Strange Night-Time Visit from Kirby Sales Couple

by Jay Macky
(Michigan, USA)

It's a about a quarter past 8:00pm as I write this. I was sitting at my computer after dinner winding down for the day when a white van pulled up. I live in a small town.


I'm not particularly concerned with crime, but was still surprised to see a vehicle I didn't know stop in front of my house. I got out to meet them. A young man and woman got out and quickly paced up to me as I stood on my front porch. Since I did not know this couple nor had I ever seen them in my small town, I was a little alarmed. However, the woman greeted me with a friendly "Hello" which temporarily put me at ease.

The woman nervously asked me if the "lady of the house" was at home. I told them my family was out and would probably be home at any moment (I said this partially to dissuade them from trying anything funny in case that's what they were there for). The woman stood on my porch nervously fidgeting with a canister of Lysol wipes, sort of muttered something about it not being as late as I thought and that they just wanted to show me something. I noticed they were both clean and well-dressed and concluded they probably weren't there to murder me and thought perhaps they were there to get me to sign some kind of petition.

I asked the woman what I could do for them and she repeated again her request to speak to the lady of the house. At this point I was a little put off, after all, unless she knew the woman of the house, there really was no reason they couldn't speak with me. I quickly concluded with a chuckle that she must be there to sell me Lysol wipes before explaining that I was the only one home at the moment and they were free to explain to me what they needed.

The woman then gestured to her companion, explaining that he does demos for Kirby. I interrupted her to clarify that she was talking about Kirby vacuum cleaners. She confirmed and weakly reinforced her desire to speak with a woman. I felt a little annoyed at this but decided to let it go. I informed her that I own a cleaning business and prefer shark vacuums for my home and business.

The woman got a very disappointed look on her face and explained the young man standing behind her on the steps gets paid to give demos. I was actually about to welcome them to give me a demo - afterall, I can sympathize with someone trying to make a living, but before I could I found she and her companion were already half-way back to their van.

My conclusion?

(1) They lacked confidence in the product they were selling to stand up to whatever product I was already using.

(2) They either initially believed that I, as a man, was incapable of making good decisions as regards cleaning products or that a woman would be more easily persuaded by their sales tactics. Either way, (and I don't just throw this word around lightly) sexist.

I was left feeling a little unsettled and wondering if they really had come there to try and sell the lady of the house a vacuum or if they had been assessing me as a mark for some kind of con artist's operation. It was just a little eerie that the man stood back while she did all the talking but I was to believe that he was the one there to sell me the vacuum.

Sorry, guys, if you're reading this, but you two are terrible sales people. Calm down, slow down, be clear about what you're doing at my house, and don't shoot yourself in the foot by assuming I wouldn't be interested in what you're selling.

Also, you should probably speak to the person who answers the door unless you know the 'lady of the house' personally. Just throwing that out there.

Happy hunting in the future.

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