.. For That Price It Should Wash The Car

“I only have carpet in one room ...”
In mid-December a representative from a carpet cleaning company called to tell me I’d been selected to have the carpet in one room of my home shampooed for free, which room would I like done? Well, I replied, since I only have carpet in one room, it would have to be the living room. Thinking ahead to my New Year’s Day party, and that the carpet had been down for two years without being cleaned, I told them to come on over.

I did a little on-line research and discovered that they were actually a sales office for Kirby vacuums. By the time the two guys showed up with their amazing machine I had concentrated all my energy on sales resistance. I’ve been in third world markets. I’ve bargained with Turkish rug merchants. Two boys from Mount Vernon weren’t going to get the best of me!

“it can suck the feathers out of my down comforter ...”
They set about demonstrating the wonders of the Kirby Generation Six carpet cleaning system. They showed me the dirt their machine could suck out of my carpet. They showed me how easy it was to handle. They showed me how it’s so powerful it can suck the feathers out of my down comforter, and the grout out from between the tiles on the kitchen floor. I was polite enough not to point out that I’m not interested in cleaning my downstairs neighbor’s apartment as well as my own. They showed me the upholstery attachment, the curtain attachment, the plant misting attachment, and the "portable" feature for cleaning the car.

I was impressed with the way they built the case for my ultimate purchase, first asking how often I vacuumed, then asking if it wouldn’t be worth $2.50 each time. I was taken aback by the way they overtly checked out my apartment and complemented or expressed mutual interest in color schemes, CDs, the birds, and the shape of my coffee mugs.

“I wouldn’t go near a hand-knotted oriental rug with that thing ...”
Finally, the leader took me into the kitchen to "go over the numbers" while his partner set about shampooing my carpet. Scratching out numbers on a scrap of paper he told me about how he’s in the middle of a sales contest, so he’s offering a higher turn-in value on my pathetic old vacuum, as well as a very reasonable monthly payment plan. I wouldn’t even have to start paying for a couple months, but they’d set me up with a new machine tomorrow. And although he referenced the $1,500 final purchase price, he never actually pointed out that those payments would go on for 18 months -- after all, the cleaner is good for at least 25 years. I didn’t bother to point out that at $80 a month, I’d have to vacuum more than once a day for it to cost $2.50 per cleaning. But kindest of all, I didn’t laugh in his face at the proposition that I spend $1,500 for a machine to clean my 12 by 12 foot patch of living room carpet. Was I tempted? Not in this reality. I wouldn’t go near a hand-knotted oriental rug with that thing, and the notion of dragging it out to mist the plants just to get my money’s worth was laughable.

In the end I pointed out that they’ed called me and I’d told them I only had one carpted room. They couldn’t blame me for accepting the offer of a free cleaning -- the initial caller hadn’t said a word about selling me anything. They went away disappointed, but assured me that they weren’t angry. I ended up very happy with my clean carpet for the holidays. I wonder if Hoover has any sales offices in the area ...

..