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July 11, 2024

The Business

Zac Smith

I stole a lot of vacuum cleaners and worked really hard to sell them all. For a little while I spent a lot of my free time each day learning how to sell vacuum cleaners. I looked up why someone might want to buy a vacuum cleaner, for example, and wrote down the most common or interesting reasons. I took some good pictures of the vacuum cleaners in case someone wanted to see a picture first. I read some of the warning labels so I could easily answer questions. I felt ready for almost anything. If someone asked me if they could put a finger in the hose, I knew to say they shouldn’t do that. That kind of stuff. There’s a lot that goes into a vacuum cleaner. Dust, for example. That’s a joke I wrote to help sell the vacuum cleaners. People like to laugh when they feel unsure about buying a vacuum cleaner. But I found that I needed more things to say to help complete a sale. An interesting thing I started telling people is that a vacuum cleaner doesn’t prevent any problems. That is, a vacuum cleaner won’t prevent dirt from getting into your home. People often feel guilty about things they could have prevented but didn’t, like obesity, several types of injury, and difficult relationships with loved ones. They don’t want to be reminded of these kinds of failures. Instead, I would tell them that a vacuum cleaner simply fixes an existing and common problem. People don’t like to feel sadness or shame when they feel unsure about buying a vacuum cleaner, so this helps close the deal. Selling vacuum cleaners also requires focus and planning. I often imagined myself walking up to a man and telling him that a vacuum cleaner can clean things for him, and he would feel thankful and surprised. This man would then admit he had made a lot of mistakes, that he felt near constant regret, and that he generally avoids people in public out of fear that they would come to rely on him for something and he would let them down. I would listen calmly and then confide in him that I often felt similarly, that my children fear me, that they are unsettled by my presence because of the ways I acted in my past, like with my lack of control and my bouts of anger, and that I hated myself because I hated the man I had somehow become. He would look at me hard yet askance, considering things, unsure of my intention and purpose. He would be disarmed by my openness and I by his. He would ask then, as if emerging from a daydream, what I wanted, why I had approached him, and at this I would remind him, gently, about the vacuum cleaner. He would chuckle. He would ask to see it, and ask how much it would cost, and what he would do – more idly, this time, as if not really addressed to me – with his current vacuum cleaner, and so I would offer to take it from him, rid him of another needless obligation, let him focus on the new vacuum and its many benefits, and he would thank me, yes, thank me again, and say yes, would I show him the vacuum? And I would, and he would buy one, of course, especially since they are so cheap; I could also sell them for almost any amount and still make a profit, which I did. It worked very well. But now I need more vacuum cleaners. Right. You can just put the keys on the ground and walk away. Thank you. No, right, exactly. I don't want to kill you. It is. Okay. Thank you.