Well, That Sucks

I recently had an encounter with a young man on my doorstep. He wasn’t advocating religion or guilting me into purchasing a home security system: he was a seller of vacuums. (The housekeeping kind, not the “volume of space that is essentially empty of matter” kind.)

This particular man seemed normal and friendly during our initial encounter, but by the time he left my home, he was frothing at the mouth and hated my guts. But it was his own fault.

He lured me into a vacuum demonstration by promising that if I listened to his sales pitch he would shampoo my living room free of charge. Because my carpet hadn’t been scrubbed really well since the Clinton era, I agreed.

Moments later my home had turned into a vacuum graveyard, with parts and accessories strewn all around the living room. He said the vacuum should assemble easily with little fuss—but that’s what Pharaoh said about the pyramids. Eventually, in true Rubik’s cube-like fashion, he got it all put together and was ready for the demonstration.

The salesman began vacuuming my carpet and within seconds had sucked up enough dirt and hair to create a new family pet. I think he even sucked up things that were in the basement. I was impressed, but not impressed enough to fork out the two grand he was asking for the cleaner.

After he told me the price (and I stopped laughing hysterically) he became very solemn. “Don’t you care that you have enough dirt in your carpet to turn the Bonneville Salt Flats into a garden area?” he asked. “Doesn’t it bother you that your vacuum is so weak it couldn’t pick up dryer lint?”

“Of course, I care,” I replied. “But I got laid off in April and I just don’t have the money. I don’t even spend $2,000 on my vehicle, let alone a machine that could deep clean the Sahara Desert.”

He got mad. How could I turn down such a great deal? How could I let my home be turned into the sand dunes? Did I have no self-respect? I informed him that I have lots of self-respect, but if I had an extra $2,000 I wouldn’t be spending it on cleaning supplies.

In what I’m sure was a pre-planned sales tactic, he called his manager, begging him to give me a better deal. Theatrical arguing went on (at least on the salesman’s part) for a good five minutes. He finally hung up, sighed and said the manager was willing to go as low as $1,600. What a bargain. Maybe I could get two.

I chuckled, and told the poor guy I really couldn’t afford it. His reaction was somewhere between a nuclear reaction and a volcanic explosion. How could I laugh when I’m turning down the best offer of my life? How could I guffaw when, even as we speak, dust mites were copulating and populating the area under my couch?

“Do you own one of these cleaners,” I asked him.
He didn’t.

“Why?” I asked.
He couldn’t afford it. Really? Who would have thought?

The defense rested and I watched as he stashed his many vacuum parts back into their expensive crate.

As he huffed out of my home and stomped down the driveway I called after him, “I guess that means my carpets aren’t going to be shampooed?” He turned and gave me a look like I had just asked for one of his kidneys, then whirled away in a cloud of dust.

That’s okay. If my carpet was clean, it would probably fall apart.

Well, That Sucks


Kearns, United States

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Artist's Description

A battle of the wits with a vacuum salesman. There are no winners.

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  • Perilynn
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