The 10 Lies A Door-to-Door Alarm Salesman Tells

Taylor sells home alarm systems door-to-door, and he is the devil, lying, manipulating, and preying on customer’s fears push a product. Now he has stepped forward to confess/brag about his sins:

I lie. I lie to people a lot about their home safety. And I don’t feel particularly good about it, but when my iPhone buzzes in my pocket, I forget the lies I’ve told and think of the MacBook Air that just shipped to my house.

I sell home security systems for a living and I only work the three summer months of the year, and maybe four or five weeks the rest of the year. What I fail to mention is that my bank account regularly has 6 digits. All because I lie to people for a living….

The ten lies he tells, inside…

1: “I am a marketing Rep from (insert alarm company here) and am just doing some marketing in your neighborhood today.”

Don’t believe a word of what I am saying. I am a high pressure sales rep that is focused on making as much money off of your insecurities as I can. Granted, I don’t tell myself that every morning while shaving, but when the chips are down, thats what I will tell you. I use the marketing line to come off as inexperienced and even non-intrusive. People find the word sales as dirty, so I don’t use it. I use softer words to assure people that I am not taking their money and I don’t even really care if they help me. But inside I know that if someone lets their guard down for even just a second, I will make the sale and have another commission.

2: “I’m just in the neighborhood talking to a couple of particular families in the area, seeing if they will help (alarm company) market their new product line thats just come out.”

I don’t believe you are smart enough to figure it out, so I keep feeding you what you want. I’m not interested in two or three families on your street. I am interested in getting every person in a 50 mile radius to buy my product, because I like money. I’m not looking at special cases that will help market my product. I am interested in forcibly getting you to sign a contract that binds you for three to five years and pays my bills for a while. And the product isn’t so new and improved. Its been on the market for years now. Don’t let me tell you that this stuff just came out and we are trying to get a couple of families to use it and try it out because we just want to push product. Simple as that.

3: “What we do is give families this free equipment to put in their home, and all we ask is they put our little sign out in front of their yard. Thats it. That way, our sales department can have some product in the area to point to as examples. We are willing to take the hit, if you are willing to help us out.”

Sure you don’t pay for any equipment put into your home, but really do you think we would just give you this stuff for free? I have all the placards to show you how each piece of equipment is close to two hundred dollars, and that is cost we as a company are willing to swallow. What I don’t tell you is I pay minimum manufacturing price for each piece of equipment I sell. So really, all those things I say we are willing to “take the hit” for, don’t cost anything. I am just telling you this to make you feel like you are beating the system. And you suckers think you are getting a deal, yet you never really do.

4: “All this equipment will cover your home and give you an extra sense of security in this area. Now, this area isn’t a bad area at all, but there have been a few reports in the news of some home invasions recently.”

Doesn’t “invasion” make you think of the Germans storming into Poland? I love using the word “invasion” and watching people light up with emotion. And these two or three articles that I am showing you? Just random articles with a bit of Photoshop work and you are all of a sudden suffering from major home invasions in Podunk, Iowa. I change the name of the city, paper, and maybe other small details and that is it. You are starting to believe me, aren’t you? Now, I’ve got you emotionally charged up and I give your home the walkthrough.

5: “These windows here in the back of your house are big security threats because of (insert general safety tip). In fact, in this recent break in, the article cited the back windows as the point of entry for the prowler.”

I am working you into an emotional frenzy. I went directly to the back windows and doors without you even asking me to come in. Don’t ever let me do that again. You don’t even know me, yet you are willing to let me into your house and all the way to the back door? And the back windows aren’t that big of a deal. You have no idea how people break into houses, but you are willing to believe me, because hey, its my job right? Actually I don’t know any more than you do. I just sound a bit more knowledgeable than others, and have this great system just waiting to be inserted into your house.

6: “So let’s sit down here and go through the equipment you selected to cover your less secure areas. Now all we need to get this equipment released to you is to make sure you are the homeowner. We have had problems with (random lie concerning equipment and ebay). I will just call this in and we can get this taken care of.”

I am running a credit check. Right now because you have given me your birthday and or social security number, I have the power to check your credit and see if you are eligible to make the monthly payments. I don’t tell you this because you don’t know who I am calling, giving all this information to, you don’t know who I am, checking your credit, you don’t know me at all. Don’t give me your information like we are long lost brothers just making sure we found each other. I am praying to the credit gods that you are worthy to be swindled. And in two seconds, presto. You are.

7: “In the event your security system ever really does go off or even needs to be serviced, we ask that you have a personal password that we can verify with you. That and some emergency contacts if we can’t reach you. Just fill these out right here and we can release the equipment to you.”

I am diverting your attention so I can fill out the contract. Or “terms of agreement,” as I will call it in a second. Its the age old trick of diverting someone’s attention from the important so they won’t be shocked by it. And you are doing it!!! I’m filling out terms and conditions, signing everything now, so when I give you this paper and the pen, you will skim it, not really care, and sign. Because its important.

8: “Now that we have that emergency contact information, lets go over the terms of our agreement. You remember I said earlier that all you needed to do was to put the sign out in your front yard and you could be given the equipment? Well that’s all this says. You are qualified and willing to meet these terms to have the sign in your yard and have the equipment in your house.”

It’s just the terms of the agreement. Just like I said. If you start to look at the monthly costs of this alarm system I will go directly back to lies number 4 and 5 and work you into your emotional state again. After that, the monthly costs don’t look so bad now do they? Yes, they do. It’s still money out of your pocket. YOU ARE NOT GETTING THIS STUFF FOR FREE!!!! You are going to give me your credit card number in a second so that I can process this transaction and start you down the path of constant payments.

9: “I am just going to make one phone call to our corporate office so that we can get this all set up. (At a certain point in the phone call, Corporate asks how the customer is going to pay for the initial transaction, which is taken out immediately. I look up from the phone and politely say) They are asking for a credit card number to be placed on file so we can have a record of me being here and completing this agreement. What card were you going to use for that?”

Yeah, I knew about this part earlier. You don’t want me to hang up with busy corporate though, do you? They are right here on the phone, it’s really easy to just give them the number over the phone. If you are really hung up on it, I will talk you into your emotional frenzy again and then maybe even become a bit combative as I accuse you of breaking our trust that we had just moments ago. Hopefully it won’t get to the point where I have to tell you, don’t worry about the cost, its not even a price that is established by us. Some mysterious company decides the prices for every neighborhood. That’s completely false and misleading, yet still works 85 percent of the time.

10: “We have technicians in the area that are following us around and at no extra charge to you, installing each home security system we give away. Its a service from our company that lets you guys get to know the technicians in your area a bit more and you can know your system is being properly installed.”

These guys are just college kids like myself, with minimal training by some country bumpkin who once ran his own phone lines in his house, so he is qualified to train on home security. Hopefully they can put your alarm system in today, so that when you start to get buyers remorse, you will already have the holes in your walls. Holes in walls can squash any thoughts of remorse real quickly. And hey, you don’t have to pay for these guys to come in and professionally install it, so its not that big of a deal! Just watch out when they take four or five hours to install this system and then have to come back to fix it because they just wanted to leave.

The ten lies I tell people, preying on their fear, and insecurities. And I feel no remorse.

The moral of this story? Shut the door on door-to-door salesmen. (Except for Girl Scouts, of course. Thin Mints are essential to a balanced diet.) Let’s hope this story is Lie Number 11, and Taylor’s just trying to scare us into being careful. But just in case, I’m keeping holy water by the front door.

(photo: dyanna)


Edit Your Comment

  1. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Well you obviously feel some remorse (or I believe from Psych 101 the correct term is cognitive dissonance) or you wouldn’t be posting this stuff on Consumerist. So now we all know if a door-to-door alarm system salesperson comes to our door to print these out and hand it to them.

  2. Dervish says:

    I feel bad about lying, but thinking about all the THINGS I own makes it better!!

  3. gmss0205 says:

    It’s very simple – never let a door to door salesman into your house and you have nothing to worry about.

  4. noquarter says:

    Regarding #6, isn’t permission needed before a credit check can be run?

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @stanfrombrooklyn: Or, you know, a disgruntled customer posing as a sales rep in order to get out the word on the ten ways he feels like he was lied to. It doesn’t change the fact that you need to be aware of the ten-part scam, just that we don’t have to suspend disbelief so far as to think the leopard changed his spots… or his predatory nature.

  6. Jim says:

    Any security system worth a darn would have electrocuted you in my driveway. Got anything that does that?

  7. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Holy water? I’m sticking to the shotgun.

  8. gamin says:

    Wow, I had a complete opposite experience with an alarm salesman, for example #6 and #8 the guy actually said that they were going to run ac redit check to see if I can afford the monthly payments. I guess it all depends on the salesman and the neighborhood

  9. Aladdyn says:

    So hes got a 6 figure bank account from this and only has to work four months a year and hes telling the world about his scam? Smells fishy.

  10. Illusio26 says:

    I actually had some guy try to pull this on me at my first house. I was working in the front yard and he came up to me with his little sign saying he wanted to put it in the yard for advertising and such. Just like the OP said. Once the conversation started gearing toward installing equipment and such and fees, I told him I was going inside to watch the Bears game. If he wants to plot his little sign down, to have at it. And I went in and shut the door.

    Never left his sign, never saw him again.

  11. billbillbillbill says:

    This is really big at the college I went to. All these companies try to lure college kids into selling pest control or security systems door to door. They wow them with big commissions. My friend spent a summer in Cleveland and had little to no success. I think it was because he wasn’t a scumbag salesman and wasn’t going to deceive people.

  12. valarmorghulis says:

    @noquarter: as much as honesty is needed to build trust

  13. bobblack555 says:

    Wow what an asshole!

  14. rochec says:

    Sad that most people are so stupid.

    Letting a door to door salesman into your home is just stupid, for all reasons. Find and research a product you are in need of, some guy showing up at your door doesn’t mean you need it. If anyone tried the credit card BS I’d throw them out of my house and if he tried to insinuate he had built some sort of trust with me, I’d punch him in the head.

    Having worked in sales for a short period I came to realize the only skillful art in sales is finding the dumbest person you can and tricking them. It’s a disgusting business. I had an interview once for an ‘advertising’ company that basically kicked off the 2nd interview with a course on how to lie. Anything from circling items in a flyer like another customer had done it previously or yanking the information out of their hands when they seemed uncertain. It took me about 5 minutes to walk out.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    You remember I said earlier that all you needed to do was to put the sign out in your front yard and you could be given the equipment?

    That’s the tip-off! You don’t want the equipment, you want the SIGN! Offer the dude $20 for the sign and if he balks, kick him to the curb.

  16. AdmiralApathy says:

    I feel that I want to vomit right now.

    “I rape people of their hard earned money, but I have nice toys.”

    I hope those toys help you sleep at night.

  17. Wormfather says:

    Am a bad person becuase I think that
    3 weeks of work for lots of $$$$ > My soul?

    I’ve been in this cubicle way too long.

  18. sleze69 says:

    I take great exception to the line about Girl Scouts. I hate their cookies.

  19. beavis88 says:

    Tell you what – I’ll let you put your little sign in my front yard for free. Just go away and don’t talk to me – believe me, I will show no remorse in telling you to get the fuck off my property.

  20. gamin says:

    @rochec: yeah I remeber in college I wnet to a company that sells knifes (cutco I think was the name) they give you “tips” on how to introduce yourself and B.S ing a mark (yes they guy use the word mark) pretty shady

  21. petrarch1608 says:

    this reminds me of that expose Consumerist did a year or two ago where they joined a door to door sales force. I wish consumerist did more investigative journalism like that.

  22. henwy says:

    If people are stupid enough to pass over their money….Hey, let the punishment fit the crime.

  23. IrisMR says:

    He’s an asshole and I absolutely respect that.

    People are tool. They are easy to manipulate, especially if you wave safety in their faces.

    Now, is he married or in a relationship? I have some money to suck up for gadgets.

  24. Peeved Guy says:

    I’m sorry, but this is idiotic.

    I am usually the first person to point out Joe Sixpack’s stupidity and gullibility, but do you really expect me to believe that you are a good enough “salesman” to get them to sign a contract and not know that there will be a monthly charge? Seriously?

    When we bought our alarm system (from a door to door salesman, thank you), we had already made the decision to purchase one, so we just waited for them to swing by our neighborhood and offer the free equipment deal. SO I see #3 as being most ludicrous of the list. How exactly did I get swindled if you gave me free shit?

  25. ret3 says:

    Do girl scouts even go door-to-door anymore? The only ones I’ve seen are staking out the entrances to WalMart and such.

  26. rochec says:


    Ya, they also used the term mark. It was a company that shills office supplies to businesses. Basically a stables for companies. After someone suggested circling items on their flyers, someone else chimed in and said circle the expensive ones. Would anyone really ever look at was supposed to be a ‘used’ flyer and think “oh someone else wanted that, I’ll get it too!”. Fuck, I certainly hope not.

  27. sgodun says:

    My wife and I just invited Brinks and Slomans in to see what an alarm would cost. The Slomans guy was VERY pushy, didn’t want to leave until we had committed to him. That alone was enough for us to not go with them.

  28. rawsteak says:

    so if we dont do the things we wrote about, do you think he’ll know we read this column? or maybe he’s just tired of scamming people so easily and wants a challenge.

    “you can’t come in here. i know about your kind!”
    “hmmm, this guy is a cynic… time to really go to work!”

  29. BlondeGrlz says:

    This is facinating and horrifying. I’m actually a little bit attracted to this guy. I guess that means I’m going to gell.
    We bought a house with the little sign in the yard, but no security system.
    @gamin: I hate Cutco with the passion of a thousand suns.

  30. Corydon says:

    @gamin: I think most of us get lured into trying out a job like this (usually when you’re first away from home and don’t know any better). Personally, I think it’s good to spend some time seeing just how shady the door-to-door (or telemarketing) sales business is.

    It’s pretty much inoculated me against just about any high-pressure sales tactics. I know when people are trying to manipulate me and I run the other way.

  31. Peeved Guy says:


    …I’m going to gell.

    Are you gellin’?

    /sorry. couldn’t resist

  32. Starfury says:

    My Dad gave me some very useful advice and I follow it to this day.

    1. Don’t buy anything from people selling door to door. (Girl Scout cookies/Boy Scouts don’t count)

    2. Don’t buy anything from someone that calls you.

    3. Don’t buy anything from TV.

    So far I’ve managed to follow this advice and am passing it along to my kids.

  33. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Peeved Guy: I know!!! I obviously meant hell but my typing this morning is atrocious.

  34. mthrndr says:

    I had some guy try to sell me an APX (out of Provo, Utah) alarm system last summer. He used these tactics, almost verbatim. The one lie the above post failed to mention is that he used the tactic of “this is a limited time offer” (not true) and that they have crews out installing “just today and tomorrow” so if I wanted the system, I had to act now (classic tv marketing). He actually weaseled his way into my house, to ‘check’ my smoke detectors to see if I qualified for a discount. Ultimately, I didn’t bite, though I thought I was just being nice and letting him do his pitch. Now I know better.

  35. snoop-blog says:

    damn, this guy is good.

    reminds me of my days of selling kirby vacuums door to door.

  36. Beerad says:

    Yeah, I guess it’s a little sad that I’m surprised people are that gullible. Pretty much by the time you got to point # 2 my BS detector would be going off the charts.

    Anyway, I hope Consumerist reports the OP to the relevant state AG’s office for fraud investigation.

  37. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Starfury: What about the awesome stuff on TV? Like those foot pads? Or super putty? Or that really sparkly fake jewelry on QVC? You’re misssing out on some cool stuff!

  38. Traveshamockery says:

    I’ve had this exact set of lies told to me – (from point 1 to point 4, since I shut the door at that point).

    I didn’t believe them then and why anyone would believe such transparent lies is beyond me.

    You sir, are a bad person (yes, I know, that’s what you want to hear).

    Unfortunately your security systems don’t prevent the kind of theft you are committing on a daily basis.

  39. mthrndr says:

    @Peeved Guy: Uh, dude, it’s not free. the cost is covered in the monthly payment you make. If the alarm system makes you feel more secure, that’s great. The article is about the seedy tactics they use to prey on people’s fears and trick them into thinking they’re getting a deal when they’re not. The point is, if you weren’t thinking of getting an alarm system before the guy showed up at your door, you probably don’t need one. Since you did think beforehand, you probably weren’t swindled, but I’d say be careful if you’re thinking it’s a ‘deal’.

  40. Traveshamockery says:

    @Starfury: “3. Don’t buy anything from TV.”

    Hey man, the “Green Bags” really work!

    …Seriously…I got them from my wife from the “as seen on TV” store in the mall!

  41. failurate says:

    @gamin: Cutco’s sales and marketing schemes are a real shame. Their products are not horrible at all.

  42. toddy33 says:

    I miss the Fuller Brush man.

  43. laserjobs says:

    Why worry about thieves breaking in anymore? Most thieves just charm the money out of people these days.

  44. freshyill says:

    My girlfriend owns a $1000 Kirby vacuum. You can bet that had I known her when the Kirby man showed up, she sure as hell wouldn’t.

  45. kc2idf says:

    This guy would have been stopped at step 3, because there is always a catch, and with products sold as services, the catch is a contract.

    I told Verizon to get lost when they peddled FiOS to my home because they required a two-year contract. The service I get from Road Runner is completely sufficient (I measure it regularly, and it regularly clocks in at 10/1).

    I do read every word of the contract. As an example, I recently had a window salesman at my home (at my invitation; not door-to-door), and was able to express to him (and he to his boss) that the mandatory binding arbitration clause was a show-stopper. As such, the terms of agreement bullshit would have been cut short.

    #6 wouldn’t have occurred. He would have found himself not getting past the front porch.

    Oh, and regarding Girl Scout Cookies…. one of the local private schools also has a regular bake sale that they take door-to-door. I’ll buy from them, too, because they take in the less advantaged kids in the area. The cookies aren’t as good, but the cause is.

  46. ShadowFalls says:

    Seriously, do people really think you can trust a person who goes door-to-door selling alarm systems anyway? Can you really trust someone who you never met to provide you security?

    Next thing is they will want to look around your house… Or perhaps they just wanted to see if you had a security system to see if you are a mark to rob…

    This guy here talks a big game, but he would have the door closed in his face fairly quickly. Besides, if you can live with being a dishonorable piece of scum lying to everyone you see, perhaps you are in the wrong business, you should be a CEO.

    The more a salesperson pushes, the less interested I become. The more special deals or “free” things they offer also does the same.

    I think people have actually gave up trying at my house. There is the rare occasion still, but simply said, if I want to buy something or get a service I will look it up when I need it and decide who is the best to go with.

  47. backbroken says:

    Ahhhh. iPhone’s and MacBook Airs…..the new standard of happiness.

    What a sad, sad collection of people be we.

  48. macinjosh says:

    @ret3: Nah, they just have their parents bring the forms to work.

  49. gamin says:

    3. buying from TV
    Shamefully I’ll have to admitt I bought the ab slider from them, the only six pack I have is the one of coronas in my fridge :(

  50. arch05 says:

    @noquarter: Nope. They do the same shit at circuit city when you buy a TV & they ask for your license. Always refuse.

  51. warf0x0r says:

    Did you change the locks when you moved in?


    Then every single previous owner of this house could be in here right now!

  52. Mariallena says:

    Like we didn’t know that salesmen are lying cheating scum!

    Having said that, if you let a stranger into your house, sign some papers he puts in front of you and give him a credit card number that he relays to his accomplices over the phone, you probably don’t deserve to keep that money.

  53. Sounds like the ten lies pretty much any salesman would tell to get you to part with information/money.

  54. sroemerm says:

    One of my favorite Simpsons quotes ever…

    “Ex-con” Home Security Salesman: Surely you can’t put a price on your family’s safety.
    Homer: I wouldn’t have thought so either, yet here we are. [slams door]

    A security guy came to my house once and used that same line on me. Remembering the wise words of Homer Simpson, I responded in kind.

  55. ophmarketing says:

    Wait a second…There are still door-to-door salesmen? In 2008? Who the hell would open their door for them?

  56. @ret3: No they don’t. Everyone’s afraid they’ll be abducted or sold into slavery or something. As a matter-of-fact, Girl Scouts rarely sell their own cookies anymore — go to any workplace and you’ll see signs on cubes asking people to but cookies. Although two weekends ago, I did actually buy cookies from real Girl Scouts… though it was at a pet store.

  57. @blondegrlz: My wife just bought a vacuum from QVC, which turned out to not work.

  58. backbroken says:

    I’ve never met a person who made an unsolicited claim about how much money they had in their ‘bank account’ that actually had that much money in their ‘bank account.’


  59. sirwired says:

    @gamin: Cutco was a freaking joke. I got suckered into one of their “group interviews” (a.k.a. “Get a bunch of poor college students to buy knives they don’t need.”) During the “individual” part of the “interview”, I pointed out the about eight different lies they told, and then walked out.

    We hadn’t even gotten to the part on how to sell the damn things.

    The biggest alarm bell was when I asked what percentage of sales reps recover the cost of their required “product samples” ($400, I think) in commissions. Naturally I got a B.S. answer involving a lot of mumbling.

    What a bunch of A$$hats.


  60. backbroken says:

    @ophmarketing: I think I might be the youngest person who actually remembers the Fuller Brush man coming to our door.

    And the Avon lady.

  61. tkozikow says:

    Does this type of contract typically come with the 3-day right or rescission you would get with other in-home purchases like new windows? If so, what happens if they install the alarm system the day of sale and you decide a day or two later to cancel? Are they going to send technicians back to rip out the components, or simply let you keep the stuff? My guess is that coming back is more trouble than it’s worth.

  62. arsbadmojo says:

    I recently moved into a new house that we had built. The calls from security companies were relentless; CPI, ADT and another one. Fortunately caller ID flagged them, so we never picked up the phone.

    Already I had a bad feeling about the calls. No one calls THAT many times unless there’s serious money to be made.

    Then both ADT and CPI sent door-to-door people. Oh sure, you were just in the neighborhood…right….free installation…fortunately, this builder had a deal where cops and firemen paid very little closing costs -so there are 4 city police and a country sherrif living on my street /alone/. Tons more in the subdivision. It’s like Cop-ville. I just pointed to the cop cars (they all bring their cruisers home – do all cops do that??) and said you’d have to be crazy to burglerize this street; and if they’re crazy, I have guns.

    Oh, but Mister Mojo, I sell systems to cops all the time…yeah sure you do. But not to me. Later! Ugh. Always during dinner too.

  63. revmatty says:

    “he came up to me with his little sign saying he wanted to put it in the yard for advertising and such.”

    My response would be “Oh, OK. How much are you going to pay me to advertise for you?”

    We have an alarm system, but we researched the various services and called on up to send someone out and sell us a system. I have a truly innovative technique for dealing with door to door salespeople: don’t answer the door. I look out and if it’s not someone I know or someone in obvious distress then I just go back to what I was doing. I do the same with the phone: if it’s not someone I know they can leave a message.

  64. BlondeGrlz says:

    @sirwired: I worked a summer job answering phones for Vector (Cutco’s parent company) and my job was to get college kids in for the interview without telling them what it was for. Then the head sales guy would tell all the potential hires that they could only takes a “few” and they should really “sell themselves” to him so he would consider them for such a profitable job. In reality he hired every sucker he could talk into signing up. I quit after two weeks, so I could keep my soul and sleep at night.

  65. gamin says:

    I feel a little bit better that I am not alone on the cutco sham

  66. jmschn says:

    There are door to door salespeople still!?!

  67. jenl1625 says:

    @sgodun: My dad one time set up an appointment (supposed to be one hour) for a company that sold/installed windows. Normally, my dad does windows himself (and knows exactly what he wants), but he kinda wanted a big bay window out front. We wanted a price for that installation, and some basic facts about the quality of the windows.

    He spent more than an hour talking up how wonderful the windows were, when we were sold on window quality within the first 10 minutes. But he just kept going and going and going. Finally, we managed to convince him we just wanted a price for a bay window.

    He then acted like we were idiots for thinking a bay window could be put in there. At that point, we were through but wanted a price on replacing the front window for comparison. He wouldn’t give us a breakdown – just told us $5,000 for the installed window.

    And he still wouldn’t leave. He’d gotten there at 6:00-ish, and it was after 9:00, and he WOULDN’T LEAVE. Mom got up and walked the dog, dad wandered off and started getting ready for bed, and he got all “rude much?” about it. THEN he finally listened when I told him that he needed to leave already.

    The next day, I sent an email to the company explaining that we felt that it was inappropriate that we had agreed to a 1-hour appointment that turned out to be an extremely long high-pressure sales call. I said that I wanted them to know in case it was a problem with this one person, but that we had no interest in any contact from them and did NOT want the company to respond to us. They called about the letter . . . .

  68. ryatziv says:

    @gamin: I did a summer stint for Cutco. The sad thing was, I didn’t even know that I was lieing.

  69. snoop-blog says:

    @freshyill: yeah i’ve never heard that one before. the avg. customer told me no at least a dozen times or so before they said yes. if she wanted the thing, and you say no, who’s the bad guy then. you! most husbands were smart to stear clear of me.

  70. mbgrabbe says:

    @Mariallena: This site gets way too many comments like Mariallena’s. Why are you condemning people to financial hell just because they aren’t personal finance/consumerist gurus? This is a perfect example of how predatory sales works. Companies use well-rehersed human psychology tactics to manipulate your judgement and take advantage of you. These practices should be completely illegal. Don’t blame the victim. Blame the criminal.

  71. chiieddy says:

    “Solicitors will be shot on sight” signs were designed for people like this.

    That said, I have an alarm system because when I moved into my home, I was on the first level with a window right on the front porch of our triple decker. My father pretty much insisted on it. I called the two big player companies and only one could be bothered to talk to me.

    I do pay a monthly monitoring fee, but it’s worth it. Especially when a meth addict throws a brick through said front porch window (which is actually the master bedroom) and crawls into your home after it over broken glass. Yes, that happened.

  72. Ciao_Bambina says:

    I think Taylor’s grandpa must have sold my mom a massive pig iron Kirby vacuum about 40 years ago. It cost an amazing amount of money. That sucker (ha!) was so heavy that only my dad and wrestler brother could manage to get it out of the utility closet and set it up for use. It had a horrible stink and the motor literally screamed as it ran. It had attachments we never did figure out the uses for.

    Mom would never admit that she had been taken advantage of and we kids were never allowed to say anything against St. Kirby. She kept and used that dang thing for nearly 30 years, until they moved into a house with a central vac system. At least she got her money’s worth in its lifespan.

  73. petrarch1608 says:

    @mbgrabble, I think her point is that people need to take personal responsibility for these things. Like the old saying goes, a fool and his money are easily parted.

  74. Shadowman615 says:

    @Aladdyn: He didn’t say a 6 figure bank account, he said “6 digits.” Most likely it looks like $X,XXX.XX

  75. jenl1625 says:

    @ShadowFalls: No stranger gets in my house. That’s part of my security . . . .

    warf0x0r – yes, actually, we always change the locks immediately on moving into a new house.

    arsbadmojo – the fun call was the one from TruGreen ChemLawn, calling (with my name, which the phone was in, even though the house wasn’t in my name) to “renew last year’s service contract.” I pointed out that I hadn’t been there the previous year.

    They made a pretty good “oh, I’m sorry, we had the contract with the previous owner – I just misspoke” recovery. Until I told them that in that case, they’d done a really lousy job based on what the yard looked like. Then it was a contract from a few years ago. . . .

  76. samurailynn says:

    I would be a little leery of letting any door to door salesman in the house. I mean, couldn’t some burglar come in with a bunch of made up paperwork and walk around your house telling you about your “security breaches”, then find out when you won’t be home (when would you be available for an installation in the next two days) and come back to steal your valuables? Not to mention that he’d have your credit card number.

  77. samurailynn says:

    @Ciao_Bambina: I currently have a Kirby that’s probably about 30-40 years old. Runs like a charm and works better than any new vacuum I’ve ever used. It’s a little on the heavy side, but I can get it up and down the stairs. The bonus for me is that hand-me-downs are free!

  78. mthrndr says:

    @snoop-blog: Seriously.

  79. mthrndr says:

    Everyone is saying avoid door-to-door salespeople except girl scouts. Man, those little broads really have a racket going!!

  80. gamin says:

    @samurailynn: well that is actually like some thieves operate, they disguise as company X’s workers go knocking door to door until they find a pplace were no one is home. That is their green light to break in

  81. Diet-Orange-Soda says:


    We had a siding guy come around scheduling estimates. We agreed to have someone visit on a Saturday afternoon. When the time came, the siding guy turned to a windows guy after we revealed we weren’t really serious about siding and just wanted the quote. (We want new siding but not until we build the new garage.)

    The guy spent an hour and a half selling us on their windows. He pulled out a PowerPoint presentation, heat lamp, temperature gun, demo windows – the works. We were impressed (by the windows, not the grade-school PPT) and started to consider it.

    When it came time to get some numbers together, he pulled out a blank sheet of paper and a calculator and started punching some numbers in. Circled this, pointed here, underlined that.

    “Can you afford $300 a month for these windows.”

    “Probably but I that’s pretty significant. I don’t want another $300 monthly payment.”

    *click click click, scribble scribble* “What about $120 per month?”

    *How did he get that number?* “That sounds doable.”

    *Salesman puts his hand out.* “So, do we have a deal?”

    *Whauht?* “Haha, no. Not right now.”

    Mind you, during all of this I said – multiple times – regardless of what we do, we’re not making a decision today. There’s no way I’m agreeing to $5000 worth of windows and labor after only considering it for an hour and *no* private discussion.

    He would knock another $1000 off the total price if we agreed to new windows right now. Still no deal. At this point he got desperate and started on about how we’re crazy (yes, “crazy”) to throw money away in gas and electric. He said “100% of people who buy from us do so on the first visit.” My wife responded with “minus one.”

    He left pouting and didn’t leave us *anything* – no quote, no business card. He said “if you decide to go with us, you have our number.”

  82. Jim says:

    @revmatty: I have a truly innovative technique for dealing with door to door salespeople: don’t answer the door. I look out and if it’s not someone I know or someone in obvious distress then I just go back to what I was doing. I do the same with the phone: if it’s not someone I know they can leave a message.

    It’s much more fun to remain at the door and make faces/silently move your lips/act like the door won’t open – when they leave you can even pound desperately on the windows as though you are trapped.
    It’s also more entertaining than most television programming to engage phone solicitors in long conversations. Ask lots of questions. We like to pretend we’re the “Rube” character from infomercials: “You mean for $19.95 you’ll come install Dish IN MY HOME?!?!?! That’s incredible!”

    I like to think I’m using my free time to protect other, busier, less-resistant people.

  83. backbroken says:

    @Ciao_Bambina: Wait wait wait. Almost missed it.

    What’s a central vac system? Sounds like I want one.

  84. Jim says:

    @Shadowman615: He didn’t say “balance” either. My bank account is 10 digits!

  85. bnorton says:


    I do the opposite if I am not busy. I do what I like to call “taking the hit” I keep the sales guy on the hook for as long as possible before I tell them I am not interested and to go away. It’s my good deed for the day. The sales guy can’t bother some scared little old lady while I have them occupied. In college my friends and I would get telemarketers really interested and then tell them to hold on. We would then time them to see how long they would stay on the phone before hanging up. We had several call back.

  86. Noyo says:

    Big Dogs Keep Burglers and salesmen OUT!

  87. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Jim: Hey, with cents, I’m up to six digits easy. Can I count the decimal place too?

  88. Trick says:

    Yeah sure. A door to door sales-drone with a lot of money in the bank…

    Sounds more like a pissed off loser who can’t make it in the real world with a real job and can’t make it as a sales-drone either…

    The whole article screams pissed off loser.

    Stop the day dreaming and now that you think you got your 15 minutes of internet fame. Get a real job.

  89. ncboxer says:

    @sleze69: What? You hate Girl Scout cookies??? No one hates Girl Scout cookies. That is unAmerican, which I guess means you are a terrorist. We will have to start tracking you…. ;)

  90. youbastid says:

    Wow, he must be RICH! A MacBook AIR! I hear only the gajillionaires can afford that. Must be worth tellin’ all those lies.

  91. Ass_Cobra says:

    I lie. I lie to people a lot about their home safety. And I don’t feel particularly good about it, but when my iPhone buzzes in my pocket, I forget the lies I’ve told and think of the MacBook Air that just shipped to my house.

    Wow a toolbag and a Mac Fanboy…I mean paying dipshit prices for first gen Apple gear and we’re the marks?

    Seriously, please stop publishing these “guides”. They are not doing anyone a public service other than giving the OP a chance to show the world just how fucking smooth they are. If some ex-employee wants to write a guide on how to get around some scam they perpetrated in the past, I’m cool with it, but let’s make it more to the point and exclude the ego pumping for the OP.

  92. youbastid says:

    Second sentence “I don’t feel particularly good about it”
    Last sentence “I feel no remorse.”


  93. MercuryPDX says:

    I cam across this particular scam twice last year (The pitfalls of working at home). In some neighborhoods, a sign saying the house is alarmed is enough of a deterrent; my neighborhood is littered with them.

    Neither “rep” would let me just have the sign without the system, so I sent them packing. I even made it a point to cut-off the second rep at step 1 with “Before we waste each others time, can I just get the sign without the system or not? No? Have a nice day.”

    Also, word to the wise: Never allow a door-to-door salesman to enter your home. Why does a total stranger need to see all the good entry points (or know about your LACK of a security system)? The irony is it just makes it easier for them when they come back to rob you later.

  94. kwk9 says:

    This post is ENTIRELY ACCURATE. I sold alarms. I gullibly (word?) got sucked into a recruiting scheme and actually attempted this for a whole summer. I was terrible – I actually tried to sell the system honorably and I sold like 15 accounts. But I knew 21 year old college kids who made over $200,000 that summer. You need to be three things to make that kind of money – clean-cut, hard-working, and a great liar.

    There’s a lot of justification that goes on in training – “we’re not technically lying…”. The whole experience taught me a lot about how greed can really take hold of good people and turn them into monsters.

    Don’t buy crap from door-to-door salesman. Not all of them are the devil though, some of them are just confused, naive kids. Be nice.

  95. raskolnik says:

    @tkozikow: I imagine it would depend on how the law is written. In my state, at least, it’s pretty absolute, so the scenario you described is basically what would happen.

  96. SaraAB87 says:

    From my understanding, most of these products can be tampered with by burglers, and some signs about a security system could just tip them off that you have valuables in the house and that your house is worth robbing.

    Also, you would think some people would have some common sense, look out the window before you open the door, if you don’t know the person (or there isn’t a truck nearby delivering a package), don’t open it. Simple isn’t it. Thankfully my grandmother who, yes is elderly has taught me this. She is not someone you want to mess with, so don’t assume that all the elderly are frail, weak and easy to scam.

    If this does happen to you by some weird chance, just tell them if you need security you will be consulting a member of your family who works with home security, that usually puts them off pretty quick. “My son John who works with home security would be happy to install a system if we really needed it”, for example.

  97. MercuryPDX says:

    @MercuryPDX: Just to add… the City of Vancouver requires a yearly Alarm Permit ($30) posted in the window IF you use a home alarm system. Your house is then registered and the system is allowed to make calls to the local precinct. The first False Alarm that the police respond to is free, the rest will get you a fine.

    This is also how you can tell who REALLY has an alarm and who just has the sign in their front yard. $30 a year to complete the charade is still cheaper than an actual alarm system in the long run.

  98. mthrndr says:

    does anyone use a sign on their door that says “No Solicitors”? Does it work?

  99. MercuryPDX says:

    @SaraAB87: From my understanding, most of these products can be tampered with by burglers, and some signs about a security system could just tip them off that you have valuables in the house and that your house is worth robbing.

    True. But if there’s 10 houses on a street with an alarm sign on the lawn and one house without one, which looks like the most attractive target?

  100. mthrndr says:

    @MercuryPDX: Cheaper in the long run? How about cheaper in the immediate run? Most security systems cost around $40-$50 a MONTH.

  101. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @mthrndr: It worked when I was 10 selling wrapping paper for my elementary school. That’s an accurate gauge, right?

  102. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @mthrndr: Pretty sure he means pay the $30 to register your house with the city as one with an alarm system – not actually buying an alarm system.

  103. ooby says:

    @Shadowman615: Zing!

    I recently heard on Fresh Air that only 1 in 5 houses have alarms that crime has gone down in such a way that doesn’t correlate to the prevalence of alarm systems and that a dog is statistically as likely to prevent burglaries as an alarm. I have two Dobermans.

  104. Brad2723 says:

    #6, isn’t it illegal to run a hard-pull on a credit report without telling that person you’re doing so?

    One of these guys stopped by my house, and actually told me that with his system, if my house got broken into, the police would actually show up faster.

    Save yourself some money and just buy some ADT stickers and a sign. it works just as well as an alarm.

  105. humphrmi says:

    @kwk9: Heh, when I was a kid, I got pulled into one of those recruiting scams too, and ended up selling householder cleaner door-to-door for a few weeks. You’re spot-on; hard work, clean-cut, and lie lie lie. And my job had an added dimension: since we were travelling door-to-door salesmen, it ended up being a sort of cult-like environment where you ate, slept, and lived with your fellow liars day-in and day-out. Cheap motels every night, Denny’s for breakfast and dinner, and “group outings” that usually involved going somewhere like a park where the owner didn’t have to pay anything for us to be there.

    And every evening at dinner the crew leader would give us a pep-talk. I can’t remember the specifics, they were basically “Sell more! Lie more!”.

    The best part was how the money worked. They paid for your hotel, but debited your “account” with them. When you made sales, the initial sale residual offset your debits. They also advanced you cash each day or so to pay for food. Again, against your “account”.

    They promised me a 30-day trial on the job, and on day 28 I had enough. The night before, in our pep-talk, he had told everyone “If you don’t think you can hack it, tell me now, and I’ll send you home, and you’ll owe us nothing.” So the next day, I went in to his “office” (one of the hotel rooms) and said “I’m going home.”

    I almost thought they showed some class at this point, as they gave me a ride to the bus station and even bought my ticket. Then, six months later, they sent me a bill. Oh well.

  106. Peeved Guy says:

    Yeah, no crap. Sometimes the do, but not for the “motivated” seller.

    I have one and some knuckle-head came to my door looking to sell some of that “miracle” cleaner.

    He started on his spiel, I politely pointed to my “No Solicitors” sign. He looked at the sign (without even a pause in his pitch, mind you) and looked back at me like, “Yeah, so?”.

    I then, very politely, asked him to please leave. He began to show his products wonderful properties by cleaning the threshold of my front door. I then placed the pamphlet he shoved in my hand on his back and closed the door.

    He didn’t finish cleaning my threshold.

  107. MercuryPDX says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Yes, exactly. The sticker + the lawn sign should be enough.

  108. johnperkins21 says:

    Just don’t answer the door when people knock or ring the doorbell. I never answer my door unless I’m expecting someone. If I didn’t invite you over then you over, then you probably don’t have anything I want.

  109. gamin says:

    @johnperkins21: Yeah not answering is the best way to get rid of people but then again I like to mess with the jehova’s witness from time to time :p

  110. Aladdyn says:

    lol, i didnt catch that

  111. jimconsumer says:

    @backbroken: What’s a central vac system? Sounds like I want one. – High powered, large, industrial vacuum system installed in a basement or closet. Pipes run through your walls to special outlets in each room. Your “vacuum cleaner”, then, is a big long hose with a light weight floor attachment. Plug the hose into the hose slot on the wall, the entire system comes to life and you clean. Usually the hose also carries power to the floor attachment piece to power the brushes.

    They’re good for allergy sufferers (all the dirty stuff takes place in the vac room), usually much more powerful than a standard vac, and of course very lightweight. The bulky, 30 foot hose can be a pain to deal with, though. But there are nice features you can add – like a “dust bin” for the kitchen. Just sweep the dirt on your kitchen floor to a special port under a cabinet, press a button and the central vac sucks it all in.

    Normally you have to install these when the house is built. Just imagine running vacuum cleaner sized pipes through your existing walls.

  112. mgy says:

    This scheme he has set up sounds like an excellent blueprint for master thieves to get into your home, get your CC numbers, find out your schedule and rob you blind.

  113. Jim says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: @Jim: Hey, with cents, I’m up to six digits easy. Can I count the decimal place too?

    Don’t count the decimal place, express it as a fraction instead – 1,234 56/100 – more digits!

  114. backbroken says:

    @jimconsumer: Yeah. I want one.

  115. alm0529 says:

    When someone in sales tells you their bank balance, assume that they live in a “merch house” and have no car. I went on an interview with one of these alarm companies and there was no way any of them had that kind of money. They showed a video of the supposed CEO’s house, and it was competely empty other than the small TV, chair and video game console. There were about 5 other people living there as well. Most of them I recognized as working there, even though the CEO supposedly lived in CA and the I was in MI. These guys are such liars.

  116. ELC says:

    I’ve heard some of these same things (we’re in your neighborhood today) from alarm system salesmen. I can’t believe people are so gullible – but I know they are. Maybe I should go into sales. :)

  117. CaptainConsumer says:

    Also, make sure your alarm salesman and or installer is bonded and has had a thorough background check. Don’t forget, Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer who was stalking victims in Wichita was ALSO a home alarm installer and supervisor for ADT.

    Just sayin…..

  118. Tonguetied says:

    “I take great exception to the line about Girl Scouts. I hate their cookies.”

    They were better before they got rid of the transfats…

  119. kwk9 says:

    @humphrmi: Yep,for me it was the same type environment, except less traveling. They want to create a “culture of selling”, which is very cult like. No descent is tolerated (only positivity!), money and expensive toys are worshiped, and they create an environment of incredible peer pressure.

    Oh, and getting angry at these type of salesman doesn’t accomplish what you all of you think it does. Part of these programs is to push the idea that the whole experience of summer door-to-door sales builds character, and teaches you about perseverance and dealing with rejection. Tens of people throw tantrums at them every day. They just get together at the end of the day and tell stories around the apartment pool.

    Instead: Contact the police department about predatory door-to-door sales going on.

  120. Zimorodok says:

    @Jim: He said “100% of people who buy from us do so on the first visit.” My wife responded with “minus one.”

    Translation: “We don’t leave until we make a sale.”


    “People who consider their options buy from someone else.”

    Take your pick.

  121. flairness says:

    1) Door-to-door salespeople still exist?
    2) People are at home during the day to answer the door?


  122. FightOnTrojans says:

    All I needed to know about door-to-door salesmen I learned from that “I Love Lucy” episode where she buys that vacuum cleaner, and then all the accessories, including the case that holds it all together. Ha!

    I had one of these guys just last week. He got as far as “Hi, I’m from XYZ Security Company and we’re going around the neighborhood…” before I politely said “Sorry, we’re not interested” and I closed the door. Through the closed door he shouted out something like “Wait, don’t you want to protect your family?” I just went back to watching TV.

    The wife, OTOH, will stand there and let them tell their whole spiel because she doesn’t want to be rude. Her “un-rudeness” caused us to get our long-distance carrier changed, so she is no longer allowed to talk to salespeople. She’s gotten pretty good at using the “Sorry, I need to discuss this with my husband before we make a decision” line.

    Oh, yah, Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos cookies FTW!

  123. SuperSally says:

    @Starfury: But you’re going to have to add 4) Don’t buy anything that shows up in your inbox.

  124. snoop-blog says:

    take it from someone who knows vacuums, but isn’t trying to sell you one….. central vacs are worthless. if you truely have allergies, get a kirby. they may be expensive, but i swear they are the most powerful, and have the best hepa filtration known to vacuums. that was a huge selling point. i will say the kirby sells itself, i never had to lie. they are at least an extremely well built vac. hell in the comments right here people have said they’ve known them to run for 30-40 years! heavy, yes, but the new ones have power assist. i will answer any vac question honestly if you have any. out of my years of experience, i was trained to know just as much about my competition as i was my product, so i’m not going to just feed you a line. there are some other good units out there.

  125. ret3 says:

    @NefariousNewt: ah, well; at least they’re still made out of real girl scouts…

  126. Hambriq says:

    P.S. Lie #11 is the nonsense about having six figures in his bank account.

  127. Ragman says:

    I put a “No Soliciting” sticker on my door. It definitely cut back on the disturbances. Especially the magazine sellers, which were the main reason I put it up.

    The best way to keep your door from getting kicked in is to put 3″ wood screws in the deadbolt strike plate. Many houses in my neighborhood still have the cheap builder installed locks, which had the 1″ screws in the strike plate. Most of them also have alarms, which don’t always help. Last year one house in the neighborhood had the front door kicked in just before lunch, the alarm went off, and the burglars ransacked the master bedroom and left before the cops showed up.

  128. Blueskylaw says:

    And I don’t feel particularly good about it

    And I feel no remorse

    Well which one is it?

  129. Blueskylaw says:


  130. Ciao_Bambina says:

    @backbroken: jimconsumer did a great job of describing the central vac system.

    My mom loves hers. Her main unit and collection tank are installed in the attached garage, which is nice because they can make a lot of noise. She has hard wood floors throughout the house and two big hairy dogs, and so has to vacuum frequently. With the system it’s easy and pretty much hassle-free.

    When I visit her, I vacuum just for fun!

    As for snoop-blog’s comments on central vac, yeah, it kinda does sound like he wants to sell you a vacuum! My mom has terrible allergies and her central vac seems to take care of any allergans hanging around. She is a teeny, tiny widow woman and there’s no way she’d be swinging that St. Kirby beast around these days!

  131. LeopardSeal says:

    @Aladdyn I knew a guy who ran a home security sales crew. He would travel all over North America selling this crap, he even had his father selling for him. He made huge money, but you have to be as slimy as the poster to made that kind of cash. Think “Boiler Room” on your front step.

  132. guspaz says:

    I recall my parents, years ago, got a similar sales pitch. Except the guy wasn’t lying. It was for driveway resurfacing. Guy said that they wanted to get some business in the area, and it looked like our driveway would look good when surfaced. They’d give us a discount in order to try to build sales. Sounds similar, right?

    Except, our driveway did need it, so my father had already shopped around. The price offered WAS a good one, and they did a good job. When other people in the area had the same company do their driveways, they DID end up paying a bunch more.

    End result? My parents got their driveway resurfaced at a price point lower than they had expected to pay, and were quite happy with the quality of work. What’s not to like?

  133. Nytmare says:

    @billbillbillbill: I bet that explains why he only works 1/4 of the year.

    And I know salesmen love to brag, using decimal places, about how much money they make – but I prefer not to take their word for it.

  134. RedSonSuperDave says:

    @jenl1625: the fun call was the one from TruGreen ChemLawn, calling (with my name, which the phone was in, even though the house wasn’t in my name) to “renew last year’s service contract.” I pointed out that I hadn’t been there the previous year.

    Isn’t that, like, “wire fraud”?

  135. snoop-blog says:

    @Ciao_Bambina: then tell me why i sold kirby’s to people who had central vacs? and some people with them already had a hoover or equivalent they were using over the central vac. if your g-ma can’t lift a kirby (makes sense) then she needs the oreck xl. pound for pound, gave the kirby some decent competition. left minimal debris, and has great filtration.

    of course if you told me the reason they bought the kirby was because i was just damn smooth, i wouldn’t argue with you there either. but really, central vac systems can run in upwards of $5-10k, not too mention you pretty much need a service contract, of course only certified techs can fix them, and believe me, no ones ever been screwed by a ceritfied tech.

    and all that hose? no thanks. all the holes you develope in them, they are pretty expensive (the hoses), and i’ve only came across a couple that didn’t already have the duct tape job on them.

  136. senor_tron says:

    i don’t give much credence to what an admitted liar says about his job or bank acct. From what i’ve seen of these type of door to door sales’people’, when he says his bank acct has six ‘digits’ i think he’s probably counting the decimals. Caveat emptor with any of these door to door yahoos.

  137. snoop-blog says:

    @senor_tron: i honestly made 48k in a full year selling kirby’s. not bad for an 18 year old (at that time of course). but i will call bs on the op. i wouldn’t be surprised to hear he made around 50k though. i sell cars now (duh!) and can make anywhere from 75-125k per year. sales jobs pay great if your good at it. most of them are commission, so you have to be good at it.

    on a side note, i thought about selling no soliciting signs door to door. i got burned out on doing door to door is why i quit. now i make more money and let the people come to me. of course i still market myself though.

  138. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’m surprised these guys even still get through the door. If we’re all keeping our kids indoors playing video games because we’re afraid of child molesters then why are we OK with letting complete strangers in our house?

  139. kwk9 says:

    @Hambriq: Umm, no. The good ones make that much. There were about 20-30 salesman in my company that hit $100,000 over 4 months.

    Yeah, it’s sick.

  140. snoop-blog says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: well here’s the secret…..

    if i can bully you into your home (of course not literally bully you), but if you are enough of a pushover to let me in your home (knowing you don’t want me there), then you are probably enough of a pushover to buy what i’m selling.

    if you absolutely are a dick at the door, and are definately not letting me in, you probably wouldn’t have bought what i’m selling anyhow.

    i could talk my way through a doorstep in 30 mins or less. you just got to hit enough doors, and have the right look, and pitch. speaking of looks, some places use good looking women to do the talking at the door and bait you, then switch her with a shark of a salesman once you’ve commited to the demo.

  141. halloweenjack says:

    I learned all I needed to know about alarm companies and their salesmen from having worked at one for a few weeks. I monitored the alarms on the graveyard shift, and had to deal with the results of salespeople selling systems to homeowners and business owners that would have trouble managing a ham sandwich, let alone an alarm system with several different types of sensors and keypads. As long as they kept up payments, though, it was all good.

    As for this guy… his scenario sounds plausible, but I tend to file claims from salespeople about their commissions under the same category as the amount of tips that strippers claim to make.

  142. ooby says:

    I sold cutco during the same semester I took multivariable calculus. I spent upwards of 2 hours a night doing one of those two activities. After the cost of the knives, I netted around $100. I learned two things that semester: 1) I loathe trying to sell people things I don’t believe they need and 2) multivariable calculus.

    I would recommend their knives, if you’re looking for them. Specifically, I’d recommend the paring knife. Although, my recent knife preference has leaned toward smooth blades that I can hone.

    If you’re going to get them, you might want to apply for the job just to buy the knives at a steep discount.

  143. Ciao_Bambina says:

    @snoop-blog: Well, all I know is that my mom has had that central vac for 10 years or so with relatively few problems, while I’ve gone through several regular vacuums, including an Oreck that I just wasn’t that happy with.

    She has replaced the hose once in those 10 years, and because she lives in a remote coastal community that takes hours to get to from the closest service center, they agreed to let a local repair shop do any work needed.

    Mom’s a neat freak and a loud mouth, and if she wasn’t happy, believe me, we’d be hearing about it!

  144. shortergirl06 says:

    My parents have had central vac since I was a child and was diagnosed with severe allergies. My dad has upgraded it himself with more pvc pipe(That’s all they use when they put in the system), and he cleans out the drum and the filter 2 times a year. No problems. The only problem that they ever had was when my mom sucked up 6 yards of baling twine and it got wrapped around the beater brush of the vacuum head itself. Three hours and a carpet knife later, and it was back in service. And as far as replacing the hose, a few pieces of duck tape pretty much patches up any holes in the hose.

    Which is why I can’t possibly understand why someone earlier said that people were using their Kirby’s or Orek’s or what have you, because the central vacs were hard to use and take care of.

  145. Saboth says:

    Well it’s good he confesses, but he wouldn’t make it into the front door in my home, and he sure as hell isn’t getting my social security number. He could come in and say “I just walked in your back door, and you left it unlocked” and I would reply “Oh really? Did you lock it on the way back out? I don’t want any cats getting out”. Sorry, you aren’t whipping me into any kind of emotional anything, especially by spouting nonsense about home invasions. I’m sure that BS works wonders on the old folks and stay at home moms though.

  146. Ciao_Bambina says:

    @snoop-blog: “if you absolutely are a dick at the door, and are definately not letting me in,” – heh, I think we all know who the ‘dick at the door’ was…

    BTW, you don’t get to work at my spelling factory.

  147. @noquarter: Give them your D.O.B. and SSN and you might as well have handed out a golden ticket.

  148. snoop-blog says:

    @Ciao_Bambina: sorry for the spelling my pc is running so slow today, i’ve given up proof reading. but i am never a rude salesman. i can’t tell you how many families invited me to dinner, or how many times i’d do the dishes, shovel snow, etc. i played the good grandson, and still do.

  149. snoop-blog says:

    but times have changed. back when i did door to door, it wasn’t all that uncommon.

  150. scoosdad says:

    Consumerist, please give Theresa more assignments. I like her writing style!

    Thin mints and holy water, I was smiling before I got to read the comments.

  151. SaraAB87 says:

    @MercuryPDX: Yeah, I guess this is true, you gotta go with the flow, but in our neighborhood and our city I have never even seen a house with one of these signs, so if you had a sign here, you would definitely be the odd one out!

  152. hossfly says:

    I would stay away from ProtectAmerica….

  153. Rachacha says:

    @mthrndr: My mother had a “No Solicitors” sign at the front door and no it did not work…mostly because the people who were knocking on the door did not know what the word “Solicitor” meant. She then made a hand written sign “NO Selling, I am a grumpy old lady and I don’t need any more $H!+”. That pretty much stopped everyone except for the school aged kids.

  154. FLConsumer says:

    A professionally-installed alarm system provides excellent coverage that would thwart all but the most sophisticated burglar and/or someone with inside knowledge of that alarm system. The problem? NONE of the major national companies ADT,Brinks,etc do a true professional installation. Nor are most homeowners willing to pay for it.

    Just the equipment (actual wholesale price) for my alarm system ran about $1k and that’s the wholesale price for the parts alone. I’m not sure what the markup from an alarm company would be, but I’m sure it’s got to be at least double that. And that doesn’t even include installation, and the labor would be at least that amount. Are most homeowners willing to pay $3k or so for their alarm systems? Probably not. Too bad, as a half-assed alarm system is worse than no alarm system.

    @mthrndr: $40-50 bucks a month?!?! Who the hell pays that? $8.50/mo is what I pay and that’s the “retail” rate. The wholesale rate is $2-4 depending on the monitoring station. Full reporting of open/closings, UL-listed monitoring station (my insurance co picked it + the alarm equipment).

  155. FLConsumer says:

    Oh yeah, forgot to add in the $2k for window & door reinforcement/replacement + restricted keyway locks that the insurance co also required (and helped fund).

  156. phildeaux says:

    Taylor. This post is hilarious. Are you LDS? My experience is that they use the Mormon Missionary Model to market these things. After all, you are more than comfortable with having the door slammed in your face.


  157. opsomath says:

    I have a great security system. It consists of a German Shepherd who likes me, my wife, and no one else. Plus a bunch of ways of inflicting bodily harm on people who come on my property without my permission.

    So, I’d probably just cut out the middleman and introduce the alarm sales guy to my dog. Woof.

    Gratitude to the previous homeowner for installing an alarm, though, my homeowner’s insurance went down.

  158. VeeKaChu says:

    Oh those kooky alarm companies… back in 1984 I worked as a temp in an ADT office. Came to learn that the company had just settled a lawsuit that derived from the fact that certain of their salesforce had been paying burglars to target specific houses… the homes of folks who hadn’t bought their services, on the hopes that those homeowners would then re-consider! And apparently it had worked for a while, but the scumbags visited that well once too often.

    Obviously, that’s an extreme- and likely unique- example, but yeah, it’s been shown that the best salesmen have more sociopathic tendencies.

  159. revmatty says:

    @Jim and bnorton: back when I had more free time I greatly enjoyed being a time sink for sleazy sales guys. I still do if they get me with enough time and in the right mood. I agree that it’s a ‘good deed for the day’.

    We have a sign that says “No solicitors” but it’s ignored by all the religious proselytizers (who are the primary ones it’s aimed at).

  160. Zwitterion says:

    Buy a sign off of eBay… that should play enough psychological game with anyone thinking about doing anything around your house.

    Damn salespeoples… can’t stand em!

  161. racermd says:

    What I do: As soon as I know it’s a sales pitch, I simply (and rudely, if I must) interrupt and tell them that solicitations aren’t welcome – please leave immediately. If they insist on anything else but leaving, I get verbally hostile and start flashing the ol’ Louisville Slugger that I keep by the door.

    My only exception is the neighborhood kids selling their candy bars, coupons, cookies, etc. for various activities they might be involved in. The downside is that I have a freezer full of Girl Scout cookies piling up over 2 years that I can’t seem to eat my way through.

  162. MeDG says:

    What’s the difference between a girl scout and a salesperson anyway, besides age? Innocence? Youth? So what? They’re after your money to do something with their lives so you don’t have any money to do something with your life.
    Try this: if you know of anything you can sell to them, be it old books, old clothes, some network marketing thing you tripped into, sell that to them. Get telemarketers all riled up about your website. Use them to add money to your life.

  163. anaisnun says:

    OMG, this guy must have worked for Honeywell! A Honeywell guy came to my door not one week ago with the exact word for word spiel.
    Only til #3, however, when I said “I said no, I am going back in my house now!”. I’m glad I went with my gut.

  164. Anonymous says:

    I think this article is a good example of a manipulative person who is out for themselves which is the bane of the sales industry. That being said it falls on the consumer to be informed and have good judgment when it comes to signing a contract and all of those alarm sales companies have a call between a corperate office in which they ask if the customer is aware that one, they will be in a 3 or 5 year agreement and that they relize the first payment will come out when the systems is installed. All of the people here advocating violence towards ppl are a bit ignorant. American is built on free enterprise and a young person going out and making money on only results teaches a lot . But maybe we should be teaching people to good sense would take care of this problem on both sides of course.

  165. Anonymous says:

    A guy from just came to my parents house claiming to offer this service. I confronted him about it and of course he said “It’s not a scam!” After I read him this script…he left without a signed contract. He was very persistent. Walking the neighbor in the early afternoon when usually it’s the elderly and stay at home moms who are too busy or too tired to know better.

  166. liljorgo730 says:

    everything this guy said is so true. i worked for 2 different security companys. they push us to push ppl, honestly i couldnt do it. in the mornings all the sales reps would get together and joke about how many people we could con to sign up. what ppl dont know is the companies get all that equipment pretty much free and then they make over 1000 just off one person signing up! i went door to door for 7 months. i didnt get rich like this guy boasts about. if someone said they couldnt afford it or werent interested i got the heck off their door step. but the people i did sign up were already looking for a system but didnt know who to go thru, in that aspect i have had customers call my cell phone thanking me for helping them thats how i slept at night because the people who signed were well off and could deffinitly afford this let alone they actually wanted the system. and this guy really doesnt kno what the hell hes talkin about he may have made a ton of money off screwing ppl over but not all companys pay like that i always had to fight to get payed the right pay, its not just customers who get screwed its employees as well. so if you cant handle screwing people over and screwing up their credit stay away from sales jobs its not worth it!!

  167. Johnnyb says:

    This guy sounds like a candidate for a public caning, Phillipines style. This article hits home as I own a small alarm company. If I do a job in a neighborhood, you can bet I’m going to knock on the doors of the neighbors. The difference here is 1.) I’m not some out of state company who will never see you again. 2.) Since I’m local, I’m far more interested in protecting my reputation. Guys like this don’t make life very easy for me. While I do offer a FREE system with contract, I also offer systems with 1 year or even no agreement on the monitoring service. People are smart. They know if they get a free cell phone or alarm system they are going to sign up for the service. If not, come up with some money up front. You will pay now or over a period of time, but you WILL pay. What kills me are some folks who want a FREE system and a 1 year agreement! sorry, I cannot repeal the laws of economics. Listen,when you buy be careful. Check the company out. Log on to the muni court website where this company has been operating or headquartered and see how many times they’ve been sued. Do not trust the BBB. Their revenue comes from businesses buying an annual membership from them and if you have a complaint, they do nothing. Call or log on to the Attorney General website of your State to check them out. Make sure they have a valid phone number. If they are at your door explain it will take a day or so to check them out (or tell them you’re not interested.) which usually they will leave.

  168. joe says:

    as an employee for vivint security used to be (APX) I Have to completely disagree with everything there is a huge difference in lying to someone and being smart enough to use legit sales tactics to gain someones interest in an industry that is almost impossible to get your potential customers attention for longer than 5 seconds… in every job across america there are shady people that lie cheat and still but for every bad employee there are usually 15-20 good ones… i just think its funny that you professional consumers always think you are too busy to give us 10 seconds of ur busy little life if you guys would just listen reguardless of wether you buy or not the information that i could give you could benefit you in one way one day when something does happen and u have to stick ur foot in ur mouth and buy an alarm system i have helped out many people young and old and can assure you that millions of people benefit from these security systems every year this is a billion dollar industry it isnt going anywhere :)