He didn’t have me at “hello.” He did have me at the brightly colored, multicolored duster brush, though.

Yep, that door-to-door salesman was smart. Instead of counting on his actual product to get him through the door, he offered me a free duster brush that was striped with fluorescent colors of pink, blue, purple and green if I let him demonstrate his product —and I could keep that brush regardless of whether I purchased his product. I couldn’t pass that up.

As it turns out, I also couldn’t pass up his product — a Kirby vacuum cleaner.

Before I go any further, I want to lay out a disclaimer that I am not in any way affiliated with the Kirby company. In other words, I’m not trying to sell you anything. Rather, this column is about the kindness of a stranger.

So, back to the vacuum cleaner. If you’ve heard anything about Kirby vacuums, you’ve heard — correctly — that they’re expensive. And when that salesman with the brightly colored, multicolored duster brush knocked on my door, we didn’t even have wall-to-wall carpeting; we just had a few area rugs. Still, my husband and I were impressed with how well it worked, and my husband was particularly impressed with how well it was made — so we sucked it up (pun intended) and bought it.

If you’ve heard anything else about Kirby vacuums, you’ve also heard — correctly — that they’re very good. We purchased that vacuum cleaner in 1991, and it is still in use. (When figuring out the cost per year, it has been a sound investment.)

Recently, though, that vacuum had been sounding and acting tired. Finally, it just stopped having any suction at all.

I thought about having it repaired, but it is 30 years old after all. A new vacuum seemed like a better expenditure. And I knew that I wanted another Kirby.

The thing about Kirby vacuums is that there seems to be a little haggling room in the price, so I called several distributors within a rather large radius, including surrounding states, because there aren’t many close by.

Some salespeople think hard-sell tactics will close the deal, but that kind of pressure puts me off. In contrast, one shop owner, when he heard that my vacuum had no suction, asked if the machine was nearby — he wanted me to turn it on so he could listen to it over the phone and try to diagnose the problem. I was skeptical, but in fact he guessed immediately that I had a cracked fill tube; and when I checked, he was correct.

The suction was still an issue, though, so he suggested removing a part to check for blockage. I couldn’t get the part off immediately and planned to have my husband do it when he came in. He gave me his cellphone number so that my husband could call if he, too, had problems.

After saying goodbye, I did manage to get the part off myself — and he was correct that there was a blockage. Later that day, he called back to check on my progress.

In case it’s escaped your attention, I called this guy because I was in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. He tele-diagnosed his way out of a potential purchase.

I’m not sure how much longer my vacuum will last. Nothing lasts forever, so I’ll certainly need a new one at some point. And I know from whom I will purchase it … even though he didn’t offer me a brightly colored, multicolored duster brush.

Readers may contact Sybrant at svsybrant@gmail.com or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, Nebraska 68714.

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