Tactics to fight a hard-sell

Any stories on how you’ve dealt with hard sells and aggressive marketing. Things like time shares?

More specifically, a Kirby salesman has offered to clean our carpet for free, with no obligation on Sunday. Fine by me, although we have no intention of buying such an expensive vacuum. It’s not like I’m giving him the wrong idea or deceive him to get something for nothing, he said “no obligation” and I’m taking it at face value.

I assume I’ll get the full-on hard sell once he’s done. I guess I try to be too polite or non-confrontational, but what are some ways to quickly get it over with?

Normally you walk out … which will be difficult to do in your own home.

I’m surprised you think a carpet clean is worth hours of hard-selling.

Indeed. Just tell him not to come over.

Hours?!? Will it really get to that?

I wouldn’t let a salesman into my house. When you go to them, you can leave. When one’s in your house you can’t exactly pick him up and carry him outside if he’s too pushy. How big a deal is it to vacuum your own carpet, anyway?

Oh, I’m pretty sure I can. Generally give folks the option to walk out first, though. :smiley:

And for the OP, somewhere in the archives are a couple of highly entertaining threads about the effective use of large double ended dildos to repel intruders. I think the ice blue variety was the concensus choice…

A couple of years ago I was in a market that had a box set up in the front of it. A local company was having a drawing for new windows. Why not? I filled out the card and dropped it in the box. Well, I didn’t win the windows, but I did get a sales call. After telling them uncounted times that I wasn’t interested in buying windows and that I only filled out the card on the chance that I might win a local drawing, the woman said something like ‘I understand. Which day would be better for you for our representative to come out?’ Fine. Make it Friday. Only make it clear to him that he will not be allowed in the house. He’ll have to measure from the outside. The guy showed up (late) and tried every ploy to get inside. I told him that I wasn’t going to let him inside the house. ‘Those are the rules.’ He made his measurements, gave his sales presentation (which included demonstrating how strong the windows were, ensuring me that they won’t break – his sample did), and wrote an estimate. I think the whole spiel too over an hour.

The thing about the Hard Sell is that they’re prepared to spend a lot of time wearing you down. And I agree that if you let him inside he’ll be hard to budge. Better to vacuum your own carpet.

No is a complete sentence. Call him now and cancel the appointment.


It ain’t free. Your obligation is to listen to his spiel. It would be too rich for my blood.

(We got one of these guys at the door once. I swung the door wide to show him our bare plywood floors, and he said “Sorry to bother you” and left. :smiley: )

Just politely ask him to leave. If he protests tell him you are under no obligation to buy OR listen to his sales pitch.

If he gives you any guff, call the police. NOT 911, call the non-emergency business number, explain that there is a visitor who won’t leave, and ask whether this is a serious enough a ploblem that you should actually dial 911 and have a couple of cops over.

By the time you’re halfway through this conversation, the guy will be out the door.

You need to wait until the carpets are clean, then plead insanity. Offer him goldfish on toast. After he’s done, lick the plates clean and put them back in the cupboard. Repeatedly yell angrily at the attic entrance. Make sure you very carefully sniff the carpet he just cleaned. Then drag your butt on the carpet and ask him to clean it again.

I agree with Trisk, asking which part of “NO” is not understood usually works, especially if you have a chainsaw in your hands and explain that your doctor says if you take your meds on time there is very little chance you will kill again.
Then ask what time it is.

You do know he is just going to demonstrate on just one spot, right? I seriously doubt he will even vacuum even one whole room. No way is that worth a sales pitch.

Don’t let them through the door. Say no.

“NO” works. And don’t be surprised if he throws a guilt trip on you if you do cancel the demonstration. I almost got sucked into selling Kirbys once. After I came to my senses, returned the demonstrator and asked for a receipt for the return of said demonstrator, he chose to go into a 15 minute spiel of “Why don’t you trust me? Have I done something to you that you don’t trust me?” He even played on the fact that we went to the same high school (in vastly separated years). It almost came to physical confrontation as he escalated into variants of “Are you calling me a cheat?”

Best suggestion: call him, cancel, and hang up. You do not owe him an explanation. There is no reason to stay on the phone any longer than it takes to tell him what you need to tell him.

Many years ago, my husband was bamboozled into agreeing to a “two-room-and-hallway” carpet cleaning for $19.95. I knew it was a bad idea, but he made the appointment, then told me what day I had to be there. The guy showed up and immediately tried to sell me all kinds of spot cleanings and stain-resistant treatments. When I protested that I couldn’t afford what he was proposing, he asked “Well, how much can you afford?” :eek:

He filled his “steam cleaner” with hot water from our bathtub, but the unit didn’t keep the water hot. He ran the thing over the traffic areas only, and either the extractor didn’t work, or he decided he’d get even with me by not using it. When I finally got him out of there, my carpets were cold and squishy. I had to leave the place open and turn on the ceiling fans to dry it out. Luckily, it was in FL and it was warm enough that it dried in a couple of days. :rolleyes:

When my inlaws got the same offer on the phone and made the appointment, we told them our tale and they, wisely, canceled.

Since then, we’ve been pretty lucky. The only in-house sales guys we’ve had were the ones we called for replacement window estimates, and the only one of those who was a pain was the guy who insisted that we both be here. Apparently, the woman of the house cannot be trusted to make such decisions without her man there. Like I was going to spend $10K for 7 windows and one patio door… :rolleyes:

Anyway, the best approach is to keep them all out of your house. Period.

This part is unfortunately true.

My wife was naive enough to believe that “the cleaning is free - no sales pitch!” They did part of one traffic area, very slowly, and did the ultra-high pressure sell while it was being done and drying. I got home in the middle, and began repeating “we aren’t really interested - we just wanted the free cleaning” over and over - and over.

“What will it take to sell one TODAY?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

“What if I cut the payments in half?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

“How much do you spend on cleaning your carpet over the years?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

“But how much do you spend?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

After about twenty minutes of this, the sales supervisor showed up at the door “to pick up the equipment”. He sat down, uninvited, at the table and began the sales pitch again.

“What do you like best about the vacuum? Is it the financing?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

“How much did your old vacuum cleaner cost you?”

“We aren’t really interested.”

“If you WERE going to buy, what payments would sound fair to you?”

By now, the equipment was all packed up, and the other salesman (there were three of them) also sat down at the table. I stood up, and said, “We’re done here. Leave now.”

“But I don’t understand what the issue is here. Are the payments too high?”

I stepped close to the supervisor, put my face quite close to his, and said, “Leave now.”

“Can’t you help me out here a little?”

No answer.

They began filing out the door. One of them asked if he could leave a card. I said No.


The number one rule in life is;

If you play, you will pay.
You think this is a good deal as you’ll get your carpet cleaned for free!
He thinks it’s a good deal as he might sell a vacuum.

You’re both incorrect. And you’re both going to have to pay for playing the game.

He’s going to pay by cleaning a couple of square feet of carpet and making no sale.

And you’re going to pay by having to listen to a hard, hard sell for longer than you care to.

In the end, it won’t be worth it for either of you.

Thanks for playing, have a great day!

Years ago, I found that a (or an apparently) loaded sidearm on your hip does tend to insert unease into unintended/uninited visitors. But that was years ago, that was in Arizona, and my girlfriend might read this post. . . so needless to say, I don’t do that anymore. :wink:

And a few of you have met me. I can be imposing and even intimidating when I need to be (at few, select times) but rarely am. But I do tend to exude a “no bullshit” attitude that salesfolk coming to my door rarely violate. It used to be the telemarketers that didn’t get that . . . thus wasting my time.

Yeah, I haven’t gotten a hard-sell act in years. I think they all know I’m not worth their time.

Here’s what’ll happen in the “demonstration.” He’ll vacuum a large area with your vacuum. Then he’ll show you that the demonstrator model is completely empty and clean (and that’s important, as I’ll show you later.) He’ll then re-vacuum the same area with the demonstrator model, then open the bag and show you how much new stuff he’s picked up. What you then do is empty your vacuum cleaner, clean the filter as best you can and go over the area again – I promise, you’ll pick up even more dirt.

Why? In the first place, vacuum cleaners suck up the easiest-to-lift stuff first. The vibratiion of the brushes dislodges dirt, but as much of it goes down as goes up. No matter how much you vacuum, you will always be able to pick up more dirt.

Second, the salesman’s demonstrator will have a clean bag and filter, which will make it more efficient than your dirt-filled vacuum (the salesman counts on most households having a vacuum cleaner that hasn’t been recently cleaned out.) So naturally, his vacuum will pick up dirt yours left behind. That’s why, if you clean yours thoroughly, that will make it more efficient that it was, and it will pick up more of the dirt that’s available.

Now go, use this information for good and not evil.