Vacuum Salesman

Okay, Mr. hard-sell vacuum cleaner salesman. I think you made a bad decision, pitching me your vacuum. I mean, I let you in because I was curious, and I hate turning away a stranger. Honestly, at first I thought you were here to tell me about your religion, and I have a soft spot for those guys. Never turn away a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, is my policy. And then again, there’s my religion’s teaching on hospitality. There’s alway’s the stray chance that you could be an angel.

So I let you give me the late evening pitch about your vacuum. And I expected from the start that your product would be better than what’s already sitting in my closet. The question was if it would be so much better that it would justify the additional expense. I’m the kind of guy who intends to never buy a new car in his life. Plus, I’m still on the rebound from the foolish purchase of a time share. So it’s like, fool me once, ya know?

And yeah, it’s an awesome piece of equipment. You almost had me thinking I might eventually save up for one. And then you did the hard sell. Now I’m running the numbers.

The original price you pitched me was over three thousand dollars. That’s crazy talk. That’s more than I paid for my car. But you know, maybe some day. Then you rolled your eyes and dropped your price. By a thousand dollars. This is where you started to lose me. That happened too fast. I still can’t afford it, but now I’m thinking I just narrowly avoided giving a thousand dollars to charity. Is this why you don’t sell through department stores – so you can flex on a 35% margin?

Okay, I’m running the numbers again. Your vacuum is nice, but I paid less than $200 for the one I have. Is your vacuum ten times as good as mine? I expect my machine will last about two years, so I guess if yours lasts at least twenty years I’ll break even. But keep in mind, I have to decide right now if your machine will work better than whatever’s on the $200 market two decades from now. I’m no expert on vacuums, but I know that would be a poor bet for any other small appliance in my house. I mean, you’re asking me to pay as much for my vacuum as I will for my carpet.

And you’re at it again. I just explained to you that, under no circumstances will I be making an impulse decision about a major appliance today. I just told you that the only way I could even consider it is if your vacuum cost essentially the same as the one I bought in a pinch at Walmart when the last one broke. Any purchase that requires me to actually adjust my budget will also require a significant waiting period. I see that I have hurt your feelings. I’m terribly sorry about that. I am grateful for this particularly clean square in my living room. Oh, this is where you explain to me your business model before making a final pitch? Please don’t do this. I really don’t think it will have the intended effect…

Well, you did it. Now I will never buy your brand of vacuum. Yes, I understand $1500 is an incredible price. But I also understand that you’re offering that price at a personal loss in order to meet a quota. I understand why your company will never sell its product through a major retailer. Major retailers have experienced purchasing professionals and highly paid lawyers to ensure that they won’t be taken advantage of. They buy wholesale, and are able to drive down the price of the product, and pass that savings on to the customer, in an effort to gain market advantage over other retailers in the region.

Up till now, I was under the impression that you were an employee of your company. You have just led me to believer that you are an independent retailer, forced to sink an investment into this vacuum before attempting to sell it to me, and that it’s entirely possible for you to sell every vacuum in your stock, and only just break even. You, my friend, are being exploited, much more surely than any sweat shop worker in Bangladesh. I sincerely hope you are able to get out of this situation as quickly as possible, but you do not have my sale.

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