When it comes to door-to-door salespeople, I’m a sucker. I’ve had my windows cleaned by a very ambitious Southern man, bought a magazine subscription from a drunk teenager, and just this week endured a 90-minute vacuum cleaner demonstration. How did I fall for that, you ask? Sit back, relax, and I’ll share.
In retrospect I realize that this was not your average salesman. This was a strategic three-man team designed to reel in prospects with an air freshener and hook them with a ludicrously priced, yet seemingly magical vacuum cleaner. I didn’t stand a chance.
First, they sent in the Headliner, the one charged with finding and securing Suckers. This particular Headliner was a dwarf, although I believe the politically correct term is “little person.” Either way, he blind-sided me, offering me an air freshener for my time and promising not to take too much of it. Before I even realized what was happening, the Headliner was introducing the Demo Guy, and then *poof*, he was gone.
Now I have a 20-year old kid in my livingroom, assembling a new age vacuum cleaner that looks like it might double as a jet-pack. His job is to shame me by sucking the dirt from my livingroom rug and displaying it on round little filters. Within 30 minutes he has collected at least 20 of them and isn’t slowing down. By the time he’s gathered about 45 dirt-encrusted disks he asks me to sit down for his formal demonstration.
I’ll admit. This vacuum cleaner was extraordinary. It had about 20 attachments and could do everything from clean your gutters to unclog your drains. But the only way I would pay $2400 for a vacuum cleaner was if it could turn my $30 throw rug into a magic carpet that would take me and my children to Disneyland. I’m sorry, but there’s not enough carpet in my life to justify a purchase of that magnitude.
But the Demo Guy’s job isn’t to sell the vacuum cleaner, it’s just to demonstrate it. After 60 minutes of being shocked and amazed by this simple household appliance, the Boss Man arrives. His job is to make the hard sell.
First let me say that any man wearing rhinestone-studded jeans shouldn’t expect to sell me anything. But, boy, did he try.
He informed me that him and his team had traveled all the way from Denver, Colorado, to the numbered streets in Idaho Falls to sell me this magical vacuum cleaner. Because apparently there are more suckers in this area code than in theirs.
I played the single-mom card and tried to look sad and pathetic atop my newly-cleaned livingroom rug (which, by the way, now looks fabulous). He practically rolled his eyes before cutting his asking price in half.
If only this bedazzled salesman knew what he was dealing with he never would have dispatched his team to my home. I am no domestic maven. And while I care about the health of my children (almost obsessively) I would expose them to all the dust mites in the world in order to put $1000 into their college accounts rather than buy his sterling silver, streamlined vacuum cleaner.
The Boss Man, dejected and annoyed, left the poor Demo Guy to clean up his mess, literally. And before the Demo Guy ducked out my front door, his magical vacuum cleaner in tow, he asked that I return the air freshener. Because apparently I sucked more than their vacuum cleaner and their sales practices.