ED Magedson – Founder
Kirby Vaccums/KRM VenturesN/A Foster City, California United States of America
This is somewhat of a lengthy report, but the content is important so please bear with me.
I was 19 years young and newly umemployed after my automotive sales job was terminated due to company downsizing. Given the fact that I only knew how to sell, I was determined to get back into the sales business as soon as possible. I applied at a couple of different dealerships, but due to the downturn in the economy and the automobile industry as a whole, I was forced to look elsewhere within the field. Scanning the newspaper one morning, I came across an ad. The headline; 15-25 Men and Women needed for upstart sales company. Make big $$$. Must be a little bit crazy! (I'm paraphrasing). The ad looked like a complete and total joke, but being curious by nature, I decided to give them a call. The young woman I spoke with actually seemed very professional and not one bit crazy. Although her attitude was pleasant and professional, the information she gave me was very vague. I'd ask what the job consisted of, and she'd say sales. I'd ask what kind of sales, and she'd say she had to explain it in person. So i took the bait. She quickly scheduled me for an "interview" the following day at her "corporate office" (which looked more like a storage locker meets a rundown free clinic). I was handed an application clipped to a clipboard and told to fill it out. Funny thing was, this application didn't ask for any real substantive information. My name, address and phone number; that was all they wanted. No social, previous work references, emergency numbers or anything of that nature was ever requested. Sitting in the "lobby" with five other candidates, I started to wonder how legit this opportunity actually was. At one point, I even considered getting up and leaving, but again, my curiousity got the best of me and I stayed. What a mistake.
My "interview" was the phoniest piece of crap I've ever had the misfortune of attending. I came in with my application, which was tossed to the side without a single glance. She asked me if I was 18 or older. I said yes. She asked me if I'd like to be a manager. I was like, wtf? But i said yes. She asked me if I could start traning tomorrow. I said...sure, why not? And so it began.
(Keep in mind that I still had no idea what I'd be doing or selling, although not insisting upon additional information is partially my fault)
I showed up for training the next morning, dressed to impress, with a positive attitude and a will to learn. But just like the interviewing process, the training looked like yet another wtf? situation. About 20 or so employees were grouped into a room with a wide screen tv playing the movie "Office Space" (I later realized that they play this movie intentionally to shine a negative light on "normal" jobs ie legit jobs that actually pay you the way the say they will and give you workable hours) Looking back, i'm half tempted to beat my head against the wall profusely for being so stupid and naive.
Our first day of training would finally reveal what everyone had so desperately wanted to know; what the heck were we selling!? The answer came in the form of a vaccum, a very complicated vaccum, a vaccum that looked more like military grade weaponry than any cleaning machine you'd buy at Sears. The latter portion of day one was spent lambasting every other "cleaning machine" on the planet. A show of hands for every pathetic soul who'd ever purchased a Hover also revealed that most people had never even heard of this new fangled "super vaccum", let alone owned or operated one.
Day two followed suit with day one. More training with the Kirby, more bashing other products, yada yada yada. By day three, though, people started getting antsy. What about our pay plan? When do we give out our socials? Do we get health insurance? How much does this job actually pay? Enter, the Kirby Pay Plan (explained below):
So here is it. You (the employee) are GUARANTEED $2000 a month by the Kirby company. This is reiterated time and again both in the interviewing process and during traning. You're told up and down that Kirby isn't MLM (multi level marketing) and that a guaranteed pay plan is what seperates Kirby from MLM "scams". However, when you read between the lines, you come to find that every Kirby employee is an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. Therefore, you are paid ENTIRELY ON COMMISSION and guaranteed nothing. To make matters worse, their promise of a 40 hour work week is an absolute LIE. So how do they get around it? Simple: Say you sell one vaccumm a day for the absolute base cost (common cost). That means that you make about 80 dollars a day. Times that by 25 days, and that's 2000 dollars. Ergo, guarantee.
If you're shaking your head, so was I. I asked how they could guarantee me a sale a day. My question was shoved to the side. I later asked again and was simply told; "Trust me, you'll sell them."
Training was over and it was time to sell! As per contract, we were paired off into "sales teams." There were 10 teams in all, with 5 or 6 individuals per team. So where would we be going to sell? A designated store? A factory? Maybe a call center?Against my better judgement, I hopped into a utility van, no windows, with five other indivduals ranging in age from just barely 18 to 39. Our driver/manager/team leader was only 20, yet two of his sales people were pushing 40. One thing you're guaranteed with Kirby are lots of wtf? moments and situations. I asked one of my team members what we'd be doing and he informed me that Kirby was a door to door sales operation. Just great, I thought. Just freaking great. To make matters worse, we weren't even selling in our own neighborhood! We drove for what seemed like an eternity until we finally got to the central valley, a good two hours from the corporate office! (and two and a half hours from my home). Our "work day" started at 9:30am, but by the time we even got to our canvasing location, it was after noon. Being a new recruit, I was paired off with a veteran team member and taught the ropes. We walked for hours and hours, went door to door to door and were met with nothing but anger and disrespect from our potential "clients." Several hours and a million homes later, we finally got somebody to let us in. They, however, were very hostile and treated us poorly. We gave a full demonstration, which consisted of lifting the vaccum, taking it apart, putting it back together, cleaning the floors and bedrooms with it, etc etc. By the time our demo was done it was 6:30 in the evening, and we were asked to leave. So much for that one vaccum a day they promised us we'd sell. Oh well, that's life. It'd been a long day. I was ready to go home. But...no dice. "We can't stop now" said "Z", my trainer. And so we didn't for another serveral hours we canvased the neighborhood. No food breaks, no restroom breaks, NOTHING! I was tired, hungry and stranded in the middle of the central valley, an area I knew nothing about and nobody in. I was at the mercy of my trainer, who insisted me carry on. 10pm came and went and by then I was exhausted beyond measure. The clock struck midnight before "Z" finally gave up and called for our ride. We made it back to the West Bay at 2 something in the morning, a good twenty hours after I'd woken up to be at work the previous day, without a single sale. I was informed that I'd made no money for that day and that if I didn't sell a vaccum a day in the coming days I'd be terminated from the team.
Suffice it to say, I hated every minute with that company and prompty quit within my first week.
I would never recommend this experience to anybody. Most of the "Kirby Salesman" are ex cons and drug users with no lives who are forced into this line of work due to a lack of options. And once you're in, depending on your team, it's like being in a cult. You must devote your entire life and a minimum of 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, to selling vaccums in strange neighborhoods, often going days without making a single dime.
NONE OF THIS WOULD BE AN ISSUE IF THEY WERE COMPLETELY HONEST UP FRONT! But the fact of the matter is, they sell you a 40 hour a week pay plan with a two thousand dollar guarantee and tell you nothing about long distance travel and door to door sales until it's too late and you're in the van!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/02/2010 04:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Kirby-VaccumsKRM-Ventures/Foster-City-California-94404/Kirby-VaccumsKRM-Ventures-KRM-Ventures-The-Kirby-Company-Kirby-Sales-KIRBY-USES-MISLEA-576955. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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