C.H. wrote about working for Kirby Vacuum

More mail about Kirby Vacuum sales. You may wish to read the Introduction to Kirby sales, Kirby Mail and the first batch of Kirby Salesperson Complaints

On October 7, 2009 C.H. wrote to tell me about his experience interviewing for a job with Kirby Vacuum Cleaners. I get many letters like this every year, but Chet's was the most detailed. He is from Montana:

Here is the job I found in the Bozeman Chronicle.  Sounds pretty good right?

Company information:

Location: MT-Butte/Bozeman
Job Details
Job title: General

$2,000.00/month base pay. Big Sky Distributing seeking responsible individuals to start work immediately due to company growth and factory outlet expansion. Corporate training provided. Must be friendly and good with people. Customer Service background a plus. Call 406-388-6500.

Okay, I admit, I knew it sounded too good to be true but I have a extensive customer service background and with a $2000.00/month base pay what could go wrong?  This is what:

I live in Bozeman and the company was in Belgrade.  No big deal for a good job though.  For the pay I figured I could afford the gas.  I called and was told they were doing interviews that day.  How lucky is that?  I was in their office within 2 hours.  I filled out a pretty ghetto looking application and turned in my resume, but continued on.  In the interview I was asked some very basic questions and told that with my experience I should consider their manager program in the future bumping my base pay to $2800  or more.  Then I was asked if I heard of Kirby and I said there was some name recognition for vacuums.  The interviewer then explained about complicated mergers etc. that allowed for company growth with various companies like Kirby.

So far so good.  Then the interview was over. That was it.  Hmmm.  A little hinky.  I was told I would be called in a few hours while my references were checked and the main boss was consulted.  So I did a brief check online.  Nothing on ripoff report.  Good.  One unresolved complaint with the BBB.  Okay doable for a company that's been around since 2006.  Then I got a call to start work at 12pm the next day.  Wow. Great news in a bad economy and I really needed a job.

I've just done my 4-5 hours of "training."  The job is door-to-door Kirby vacuum sales.  I was told it was my first day and was getting paid as per the sign up sheet.  No W-2, No ID needed.  Hmmm.  Looking more hinky.  To make it short,  I listened to transparent lies and misleading statements for 4 hours, asked many questions and was told it would be explained later.  Things like: Are we cold calling customers, what are the safety factors considering this line of work is considered the most dangerous in America (suprisingly, but google it), Will we make our base pay no matter what or is it commission.  I was blown off with the other 10 people there, at one point calling my questions ridiculous.

Here are the facts:  It is just like every other Kirby distributor. 

  • A team of 5-7 people go door to door trying to sell Kirbys.
  • To get paid the $2000 in a month you must get 60 people to let you in to their home to do a full demo taking anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours in that 30 days.  Incomplete demos do not count.
  • Training is not paid but the 30 day countdown starts the first day of training.  You are not selling during training.
  • You are given a form to turn in listing 10 friends and family to "practice on."
  • You get zero dollars if you don't make sixty demos.
  • You can make more if your commission on sold units is more than $2000.
  • You are independent therefore self-employed.  No taxes out, No benefits, No rights as an employee, etc.
  • You can recruit "buddys" and in the classic pyramid scheme fashion, get a cut of their sales.  And on and on.
  • But remember you get nothing no matter what until you have secured 60 appointments in a month by showing up at peoples doors and completing the 1.5-3 hour sales pitch.
Just google Kirby and you can find out so much more.  BTW:  The vacuum costs $2300

None of this was revealed, there were many misleading statements, even outright lies, and questions were blown off and ridiculed.  There is no base pay.  Just a product like so many other scams that if you are unwilling or unable to in turn scam others then you get paid nothing for a month of work.  Remember you are self employed.  So messed up.  Why is this type of thing not illegal?

Oh well, live and learn.  I guess I only lost some gas and day of job hunting.  I just hope I can save the trouble for someone else who is looking for a job in the Chronicle.  This is a good one to skip.  And to Big Sky Distributing:  Shame on You.

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October 10, 2009.  

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