What happens when a vacuum salesman knocks on the door? I purchase a new vacuum! It's an old-fashioned American tradition, the vacuum salesman. Right next to used car salesmen - but here's the thing. Sales is not a sin. Salesmen are not doing a bad thing. Salesmen can be negotiated with and an arrangement can be made that is mutually adventitious. And that's what happened today.
A vacuum that is sold door-to-door is going to be a very expensive vacuum. Kirbys usually start around $2K and up from there, depending on the accessories.
It's a nice vacuum, but more then that it's a nice tool to keep our home clean. We are CONSTANTLY cleaning, and our floor in particular. What convinced me was just how much dust and dirt was sucked up from the carpets and cold-air return vents... and even our bed! I realized that our current vacuum wasn't really doing the job. And my son's allergies have been very bad - these are all reasons I wanted to up our cleaning routine.
I Want It, How Can I Pay?
The best part was when it was time to talk price - the salesmen were demonstrating this product for over an hour, cleaning this, cleaning that. It seemed as if half our home was being cleaned for free by these guys!
He finally gave us the price, handwritten on a yellow sheet of paper. It was outrageously expensive (as expected).
I looked at him intensely and ask, with complete sincerity "do you take crypto?" He looked confused. I knew he didn't really know what I meant. After thinking about it a while he said "You mean bitcoin? No, not really."
"Do accept silver for payment?" He looked even more confused. I asked "can you ask your boss if he could reduce the price if I offered some silver rounds?"
Being an accommodating person, he got on the phone and asked his boss if they would accept crypto, didn't bother asking about silver. I could tell he was uncomfortable asking because he already knew they only accepted cash, but he felt it was important to call and ask anyway. Just as I felt it was important to ask if they accepted anything other than financing or fiat.
Talking with his "boss" on the phone, he looked at me and asked "Are you offering us FTX?" I knew that was a joke and a slight. I laughed and said, "No, I don't have FTX, but I can offer Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash." He asked "Can you exchange the crypto for money and pay with a credit card?" Well ok then, I see that you are not interested. If you don't understand that crypto is money, then you don't understand crypto.
I said I would have to go into my office and negotiate with my budget to see if I could make it work. While I appreciated all the discounts he was offering me, it was still way outside of what I would expect to pay for a vacuum. Even a high quality vacuum.
I came out with some cash and a handful of 1 oz silver rounds. I was literally clinking the six silver rounds together as I made my offer. The cash and the silver.
The Attraction of Silver
He thought about it and said he said he couldn't take the silver, but the cash was good for a down payment and he could offer me a six month interest-free financing.
One of the salesmen kept eyeing that stack of silver and he quietly asked if he could get a closer look. He held it in his hand and admired it. He began asking me questions about it, complimenting the sound it makes when the clink together and how heavy it was. I think it was the first time he held a silver round in his hand. I told him he could visit any pawn shop and exchange it for cash, but don't do it now since given "spot prices" they would under pay for it. But one day, maybe soon, one silver round may be worth a whole lot of over-priced vacuums.
The other salesman who was on the phone asked if I could afford minimum monthly payments if they were interest free. I told him the best monthly payment I could reasonably afford and we worked out a deal. It was a pretty low-ball figure and I assumed this was the end of the sales presentation. I kept clinking the silver coins together almost jokingly. Almost. A fist-full of silver looks, sounds and feels valuable... because it is! It's just (supposedly) a lot less valuable than the vacuum they were offering me.
Is It Over?
I was really expecting them to pack up the vacuum and head for the door at this point. I began to feel sorry for them, that they wasted their time and that they had cleaned half my house for nothing! But I made my offer and that was that. He hesitated and looked at the floor for what seemed like forever. Then he looked up and shook my hand. We had reached a deal that worked for both of us.
I filled out the forms for the financing. I was instructed to keep quiet about the price (that's why I'm not mentioning it here), but I know they're still doing ok.
I handed the two sales men one silver round each and told them how much I appreciated their time and effort demonstrating the vacuum. I could at least pay them for their time cleaning my house. They were in shock! How often are salespeople gifted silver rounds for knocking on a stranger's door? But hey, if you clean my house and accommodate my budget for a high-quality (formerly overpriced) vacuum, you've earned some shiny shiny!
I was happy that we reached an agreement and our family became owners of an American made high-end Kirby vacuum cleaner and shampoo'er.
I'll talk some more about what I learned about bartering in another post.
Bless the Most High!
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