Home of Doug Gibson, full life cycle ColdFusion web/application developer

Just Say No To Kirby's Free Carpet Shampoo Offer

posted Jul 6, 2008 at 04:33:21 PM by Doug Gibson.

I got a call a week or so ago offering a free carpet shampoo for one of my rooms. I usually do not deal with these marketing people or listen to their offers at all. But this seemed simple enough and didn't require much of a committment on my part, especially since I work from home. I realized I would probably have to sit through a sales pitch, but that wouldn't be a big deal since the appointment was set near lunch time.

The person on the phone who set this up did not elaborate any further than confirm that I would have to listen to a sales pitch. I had no idea what the company did, but assumed that they were a service company.

Kirby Sells VERY Expensive Vacuum Cleaners

When the appointment came, I learned they were selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. I knew they would be expensive as well, but it wasn't until the end that I learned that these were $1,600 vacuum cleaners! If you aren't interested in a $1,600 vacuum cleaner, then take my advice and don't ever set up one of these appointments. The two and a half hours-plus that was wasted on this demo was not worth the free carpet shampoo by any means.

The experience wasn't horrible at first or I would have kicked the sales people out early on. The lengthy product demo bordering on two hours long could have been shorter though. They spent way too much time interchanging parts to show all the great features of this unit that was much more than a vacuum cleaner. There was so much part switching that I found it to be tiresome and actually a down-side before he was even on to the vacuum cleaner itself. Furthermore, they went on ad nauseum about dust, dust mites and allergens, which I already knew because my oldest son has dust allergies. Mentioning this only made things worse for the sales pitch, however, as the pitch began taking on overtones of guilt. If I could have a cleaner house for my son, I should do everything I can to that end, right?

A Poorly Thought Out Product Demo

The worst part of the demo came when the gentleman decided to pour salt on my carpet and grind it in with his shoe. He proceeds to tell me what I already know - that the edges of salt and sand can act like microscopic blades and cut the threads of your carpet, thereby ruining it. He uses my vacuum cleaner - a Dyson for pet owners (we don't have pets, but I got this model because it's more effective than the lower models) and ran over the spot 100 times asking the stupid question if I thought it had got all of the salt. Of course not - he was going to show me how great this Kirby was. As he's vacuuming with the Kirby and getting more salt out, which shows up nicely on the black filter pads he has for this demo, he makes a statement to the effect of "if someone told you the Dyson would not get all of the dirt out of the carpet after 100 times over it, would you buy it?" This is when I had enough of the nonesense and I bitterly commented that I did not appreciate his demo because there's no guarantee that the Kirby will get it ALL out either and he has therefore ruined my carpet. He seemed like he was done with his demo, but my comments prompted him to say "oh, well I'm not done vacuuming." He continued vacuuming that spot for well over 100 times with the Kirby. He switched back to the white filters, so I could not see how much more salt was being picked up before he finally stopped. Right there was proof that even if the Kirby was better than the Dyson, it was only marginally better.

They were finally done wasting my time, or so I thought, and they went on to shampoo the carpet. I patiently heard the few minutes demo part and went to get my long overdue lunch.

Bad To Worse Prospective Customer Experience

If I wasn't annoyed enough at the loss of two hours and the demo itself, I was even more unhappy when their hard-sell sales lady came in to finally wrap things up. She tried to set things up by hinting that I might want one of these units for each floor of my house! I did not know the actual price, but I knew it was unlikely I wanted much less could afford even one of them. But worse, the overtones of guilt became less subtle as well.

Simply put, I don't respond to emotional blackmail and I was fed up with it.

By the end of the demo and sales pitch, one would think that you are sleeping in a vat of feces (dust mite feces, of course), and should feel ashamed for letting your kids live in such filth and squalor. I even overheard the lady comment to the demoer, "were you vacuuming outside" as they were cleaning up some of the filter pads with dirt and salt on them. If they were not already cleaning up and on their way out, I would surely have thrown them out then.

The End Result Made No One Happy

Would I pay $1,600 for a vacuum cleaner then? If I had that kind of money laying around, I just might. Nah, probably not. I still had trouble getting the price right (through coupons and credit card reward gift cards) to make the Dyson purchase. But the fact is that 1. I don't have that kind of money to spend at all, much less on a vacuum cleaner, 2. I was not impressed enough with Kirby's product to pay as much for it as my Dyson cost and 3. I would not buy anything from Kirby and especially these sales people on principle alone after their sales tactics.

Backtracking a bit, the guy who first entered my house and introduced the younger guys who would be demoing the product seemed down to earth and commented that even if I didn't want to buy anything today, they were trying to spread the word and hopefully the demo and service would help me remember the Kirby brand.

However, the end result is that I now know and will not easily forget the Kirby name, but I would not buy a Kirby or recommend anyone even listening to their sales pitch...unless you really have nothing better to do with your time. If that's the case you can come over and shampoo my carpets and I'll even pay you!

And to think they wanted me to buy TWO $1600 vacuum cleaners, which were they were actually able to sell me for the great sale price of $1500! If I knew that before this all began, they would have never set foot in my house, even with a promise of a free carpet shampoo.

5 Reader Comments

1. Nate writes:

Heh. Two of my buddies used to work for Kirby. That sounds like a freaking horrible lunch break and I'm surprised you didn't kick them out sooner. However, I love the smackdown you laid on him about ruining your carpet. :)

# Jul 7, 2008 @ 10:22 AM ET | IP Logged
2. dgibson writes:

Man, I feel bad for anyone who has to do that for a living. And I was very patient with the guys doing the demo, since I knew they really had no choice. The entire process starting from the phone call does the sales people and the product a disservice though.

# Jul 7, 2008 @ 4:06 PM ET | IP Logged
3. Ko0pa writes:

was the shampoo part any good?

# Aug 4, 2008 @ 2:54 PM ET | IP Logged
4. Kali writes:

Man oh man! I would be so p***ed! If you are a vac salesmen a piece of demo carpet should be on the list of equipment to cary around!

# Aug 4, 2008 @ 9:34 PM ET | IP Logged
5. jimmy j. writes:

that jackass would be buying me a new carpet or he would be pulling my shoe out of his crack.

# Aug 5, 2008 @ 1:27 AM ET | IP Logged

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