Hiding From the Kirby Man


 I am laughing from a joke with the family and loudly say hello when I answer the phone.

 There is a whisper at the other end. “This is Lisa.”

 “Our neighbor,” I announce to my husband and son.

 “Yes, Lisa. What’s up?”

“He’s back,” she whispers. “Hide and don’t answer the door.”

“Oh no,” I say dropping my voice to a whisper and frantically shushing the testosterone lounging in the living room.

“He’s coming down our cul-de-sac. He just rang our bell. He should be at your door next.”

“Thanks,” I whisper.

“Everyone hide and no one answer the door,” I hiss.

Son and I huddle in the kitchen, but hubby continues to lounge on the couch in plain view of the door.

I peek out at my husband. “Hurry, he’ll be here any minute.”

“Who has you so scared,” he asks?

“The Kirby salesman.”

Suddenly he’s up and in the kitchen, creating a draft as he slides into place next to us.

“You should have said so in the first place,” he mumbles.

The door is chiming; once, twice, then again.

“Go, go, go away. Sell your vacuums some other place,” son chants, and we erupt into giggles.

 In case you are wondering, I don’t regularly hide from pouncing and pushy salesman, but one visit from the Kirby salesman was all I could take. Period. For my whole life.

It all started when I answered the door one rainy, blustery day and there stood a man in his early twenties offering to help clean my rug.

I assured him I didn’t need any help.

He insisted it would take only fifteen minutes.

I told him I didn’t have fifteen minutes.

He said surely, I had a spot somewhere on my rug.

I assured him no, then asked if he was a rug cleaner?

No, he assured me.

I asked if he was trying to sell me something?

He assured me no to both counts. He was just helping neighbors for free and needed only one more demonstration and then he would be able to go home and get warm.

I declined.

He wormed.

In the midst of my protestations he was suddenly inside my house setting up a rug machine and asking if I had ever heard of Kirby Vacuums.         

Then he was quickly running his machine over a high use area of my carpet and laying angel white coffee filter sized circles layered with smaller orbs of gray dust, dirt, and filth in a straight line atop my carpet. These contained the grime and dirt sucked out on my carpet. He was lining them up like soldiers at the battlefield. One after another. Number 6. Number 10. I wondered when he would stop.

“Did you know your carpet was so dirty?” he asks, lining another white soldier next to its comrades. He spouts statistics that would send a clean freak from the room screaming and holding her ears.

The army is still growing when he stops and looks at me. “What would your husband say if he saw all this filth I’ve sucked from your carpet?”

Before I can stop him, he is pouring a bottle of sand on my carpet and brushing it in.

He asks for my vacuum to see how much sand it can suck up. He tells me to say stop when I think it has gotten all the sand up. I let him suck and suck. “Should I stop?” he asks over and over. I tell him no. Finally, he stops and uses his machine. Two swipes and then a new filter. He repeats the process about 12 times. White soldiers with piles of sand form another army line, facing the earlier soldiers across the carpet square.

“How can you live with so much dirt underfoot he asks?”

I mumble something.

“You seem like a very clean person,” he says, looking around my room, “and yet you are living with filthy carpets. Wouldn’t you like your carpets to be as clean as the rest of your house?”

He tries all sorts of tactics (Wouldn’t you like to feel good about the family laying on the floor? I am sure you can afford to have clean carpets. Yes, you can, look at the nice house you live in. This is a one-time offer. Do you know what you are passing up?). 

He leaves an hour later without selling a Kirby.

I feel relief when the front door swings shut, but I also feel exhausted. Humiliated. Depressed. A failure. A bad person. A dirty housecleaner. It seems my carpets represent my worth as a person.

That night as I am talking with my neighbor, Lisa, about my Kirby visit, I am finally able to laugh about the whole bad experience. Especially since a few years earlier she had almost the same experience.

It dawns on me. Isn’t that what the Kirby man wanted? Didn’t he want me to feel ashamed and embarrassed enough about my carpet filth to buy a new vacuum? Didn’t he want me to see the inadequacy of my machine and view his vacuum as the solution to my dirt problems? He wanted me to view the condition of my carpets to my worth as a human, housewife, cleaner, woman. That had been his strategy all along, and I had fallen for it.

He was using the same sales strategy as Satan who enjoys pointing out my sins and accusing me of my inadequacies and then equating me to a nobody, a loser, a disappointment. Only Satan is 1000 times more wily and sophisticated than the Kirby man. And instead of being concerned with the dirt in my carpet, Satan is concerned with the dirt and filth in my soul, my heart, my thoughts, and my actions.

He shows up at odd moments, especially when I feel down, exposed, vulnerable, full of doubts, and Satan whispers:

“Would your friends really like you if they could see all your problems and sins?”

“Be serious, you can’t expect others, more-a-less God, to really love you?”

“Forgiveness? There can’t be much left for you. You’ve already used more than your fair share.”

“You really think you can change? So far I haven’t seen much action.”

“You’re such a fake. Clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside.”

“Why would God waste his time on you?”

“Hypocrite. Selfish. No good. Unloveable.”   

Satan has a million half lies and total lies and partial truths he whispers to us so we will buy into his message and see ourselves as defeated and with no hope. He wants us to doubt ourselves, doubt our Lord and Savior. He wants us to buy his song and dance and not God’s. He wants our spotlight and focus shining on our self, instead of our Lord.

And so, he whispers accusations. Asks if he can help. Then calls louder. Soon he is shouting and moving into our space to demonstrate his point.

We want him out, but asking him to leave does no good. He’s just getting comfortable. Just beginning his presentation.

This is when we need to do what Christ did. 

Don’t fear, because he has no leg to stand on. Next to the truth that marches through the pages of the bible, he runs. Scripture always defeats Satan.

It worked in the desert after Jesus was 40 days hungry, and it works now.

Fight Satan and his lies and accusations with God’s truth. I know it sounds simple, but it works. Satan has no comebacks against the word of God.

Look heavenward and claim the promises of God and Satan has to leave. 

You have a choice. Remind yourself of God’s truth and slam the door on Satan. Shut down his lies and accusations.

Tell Satan that you are redeemed, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, His beloved, that nothing will ever separate you from the love of God, that your sins are tossed as far as east is from west, that God will complete His good work that He has started in you.

Don’t argue with Satan about your superiority and goodness and effort. Adjust your gaze up and focus on Jesus’ superiority and goodness and love.

Remind Satan and yourself that God knows you are human, full of weaknesses and is not surprised when you sin and stumble, in fact He expects it. Yes, he loves you fiercely like a mother hen caring for the well being of her chicks. He loves you because not of what you do, all your works or effort, but because he has a relationship with you. A relationship that nothing will sever. He knows your faults and weaknesses and still loves you. Still fights for you. Still desires to know you more. He is a true and faithful friend.

 When Satan accuses you, point to God.

 And when the Kirby man knocks at your door, my suggestion is to not let him in.

  Thanks for stopping by. Remember what’s important and have a lovely day,


Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement) and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).

21 Replies to “Hiding From the Kirby Man”

    • Thanks, Diane. It’s a visit I won’t soon forget. Every once in awhile the doorbell will ring at our house and I’ll yell to the family, “Who is it.” And some one will tease, “The Kirby man.”

  1. Kirby sales men make me shutter. Had one in my house for 8 hrs one time. Of course I had my Mom egging him on too! If only we could get rid of Kirby sales men by quoting scripture. Hmmmm…….makes you wonder……..

    Thanks for the awesome Blog!!

    • Oh you had me laughing with your comment. 8 hours. And I thought his visit was long. I like the idea of quoting scripture. I’m sure if we put our heads together we could think of one that would do the trick. LOL

  2. I absolutely loved this blog! Very, very good! I also like the pictures of food and hope that the writer will consider sharing her recipes for tomato and strawberry pies?

    This blog has something for everyone. I cannot say too many good things about it. It is happy, engaging, and positive. I know many people who should read it. I hope her blogs are read by millions.

    • Thanks Colleen. The photos are from Olio, a Saint Louis restaurant. Look closely and I think there is a flower decorating every dish. Each dish was as delish as it looks. Tomato pie recipe? Maybe I can include it in my next subscriber newsletter. Lovely blessing my friend.

  3. I enjoyed reading this. 🙂 Parables from real life do make so many of God’s truths come to life for us, don’t they? Of course, that is why Jesus used them Himself. Thanks for posting this.

    • You are right. Stories do stick in our mind and we are attracted to them. Probably why much of the bible is a story. Cool that we were made that way and Jesus speaks our language. Thanks for your comment, Mary. Blessings.

      • I come from a family of story tellers on both sides of my family. 🙂 To me it’s a necessary part of life. Of course, the Bible being mostly made up of stories makes that even stronger. I have to admit that I have a little trouble sometimes listening to preachers/teachers who seldom use stories to illustrate what they are talking about. 🙂

  4. I love your story and your comparison to how pushy and accusing the devil is! You are so right; he “has no comebacks against the word of God. “

  5. I enjoyed your story about the Kirby man, and what a great illustration of Satan’s persistence in trying to make us feel inadequate and ashamed! It’s so important to make the choice not to lrt him in but to look to Jesus instead.

  6. Oh, Theresa this made me smile. I’ve never had a Kirby salesman visit my home, but I distinctly remember that maroon and silver tank my mom owned and how you could easily take off the drywall if you bumped a wall with it. I have however had a visit from Satan, and you are so right, his manipulation is rooted in shame and coercion. I love your encouragement to stand firm in the truth of God’s promises and the assurance of our standing before Him. Satan (and the Kirby man) have no place in my home!

    • Thanks Tiffany. We also had a Kirby when we were growing up. That thing weighed a ton. Well, when I let slip to the Kirby Man that I had one growing up, boy did he use that tidbit to get me to get another one! Yup, need to stand strong. Satan and the Kirby man need to stay out of my home too! Sweet blessings.

  7. Great post! Loved the story and how it relates to the way Satan shames us. I could easily recognize it by the comparison. Sometimes recognizing his schemes is harder than one would think but you made it so clear?Insightful and practical, my favorites ☺️

    • Gretchen, yes it can be hard to recognize Satan’s schemes. Especially when we are caught up in the drama and in the middle of his accusations and lies. I figure, though, I am making progress, even if I recognize them after the fact. Because even after the fact we can negate his lies that we may be believing about our self or others. Thanks for your encouragement and comments. Blessings!

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