Nothing in life is free…

…so when two girls show up at your door promising to clean one of your room’s carpets for free–because they’re starting up a new business–and all they ask for in return is an honest opinion and to spread the word if you like them–don’t believe that it’s really free.

Because I did and what I got was close to two hours of a sales pitch for a vacuum cleaner. Yes, y’all, I was snookered today. And they ended up not even cleaning the whole room.

I have to set the stage. I’ve had it up to about my eyeballs with how dirty our living room carpet is getting. Each day I go in there and just walk out because it disgusts me. There’s a tea stain or two. A dirt stain. A long tape trail (free advice here: never secure a tv cable to berber carpet with duct tape. The tape comes up but the sticky does not. And all that’s left is dirt attaching itself to the sticky until there are two long black lines on your nice cream colored berber carpet).

All I could see when I would walk into the living was the tape trail. And I even tried my little Green Bissel Dirt Machine or whatever it’s called. It looked clean until the carpet dried. And then the two black lines just got dirtier and dirtier.

So, you see, I was at my wits end. A friend just had her carpets cleaned before Christmas and I asked her this very afternoon which company she used. I was planning on making the call this very afternoon to schedule an appointment when who should appear at my door? Why two little carpet cleaning fairies who were sent by God to save me money!

And all I had to do was spread the word. SCORE!!! I even Twittered about the “blessing from God”. The little fairies left promising to be back in an hour. Not too long after they left I heard another knock at the door. They were back! A clean carpet awaited me!

Wait, there were two men outside my door. Oh well, these were two of the guys helping to start the business. Actually, one of them was the “owner” starting up the business and left the other one to clean my carpet and “be my maid for the hour”. I thought it was weird that there wasn’t a huge tube coming out of the white van parked in front of my house. Don’t all carpet cleaning businesses own a van with a big tube coming out of it that sucks up all the dirty water? And what were these two suitcase-sized boxes the man was carrying? What good were they going to do?

 As my maid began unpacking those boxes, talking a mile a minute, he began assembling something right before my eyes. It. was. a. vacuum. I think at that moment you probably felt the universe sigh for me. I was trapped in a vacuum demonstration! When was he going to clean my carpet? I had to get ready for my anniversary date soon. How long was this going to take?

After oh, twenty minutes of him going over all the bling on this special vacuum he actually squirted some foam on a stain on the carpet. Then he left it there and went on to talk about more vacuum bling. He was vacuuming my walls, y’all. He wanted to vacuum our tv. Our new flat screen-Du-will-kill-you-if-you-breathe-on-it-wrong-tv. VACUUM OUR TV!

I stopped him there. I then explained to him that we were going to have to leave soon and that I didn’t realize this was a sales demonstration. I was upfront that the carpet cleaning fairies vacuum hags had made it sound like it would be a carpet cleaning and that’s it. He sat in stunned silence for a minute and then began talking even faster and running around my house vacuuming things promising that he’d condense his spiel, but that he had to do it or he wouldn’t get paid. I just wanted to yell at him, “clean my freaking carpet like you promised!”

After spending five minutes vacuuming two square feet of our mattress trying to scare us and gross us into dust mite fright he finally got around to shampooing that black streak across the carpet. I was wringing my hands at this point. I didn’t care that the rest of the living room floor hadn’t been touched. I just wanted that stupid streak gone.

The “owner” finally made it back here and began talking actual numbers. We were quoted close to $2400 for a vacuum cleaner (I didn’t my parents didn’t even pay that much for my first car…twice over). We told him we’d go no higher than $500. When all was said and done we left my maid in the driveway waiting for the white van to come pick him up. We actually left our house for our date before the vacuum salesman did.

So don’t believe the carpet fairies when they show up at your door promising to clean a room for free that very day! You do owe them something. YOU OWE THEM YOUR TIME. Time from your life that you will never get back. And right now only time will tell if that tea stain and black streak will actually stay gone. You know how stains tend to reappear after carpets are professionally cleaned and the carpet dries. If they stay gone then I will consider it the best one hour and forty minutes I ever spent being held hostage by a spastic vacuum salesman. And my walls are clean.

P.S. Has anyone out there ever bought one of these vacuums?

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20 thoughts on “Nothing in life is free…

  1. i think a actually wet my pants this time, vicki! my hubby and i actually got held hostage to this blessing of an event while HOUSESITTING! we didn’t buy it, but oh, so close… we’ve lived with the dust mites in terror ever since…

  2. Too funny! At least you got rid of them without buying a vaccuum…..some new carpet cleaning business, huh?

    I thought about having our disgusting carpet professionally cleaned, but then I ended buying a royal carpet scrubber/extractor and did it myself. It cost me around$300 and I can clean my carpet whenever I want : ) Like maybe eventually I’ll clean it again.

  3. I feel your pain concerning the tape on the carpet. Sometimes when husband and I watch television unfit for little eyes, the little feet would come padding down the hall and stop on their way to the bathroom to soak up some illicit tv. So husband put down a “duct tape wall” which they were not to cross on their way to the bathroom, so they could not catch a glimpse of the tv. Brilliant.

    The tape part came off the carpet in 3 weeks, but the sticky dirt attracting stain never did. Not as Brilliant.

    So we put in laminate floors.

  4. This happened to us our first year of marriage…the Rainbow folks showed up and were all, “$50 giftcard to Walmart just for a 30 minute presentation!”

    We were young. We were poor. We wanted free Walmart money.

    Nothing in life is ever free, of course.

    An hour later, the dude was still vacuuming…and still being rude because we were all, “Thanks, but we can ‘t afford an $1800 vacuum at this stage in our lives!” He reluctantly handed over the gift card. THEN…when his “manager” came to pick him up, he went on and on about how nasty our carpet was (our house was not even 6 months old at that time!) and how he wasn’t going to earn that trip to Hawaii because we were his last house of the night and his last chance at winning, blah-blah-blah.

    Scott pretty much told him not to let the coconuts hit him on the way out. SUCKER!

    Sigh…
    Good times. Precious memories.

  5. We got suckered about 6 months after we got married… we’d just moved into our first house literally 2 weeks prior to them coming around. We’ve had numerous people stop by out here for carpet cleaning (hello…. 90% of our floors are TILE!) but I won’t let them even get their spiel out of their mouths. I learned my lesson.

    As for the duct tape…. yeah…. I wouldn’t bet on that being gone. I put duct tape down on the carpet in my classroom one year to help keep all my chairs in line (I was so OCD about those stinkin’ chairs). It started ripping up about 3 weeks later, so I pulled it all up…. and it left that nasty sticky goo on the carpet. The school cleaned my carpets with those heavy duty cleaners they have and I think maybe 4 years later you could still see a trace of it.

  6. Well, thanks to an ex husband that was a sucker and bought every magazine, vacuum, book, etc. that was hawked at our door – I am not so nice to door-to-door salesmen. I either don’t answer or open the door a crack and say something like “go away”. One of my ex’s purchases was one of these wonder vacuumes that had a lifetime warranty, hepa filters, attachments galore… it broke after a few years, the bags were available only on ebay and all the warranty tune up shops went out of business. It was the price of the one you were offered and I think the man even suckered us into putting the stupid vacuum into our family trust as an asset to our estate, cause you know it was going to last forever. Now that I think about it, it was probably so my kids would have to pick up the tab if we died and didn’t pay it off!

    At least you had something to talk about on your date!

  7. I’ve been that sucker too… the phone call that promised me I’d won a FREE GIFT!!!! “When can we bring it to you?” And stupidly I set a date and time. I did get my free gift – a dollar store set of steak knives – but only after 3 hours of trying to convince the guy we couldn’t afford a $3600 vacuum. Honestly!

  8. Oh no..I do not want them coming in and trying to sell me a vacuum…do not have time for that at all…

    Happy Late 13 Anni!!! Love that post!! Cute pics 🙂

    Congrats on being a finalist in the diary contest!!! 🙂

  9. Oh wow, I don’t handle things like that very well! I tend to hang up, shut the door, walk away from anyone trying to even attempt a sales pitch (or anything that might possibly be a sales pitch) to me!

  10. I’m sorry … I had to laugh at this. I almost got caught in one of these demos from hell some years back. Unfortunately, it happened about the time we were looking for a new sweeper, so I was genuinely interested. But the feeb salesman was kind of a jerk so I wouldn’t let him in.

  11. Steph says:

    Oooh, you’ve confirmed my suspicions about visitors we had here a couple months ago.

    Two young women, saying they were starting a business, handing me a can of air freshener as a “gift”. They had two guys in their van to do the cleaning job.

    Now, I’m in the country, and I was home alone. So I had no compunction about sending them away.

    Sounds like I dodged a bullet. You’ve done a public service today. 😉

  12. Sadly, yes we got taken once. The vacuum was sooo loud and didn’t clean as well as my canister vacuum. I hate uprights, because I always bang stuff.

    That same year was a double slam. We bought into the Rainsoft water BS too. We could have done a lot with that money. Two years later both were sold!

    Oh to be young and trusting again.

  13. Too funny! Thankfully I’ve never gotten trapped by a vacuum cleaner salesman, but have gotten taken by a meat salesman. Here I thought I was getting a good deal on bulk meat, prepackaged, ready for my freezer only to find out that it was horrible….I vowed never to buy from a door to door anything again (unless they are wearing little green uniforms and their product is cookies…)

  14. Boy am I glad I read this! I had a similar thing last year where they asked to clean the carpets for free but my extremely paranoid husband who trusts no one and says there is a catch to everything told them no. I thought he was an ass at the time but now I realize he was right. I will however withhold that information from him as I don’t need to give him any more leverage over me than he already has!

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