Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Talent: Destroyed by a Vacuum

by Rebecca Talley

I have very few talents. I don't sing, dance, act, or sew. I'm not very crafty and I don't score high on the compassionate scale. I don't draw, paint, or write music. I don't play an instrument and while I played sports in high school, I wasn't amazing (I was good at basketball because I was tall, not because I could jump). But, I do pride myself on knowing how to change a poopy diaper, wipe boogers off my children (and the wall), and clean my house. Apparently, the cleaning house part isn't a talent after all, or so I was told.

Let me see if you can answer this question. What is more annoying than a vacuum salesman?

Any guesses?

Answer: Nothing.

Let me start at the beginning. A company called a few weeks ago and asked me to take a short consumer survey. I agreed and answered several simple questions. The next week, a representative from the same company called to say that because I'd answered the survey, my name was entered into a drawing and I'd won a $500 gift certificate to an online store (with Christmas around the corner, I thought this sounded like a good thing). The rep then told me that in order to redeem said certificate I had to participate in a presentation about an air purifier and share my opinion about the product. I was assured that it involved no sales whatsoever, and all I needed to do was answer some questions about the product after a short 30 minute presentation.

Since we have allergies, I'd considered buying an air purifier and was interested to see what this company produced so I agreed.

The salesman arrived with two large boxes. I asked him to do the presentation in the library but he insisted on going into the living room. Strike one.

He pulled out the "air purifier" that freakishly resembled a vacuum cleaner. Oh, because it was a vacuum cleaner. Now, I don't know about you, but when a company lies to me about the product they're selling, it's a big "no go" for me. Strike two.

He continued on with his presentation telling me multiple times that my house was filthy and nasty and I obviously didn't know how dirty it was. (So, you see, my cleaning talent flew right out the window). He told us how I was putting my family's health in danger and destroying our carpet (well, he did have to change his tactic to include hardwood because we have no carpet on the middle level). After 2 HOURS (sorry, didn't mean to yell, but really, 2 hours, during bedtime, come on) he gave us the high pressure sales technique designed to guilt us into buying a $3000 vacuum cleaner. Seriously. Strike three.

We finally convinced him that though we have several thousands, possibly even millions of dollars lying (or is it laying) around the house, we would prefer to sink that extra money into the Rolls Royce we're planning to purchase. He was visibly unhappy with our choice to pass on this exceptional deal.

He did give us our certificate and, surprise, when we went to redeem it, we found out that, indeed, we must pay a "shipping and handling fee" for each product. Now maybe I was born at night, but it wasn't last night and when the shipping and handling fees far exceed the value of the item, I become ever so slightly suspicious and greatly annoyed.

This company lied to get a salesman in my house. They misrepresented the product. The product seemed to be decent enough, but $3000? With the cost of living so high at the moment? Come on. Then the whole gift certificate was a total sham.

So beware of phone callers who claim to just want to conduct a short consumer survey. Before you know it, you may be subjected to losing your very last talent!


Lee Ann Setzer said...

Now there was a saleman (organization) that didn't understand the whole marketing gravity well.

I think that guy came to my house. Talked until lunchtime, and I was pregnant and about to eat HIM!

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Argh. What a nightmare. (And you wrote it so eloquently!) Thanks for the warning.

Valerie Ipson said...

Very funny, Rebecca. sadly true. but funny.