dirt it could pick up. Damn, my living room was gonna look awesome by the time this guy was done -- and the woman who called us two weeks prior promised my wife there would be no pesky sales pitches, so I knew I wouldn't have to listen to any of their "you must buy this wonderful machine" nonsense! It was a win/win. I was so happy with the prospect I grabbed a beer and started drinking. Hey, it was Saturday night.

Fifty-seven attachments and doohickies

As Lamar (with his limp-wristed throwing style*) finished assembling the chrome-plated behemoth, he asked me if I had vacuumed the carpet before he arrived. I told him yes. Then he said, "No you didn't." And I said, "Yes I did, we have a really good Oreck, it's only a couple of years old and I vacuumed before you got here." And he said, "No you didn't... you didn't pick up any dirt... you only picked up carpet fibers... watch THIS!" He kicked on the Kirby and proceeded to vacuum for a bit. Then he removed and showed me the disc which, sure enough, was covered in dirt. "Impressive," I said. Lamar then explained, "And I'm only using one-third the power of this machine!" My response was, "Okay... well, show me full power, I want to see that!" He replied, "I can't. My boss won't let me." That's when I smelled a rat.

So I'm like "What?! What are you talking about, your boss won't let you... why would you come here with this vacuum and not show me its full potential? What if I wanted to buy one? I would need to see what the thing can do, right? That doesn't make any sense!" Lamar explained that it was "company policy." If I did not purchase the vacuum, full power mode would "dirty it up for the next potential buyer."

Yeah. Insert WTF here.

I was starting to get pissed. I literally told this dude, "What if you went to a dealership to buy a Nissan 350Z and then when you get on the freeway for a test-drive, when you go to 'see what it's got,' the sales guy tells you the car would only go to 35 mph but if you buy it, it will go full-power... what the f#*k would you say to that guy? Exactly. You'd tell him to go f#*k himself, wouldn't you?" Lamar was quite taken aback by my analogy.

I hammered him with a lot of questions, too. If this guy was gonna torment me with his unwanted sales pitch, I was gonna torment him right back.

Lamar became even more nervous. He said he wanted to call his boss and ask him to swing by to help answer my questions and -- waddaya know -- he "just happened to be in the area!" The smell was getting worse. I continued to drink, downing beer number three.

He hangs up the phone. "Yeah, my boss is gonna stop by, he'll be here later," Lamar explained. Me, I just wanted my carpet clean so I let the guy go to work on it.

Lamar was about halfway done when he tilted the Kirby on its side and said, "See these rollers in here? Your Oreck has bristles and those bristles beat dirt back down into the carpet... these Kirby rollers are superior to what's in your Oreck..." I sat there and I just couldn't take it anymore. I said, "Hey, my wife told me you guys promised there would be no sales pitches, what happened to that?" Lamar replies, "Oh, I'm just tellin' ya about it, I ain't tryin' to sell it to ya..." Whatever.

The pillow biter vacuumed and deep-cleaned our entire living room in about two hours, maybe two and a half, all the while pitching how insanely great this thing was by showing me dozens of crazy-ass attachments and telling me how my family would benefit from owning one. And admittedly, the room looked great. I was on beer number seven. Then Lamar casually handed me a sheet of paper. Here's the actual document:

There it was, typed out in black and white. The "Kirby Sentria..." only

I said, "You have got to be kidding me, right? Two grand?" The guy replies, "Yup!" as if he were proud of the fact. I then told him, "All I know is, for two grand -- and no offense, man -- but for two grand, this thing better suck my dick and my balls, and it had better come with two free hookers... that's ridiculous." Lamar then stepped outside. He had to get with his manager who was walking up my driveway. I needed another beer.

Lamar came back in with his manager. His boss, a guy who looked like he never missed a sandwich, shook my hand and asked me, "What do I have to do to get you into a Kirby today, sir?" I repeated what I told Lamar, that for two grand I would basically need Megan Fox and her lesbian friends to polish my helmet for a year.

Undeterred, the big oaf would disappear then reappear with a better offer. I kept telling him no. This went on for about ten minutes until it got to the point where he offered to knock-off more than a thousand dollars. Right, more than a thousand dollars off the original price of $1,949.00! Then he said we could win an all-expenses paid Hawaiian vacation! His last and final offer was something like $900.00 tax, title, out-the-door. But they could only honor that deal if I bought it today. Right. Okay. WHA - - ?!

That's when I told Lamar and his sweaty boss it was time to leave. I wanted so bad to say, "thanks for cleaning our carpet and thanks for trying to f#*king swindle me out of two grand..." but I held back. The carpet did look really clean.

The next day Lamar called us to see if we changed our mind. He said they would still honor the special price but we had to act fast. The answer was no.

Two days later there was a knock at the door. It was Lamar. I asked him not to contact us any more.

Seriously though. Unbelievable. This company, Kirby, was ready and willing to take my family to the cleaners for DOUBLE the price of what they would have settled for in the first place. What a scam.

I like Kirby the video game character and I like Jack Kirby. Those are the only Kirby's I ever want to be reminded of, ever again.

Nearly three hours of torment in exchange for what? A clean carpet? It was a terrible price to pay.

Any of you guys ever go through this kinda shit with a vacuum sales company or any other door-to-door salesman for that matter...?

* As you may recall, a quote taken from Revenge of the Nerds


  1. "for two grand, this thing better suck my dick and my balls, and it had better come with two free hookers..." HAHAHAHAHAHA

  2. Haha. A friend of mine sold Kirbys for about two weeks. They had him sucking dust mites out of mattresses and showing them to people. Totally disgusting.

  3. Love this part best:
    "What do I have to do to get you into a Kirby today, sir?" I repeated what I told Lamar, that for two grand I would basically need Megan Fox and her lesbian friends to polish my helmet for a year."

  4. dude this is the funniest thing you have posted so far. what a bunch of assholes the Kirby people are, I can't believe they wouldn't show you "full power" haha - that's because that WAS full power!!!

  5. I just started training to work for Kirby as a salesman. This shit is fucking hilarious no LIE!!!. You don't even need any training to know that this dude was on some bullshit talking about the full power thing. It's either on sucking shit up or its not, there's no power levels on it lol. I know these things are expensive, but what you're not realizing is it's not just a vacuum lol. Of course it's a grip of money for just a vacuum, but you never have to buy a vacuum, shampooer, leaf blower, buffer, air pump, etc. ever again. Just think about that lol. Alright I'm outta here. I love this blog