An Obama adviser? Well maybe he could have been

To the editor:

In the 1960s a good friend of mine set out to capture the door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales business. This was no easy task, because Electrolux owned the door-to-door business, and based on their performance and durability, they would remain on top for a long time.

Of course for those who didn’t like door to door, or couldn’t afford this Cadillac of cleaners, there were also several good brands available in retail stores. My friend was given one week of intensive sales training, which, I later learned, consisted of memorizing word for word, the sales pitch from start to finish. No improvising allowed. Almost like having a teleprompter to read from, but without all the messy wiring.

After the sales calls began in earnest, the sales persons were required to meet weekly, to assure that their sales pitch remained pure, and that any customer resistance could be discussed, and ways to combat that resistance could be created. The plan was quite appealing, especially to many with a limited income. Basically, the cleaners were sold, at what I thought was a fairly expensive price, but if the purchaser could refer five other people who would purchase the cleaner, the referring person would own their cleaner at no charge. I asked my friend, how this plan could actually work? He said it’s simple enough, that even I should understand it. Everyone has at least five friends or family to refer, and so everyone winds up with their five referrals, and with a free cleaner. I asked if he’d ever heard of something called a pyramid scheme, and he said he hadn’t.

I then asked him what would happen in the rare event that a purchaser didn’t produce five persons who purchase a cleaner? My friend said, “that’s why we have contracts signed.” Once they’re in it, they’re in it, and they would have to pay, but the situation probably wouldn’t ever happen.

My friend and I were both single, and since we sometimes had plans after his sales call, I went along several times, and observed his presentation. My friend was polished, and sincerely recited his pitch, word for word as trained, and was ready for any objection his customer might utter. He was good. In fact he told me later, that in a small town he was working, he sold so well that when customers tried to refer their neighbors they discovered that their neighbors were also customers, who were planning to refer them. After word got around that the cleaners would need to be paid for, he was approached on his next trip to town, by angry townspeople, and advised to leave town, and not come back.

Now, my point is that this whole plan was a scheme to book gullible people with installment payments that most certainly couldn’t afford. I must say that I didn’t hear my friend lie about anything, and I imagine that a few of the early customers did find five other buyers, and did get their cleaner paid for. My friend was a nice guy, well spoken, articulate and seemingly a trustworthy person that plain, honest people could be fooled by, and although he still maintains that he never realized it was a scam, it seems quite obvious that he did.

This brings us up to date. I believe our president was elected originally, using the same basic, deceitful methods as my friend used, only worse. But long before re-election, anyone with even the slightest amount of gray matter, had to realize the counterfeit we had on our hands. I’ve never before been through a re-election where the incumbent’s supporters had nothing good to say about their candidate, but rather, spent the entire campaign trashing all opposition as dishonest, evil, radical right-wing racist homophobes, who incidentally weren’t very nice people either. Why? Because, his only accomplishment was forcing Obamacare on our nation, using every underhanded method available.

Even with the bald-face lies and trickery used for its passage, the country was against it, and remains against it, but in the end we have unaffordable national health care (socialized medicine). Now it doesn’t matter that the Dems say fix it or the GOP says delay or repeal it.

Like my friend said, we made the contract, and we’ll never get out of it. Speaking of my friend. Now that I think about it, he has too much integrity to even support Obama, let alone be his adviser.

John Kauffman