Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"U" is for Ultralux

A year after high school, I dropped out of college to move up north. There was a girl there I wanted to be closer to. She happens to be one of my readers, so I am not giving any details. I packed up my room to move out without telling my parents. I don't know why I did it that way, but I was young and stupid.

In order to move, I needed a job in my new town. It was over 100 miles away and I drove up there just to get a newspaper and start looking through the classified. I also went to see Tracie, but I needed the paper. I got hired by the first company I called, Electrolux©. I became a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.

I actually walked around Springfield, Illinois and knocked on doors to sell vacuum cleaners. Sometimes, I would offer a $10 carpet cleaning to get people to let me in the house. Other times, I would just start my sales pitch as soon as they answered.

I took this job, because I needed a job. I wasn't being too picky. I just needed something so I could be employed and make the move I wanted to make, but something happened I hadn't expected.

I was good at it.

It took me about a month to get the hang of it, but once I did, I was bringing home a paycheck over $1,000 almost every week. This was in 1990! Accounting for inflation, that's a little over eight hundred thousand today!

I was 19 years old and making more money than I knew what to do with. Unfortunately, being 19 also meant I could be obnoxious. Every time I spoke to my dad on the phone, I would ask, "So, how much money did you make today?" He took it in stride and never put me in my place like I deserved.

Soon, I was leading the training meetings and showing the other salesmen how to sell. I loved it, but there was one major problem. I never had time to enjoy the money I was making. Electrolux© had a very demanding schedule. They were of the philosophy that in order for their salesmen to stay on top of their game, they needed to be selling all the time.

And by all the time, I mean ALL THE TIME.

I reported to work at 6 a.m Monday through Saturday and would work until 10 p.m. That is a 16 hour day six days a week. On Sundays, they gave us a break. We only worked 12 hours. Basically, if I was awake, I was selling vacuum cleaners.

Not only was the schedule demanding, but it defeated the entire purpose of me taking the job to begin with: to see my girlfriend. Not being happy, but definitely being exhausted, I quit that job to look for something else. I never regretted leaving, but haven't made that much money since.

The title "U" is for Ultralux refers to the most expensive, premium model vacuum cleaner carried by Electrolux. Despite my success with the company, I was never able to sell one. I sold the #2 model hundreds of times, but could never close the big one.




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18 comments:

  1. Interesting story.Was it worth the move?

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  2. There have been so many times I wanted to just up and move in the middle of the night!! Aside from that, I think my husband did about a week of the door to door vacuum before he moved onto telemarketer. What is it about being young that leads us to such poor job choices? Although clearly in your case, you did well with it. I'm not sure I would have lasted as long with those hours!

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    1. Today, I know a bit better what my rights are and am not taken advantage of nearly as easily. It might have worked out differently if I had been older.

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  3. I'm sold!
    This is a fun story!

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    1. That what my customers said. I'm SOLD!

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  4. Replies
    1. If you lived in central Illinois in the early 90's, then it probably was me.

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  5. How cool and making all that money at such a young age. That rocks. Too bad you didn't have time for the girl though.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  6. That kind of cash sounds ver enticing. I hope you saved some of that money. ;)

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    1. I saved enough to ALMOST pay my taxes that year.

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  7. It seems that you are a man of many talents. I had a similar experience with selling jewelry. I had no interest or experience but when desperation forced me to take a job I discovered I had a knack for sales. I quickly became the store manager and, like you, I haven't made that much money since.

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    1. It's amazing the things we discover we are good at. I have had several sales jobs and just seem to have a knack for it.

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  8. My dad sold Electrolux after he retired to keep from being bored. He didn't work that many hours, though. I still have the vacuum cleaner he sold me (must be 10+ years old now)--good machine.
    Jagoda

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  9. Considering you worked so much, it's no wonder that you made so much money. I would love to make that much but I don't think I would ever be able to deal with such a schedule. The paycut was probably better in that instance.

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