Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On Being Taken Advanage of

Wow. I had a nice little blog about weird foodstuffs all ready to roll, and then this afternoon I heard a knock at the front door. Usually I hide beneath the computer desk until the knocking subsides, since I dislike confrontation and still cringe when I remember how I attempted to dismiss two young Mormon men with an awkward waving of the arms and a high-pitched, “Uhhmmm, no no no, I’m sorry, no thank you, no, sorry, no soliciting, sorry!” segueing into a graceless closing of the front door in their faces…cue the guilt, AAAANNNND … SCENE!

But the sound of that knock…it sounded like a—could it be—a BLOG ENTRY on my porch?!?! Why yes it was!

Daisy was going ballistic, barking and jumping at the door, tail-wagging, eager to accidentally-on-purpose pee on the new visitor in her enthusiasm. When I scooped her up, I discovered my mystery solicitor was a young African-American man in a white cowboy hat and a South Park tie. His smile was wide and disarming, and he had a duffle bag full of some kind of portable consumer product. He had brochures. He had hustling skills that PT Barnum would have wept in envy of.

He was peddling a multipurpose concentrated household cleaner called “Advanage.” No, there is no ‘T.’ He called it a wonder cleaner and proceeded to elaborate on the many surfaces and substances Advantage could clean. He scribbled on a white towel with a black marker, whipped out a small spray bottle of Advanage, and—Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, with just a few scrubs the mark disappeared before my very eyes! He even cleaned the glass on my front door, and then attempted to scuff it up again with his bare hand—yet the amazing Advanage repelled his fingerprints with some sort of magical force field!

Floors, kitchens, bathrooms, cars, carpets, walls, even the garden ... no place was safe from the sanitizing tentacles of Advanage.

Still, despite the product's Manifest Destiny flexibility, I was reluctant to buy.

He tried humor…jokes about Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, and ham hocks. All of which are, of course, the first three things I think of when I wish to scour my bathroom sink.

Yet my inner cheapskate balked at the price: $35 (not including tax) for a liter of what probably amounted to diluted shampoo.

He tried sweet-talkin’ flattery. (“I didn’t know there were supermodels in this neighborhood!” and “You got the best roses here. Everybody talking about these flowers.”)

While my inner Ralph Furley was blushing and Aw-shucksing it up, my inner skeptic was loath to part with a check containing pertinent personal and financial information.

He tried the bandwagon approach, going so far as to show me the receipt from my neighbor’s purchase. Still, despite how much I enjoy emulating my neighbors in every way (especially fighting in public and filling the yard with plastic lawn d├ęcor), I hesitated.

He even tried evidence, quoting statistics about laboratory tests that pit this “non-toxic, environmentally-friendly” product against other brands, yet Advanage the Wonder Cleaner won every race.

I studied the Velveetaesque brochure, trying to buy time and weigh my options, panic stretching and doing warm-up sprints behind my ears.

How to get out of this with everyone leaving happy? Curse you, Midwestern people-pleasing upbringing!

Jess’s Brain? Yes, I have a collect call from the Rest of Jess. She’s looking for an exit strategy from the Prince O’ Pitch.

But my mind was lounging by a pool somewhere, reading Entertainment Weekly and slamming Kamikaze shooters. It sent the cabana boy over with a scribbled note: “Tell him money’s tight, and how about he leaves you a brochure and you think about it.”

Lame! This wasn’t the heavy artillery I needed to fight the Tsunami of Tsales.

Plus, as soon as I said, “I’m kinda broke right now,” I realized what an asshole I looked like. Because clearly, only broke people have enough expensive flowers gaudying up their porch to stock a funeral home for the summer accident season.

Despite myself, I was beginning to enjoy the show. There are hustlers, and then there are hustlers. This guy? He could convince Rush Limbaugh to make a sizeable donation to PETA. He could talk Phil Spector into a hairstyle that doesn't make me want to smother a live grenade with my general eye region.

Then, he pulled out his trump card. “It’s for a good cause, too. Because it benefits inner city youth, providing positive career paths and building job skills.” I can’t remember his exact words, because at the time I was feeling more overwhelmed than Tom Sizemore’s rehab caseworker. He told me a little about his troubled past in Detroit, and how the Advanage sales opportunity has benefited him.

I heard myself slowly begin to speak: “Tell me more about this youth program.”

Damn you, white liberal guilt! DAMN YOU!!!

Thirty-seven dollars later, I have squeaky clean windows that smell of fake green apples and are probably off-gassing fumes that will melt my liver in my sleep tonight. “Your husband’s a lucky man,” my Favorite Salesman said before he left. “Many blessings upon you, and thank you so much.” He also said a bunch of other stuff, but I’m too exhausted to remember any of it.

Two minutes later I saw our neighbor’s surly teenage kids laughing at his jokes and writing him a check, their new bottle of Advanage gleaming on the roof of their car in the late afternoon sunlight.


  1. I have white liberal guilt too.

    I'm also really jealous of your salesman. I NEVER get good salesmen! Just JW's. And they don't have good jokes and pseudo-apple fragranced cleany things.

  2. You are so much nicer (or a sucker!) than I am. I refused to come off the porch when one of those guys came to my house so the dude proceeded to clean my entire driveway. My response? "I am not going to be cleaning my driveway."

  3. What a riot, jess. His patter, and your telling of it.

    That story is exactly why I never answer the phone or the doorbell. I have dropped to the floor in an effort to remain unseen by someone unknown at the door.

    And because of my foolishness, I've had to drive to the post office to sign for packages that were right at my front door.

    Oh, the humanity.

  4. Anonymous8:46 AM

    so he sucker-punched you in the guilt department, huh? i swear this is the same guy that sold my husband the same product.

    these days, when anyone knocks on the door, i gag my children and herd them into a closet until the soliciter finally gives up and leaves.

  5. And that in a nutt shell is why I hate summer... I give you midwestern kindness and one up it with being Canadian...
    and I love my front porch in the sunner...I may as well just have the cheque book in my back pocket...

  6. Oh Jess, the tales I could tell on this...of the phone lightbulb selling guy who conned me with the guilt, and WOULD NOT STOP CALLING ME...I think he lurved me...until I finally changed my phone number to get away from him. Blech.

    Or, my uncle, who perhaps trained this man...he worked in his youth as a Kirby vacuum salesman, and he once sold a Kirby ($$$$$) to a man with NO CARPETS OR RUGS. All without white liberal guilt. Just salesmanship.

    Now that I know there are people with these skills loose amonst us, I run the other way if I sense them coming...blog fodder be damned!

  7. Oh...that last comment made it sound like I was stupid enough to buy lightbulbs for your phone. NO. He was selling these special lightbulbs, back in the late 80s, and he did so over the phone..just to clarify. ;)

    And I loved debbie's response about her driveway. HA!

  8. Manic shaking her head, then wagging her finger at Dear Jess:

    "Uh No You Di-ihn't!"

    That's Sucker with a capital S babe.

    He musta been goooooood.

  9. Anonymous2:47 PM

    heh heh heh. I got one of those guys a few months ago. This guy was selling magazine subscriptions and in that I only get eleventy hundred a month on my own, I didn't feel like I needed more.

    But what a SHOW! As a performer myself, I evaluated this guy as a Tony winner.

    Then he asked me if I would write him an evaluation, so his youth group could get the good reports. I said I'd be delighted but he said, "You can only do that if you're buying stuff."

    Two days later I heard on the news that these "youth group" guys are the new con artists. They get them all in one city, take over an entire motel and go nuts. There are no real youth group benefits. They're just charming snake oil salesmen who have market up a product over 150%.

    And oh yes, one of them raped one of the women he called on!!!

  10. Hey, if you ever get marker on your towel you'll be all set! I mean that happens a lot - doesn't it?

  11. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Mine is called "Versatle," yes, no "i". I wonder if I had the same young black gentleman 10 years ago as you did yesterday :-) He came into my store and cleaned everything he could find. AND... it is concentrated, you know, makes 30,000 gallons ;-) I bought a case. I still have one under my sink. I think I sold a couple, and I think he may have had a magic towel because I could never remove stuff as good as he did that first day! :)

    take care-


  12. He had you at ham hocks :)

    It sounds like he earned his $37, even if the only inner city youth who benefits is him. And that's a small price to pay for the joy and laughter you're bringing to your blog audience. Velveetaesque - hee!

  13. Ah, we all have to be ripped off sometime and at least you were entertained while he was as it!

  14. Guilt so works for me. Once I was hiding from neighborhood kids peddling giftwrap or something and I heard this little tiny voice from the porch "I saw you in there." I had to open the door and then of course I bought a bunch of paper I didn't need or want.

  15. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Oh, it is so hard to be both midwestern and a guilty liberal--we don't stand a chance.
    This was hilarious, by the way. Oh, how I have missed you!

  16. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I got a similar spiel a while back. Normally, I'd hide in the house and not answer the door, but I was standing in the driveway. To prove his product's non-toxicity, my salesdude sprayed the stuff in his MOUTH. And I still didn't buy it. I guess I'm not a bleeding heart liberal. I'm a cynical, cold-hearted one.

    The teenage kids write checks?!

  17. Dude, if it cleans that well, you might as well send him to me. Because I don't give a rat's ass about magazine subscriptions, but I'll clean house - inside and out - all day long.

    But I recently purchased a magazine subscription from another young man bearing a striking resemblance to the one you described. White compassionate conservative guilt, perhaps?

  18. I hate door to door salespeople. I never know how to combat their quick talking. One time I had a couple of young vacuum salespeople come to my door. The guy actually got down on hands and knees and begged me to let them in for a demonstration. I used that opportunity to slam the door in their faces and then run into the bathroom until they left.

  19. I'm surprised he didn't try to sell you two bottles. I bet if he would have complimented Daisy you would have gone for the whole case. ;)

  20. I've been suckered like that before, Jess. Same type - Prince O Pitch. He showed me some cleaning liquid that took oil stains off the garage floor. It did everything magical right before my eyes. I bought it. He was smooth as glass. He had my neighbors swooning with delight.

    My brand new bottle was a fake solution and I couldn't finish removing the oil on the garage floor.

    Oh, that's OK - I learned a lesson many years ago.

    I hope your magical, non-toxic solution works!

  21. Okay, here's my door-to-door story:
    A few years ago, a young lady came to the door selling cleaner (probably the same sh*t you bought) and she wanted to come into the house and clean the rug (she saw that we had dogs and cats).
    I told her I wasn't interested and was closing the door when she said, and I quote,
    (In a snarky tone): "Well, I hope you enjoy your STAINED carpet."
    So I called all the neighbors and told them not to buy anything from her.
    Two can play that game, you little skank.

  22. Hook...line...inner city youth job skills program = cha ching!

    You're a fine woman, Jess. And you've got some mighty clean windows there!

  23. Anonymous10:36 PM

    I have the WLG as well. Especially when the young, African-American magazine con artist...er...salesperson admires my home and wonders aloud how one could eventually come to live in such a palatial abode. If there's anything worse than the WLG, it's the pissy attitude that follows when I answer his question by saying, "Well...I went to college and got a job". I'm a bitch.

  24. White Liberal Guilt.


    If only we could bottle that up and give it to the people that need it.

  25. Anonymous9:13 PM

    And that is why I never answer the door if I'm not expecting someone. I've donated to Sierra Club, bought countless candy bars and other useless garbage from school fundraisers and some jewelry cleaner that doesn't work.
    But I feel I've done my part now, and I'm finished. So I pretend I'm not home.

  26. why oh why didn't you hire this dy-na-mo as your pr dude?! he shall remain forever the one who got away...with your cash.

  27. Anonymous7:42 AM

    What an awesome story.

    But you have reminded me again why I never open the door if it's not someone I know. I would so have been sucked in by your smooth talking salesman.

  28. THat chump!!

    It's probably goat piss. Green apple scented goat piss. At least it's scented.

  29. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Forget that white bleeding heart liberal nonsense. The door-to-door Advanage salesman would have been slick in any color. I said I had a grill I couldn't get clean, and if Advanage did it, I'd buy. It worked, I bought. I haven't seen that salesman since, but have bought a few bottles a year on-line ever since. Great stuff-- seems to clean everything. You can read about the company and it's founder here -- http://advanage.com/foundation.htm but the product would be just as good if it came from a white male owned company.

  30. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Interesting. I live in San Jose, California and two young black men came by also selling Advanage. He also showed me his Detroit address on his Michigan driver's license. Interesting yours was from Detroit too and so far from home?

    I am only posting here as I found this blog when I did a google on the product to check for safety.

    However, I ended up buying the green version of it for $35+, I let him have the change.

    Very interesting as he used the same tactics.

    I just have to learn how to say no.

    Hopefully it is safe.

    However, I hate door to door sales people. I just wish I had a camera on the door to know when to ignore it.

  31. Anonymous7:59 PM


  32. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Jess, this reply is really late. My neighbors and I in Beaver Dam got hit up by this same group a few weeks back, too. I succumbed to my young salesman's sob story and went ahead and bought the crap he was selling. You know what's funny, though? The stuff actually worked with removing some grime and burn marks on my front porch that have been there for the past couple of years. So who knows, maybe I will get my money's worth from this purchase after all!

  33. Anonymous7:45 PM

    It sounds like you got hit up by a good Salesperson.I have been Selling ADVANAGE for the past 10 years. its the best of the best , and i wouldnt buy nothing else. your blog was great.

    if anyone is interested in getting some for themselves. please visit my ADAVANAGE SITE. WWW.ADVANAGECLEANER.COM


  34. I had the same exact guy show up today and talk about the same stuff, and then he said something that got my attention. He said that he is going to Washington State University. I asked him where is the school located, and he said "up there in Vancouver". That was the end of our conversation since up there in Vancouver is in Canada. Good luck suckering someone else.

  35. Umm...Khalid? There IS a Vancouver, Washington, and there IS a Washington State University campus there. Just so you know.

  36. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I had the exact same pitch on my front porch today. I didn't buy.

    I did some research afterwards, and the way the travelling sales crew managers abuse the kids on the crew is awful. Please go to Parentwatch at www.parentwatch.org to learn about it. They have a link to a very informative article from the New York Times as well.

  37. Anonymous6:03 PM

    It's March 10, 2008 at 3:30pm. I just got suckered into buying the Advanage cleaner and decided to do a little more research online when I discovered this blog. My salesperson was really good too. He sprayed the product in his mouth, did the pen mark on the towel bit, and cleaned one of the windows. My guy was named "Diamond West" from Cleveland. I asked how he arrived to Orange County, CA. Got the story of the traveling youth group. I asked where he was staying and he showed me some hotel address in Santa Ana. I only had $30 in cash and he said that was ok because he got tips from some of the other neighbors. So I guess I saved $4.95. I do hope this cleaner works. So far some of the other comments are giving me hope. *^_^*

    1. Anonymous6:54 PM

      Just had the same guy in Binghamton, NY on Aug 17, 2013. He almost had me, until I had the $40 in my hand & realized how much I really did NOT need another bottle of cleaner.

  38. Anonymous8:04 PM

    OK, I know its weird.. I love that product. My mom has bought it since I was a kid and one day this guy shows up selling it door to door and I realized what it was I stopped him in the middle of his sales pitch and bought it.. Its great and yes the way they sell it is super cheesy. Oh well whatever, I just hope he comes back soon as I am almost out.. Mr. advanage salesperson come back to north orange county, ca.

  39. This whole thing is hilarious! The only thing I ever bought from a door-to-door salesperson was a giant calculator in 1995.

    At my old house, these two little fashion-plate Jehovah's Witnesses (seriously the prettiest, tiniest women EVER) would come by every once in a while, and it was always when I was wearing the XXL Wallace & Gromit shirt and looked like a slovenly soul in need of some cleanup work.

  40. Anonymous2:27 PM

    I just bought some Advanage cleaner this weekend; I must've had the same salesman, he used all the same tactics and demonstrations. He was so funny, and I wanted to help him cause he said he was working to save money for college. Now I'm worried.. I gave him a check. Has anyone had a problem with their checks getting washed? I'm also scared to open the bottle... is it lethal?

  41. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Well, I guess I'm a real sucker. I really didn't want to buy anything but I felt so sorry for the sweet black girl who said she'd had a horrible day, etc. and after several in-home demonstrations of problem stains, etc. I bought the whole 3-liter Advanage package for $116. Yeah, sucker with a capital S. Anyway, I'm still not sure how I like it. I'm glad to hear some of you like it. The jury's still out on mine.

  42. Anonymous3:49 AM

    Just today I was approached by the guy's sister who visited Jess. Except she was from Boston and had a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. That was a bit scary to hear since they teach CJ students how the criminal mind works. She had the same smoothness and sales techniques as Jess' salesman! I was sooo close to buying when the sucker in me said you have Shaklee and Melaluca in your pantry already...you don't need more stuff! I love the Shaklee products by the way. Melaluca and their sales crew are at the bottom of the barrel though. Method products from Target work so much better than Melaluca! Jess, thanks for the posting. You truly described the Advanage sales technique to a tee! I will be picking up your books! I loved what you had to say, so I am thoroughly looking forward to reading more of your work.

  43. July 25, 2008
    I just did a search for advanage after having the whole song and dance on my front porch. The driveway, the towel with the pen, the smudge free window, and a lot of uncomfortable "black man" jokes from him.

    His thing was he's displaced from New Orleans hurricane Katrina.

    I felt awful sending him away but when I was still looking at the leaflet he told me he needed it back because it was instructions for buyers. Okay, fine. I told him I was just looking at the website so when I had a job again I might buy some and he quickly took the leaflet back telling me that you can only buy it from the door to door salesmen, other wise they wouldn't have a job. Funny, looking it up that I can indeed buy it online. Oh well. That's what I get for answering the door for a change.

  44. Anonymous4:30 PM

    I have a funny story to add to this blog. Just yesterday I got hit up by the same sales people in Hummelstown, PA The troubled youth story eventually got me, especially because so many of my students are troubled youth. However, I didn't buy without a fight! I whipped out my Shaklee products and went toe-to-toe with this young man. Even he shook his head in amazement and wasn't sure what to say. Especially considering Basic H2 is only 12$ a bottle! We cleaned the moss off the porch, the front windows and the siding! In fact, I almost convinced him to be a Shaklee distributor! HA! I have to say I was impressed by the non-smudging window. In the end, I hoped it went to a good cause and sent the young man off telling him he better do something great with his life. I felt like I got suckered but I am ok with that. I still love my Shaklee stuff more but I'll find some use for the Advanage.

  45. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Thanks for the post. I found it researching the "Advanage" company right after a similar salesman came to my door. I didn't shy away. Guilt doesn't work on me -- I simply asked for his contact information and he couldn't pony up. He had no ID in his wallet, only a picture of the "son" he was trying "so hard to provide for...you can appreciate that". The most I could get from his was a name which he wrote on the brochure. Nice scam though -- who can argue with helping disadvantaged inner city youths right? Final thought: my dad abandoned my mom, sister and I when I was a teenager - 10 years later I had a degree and a decent job. It took a lot of odd and sometimes degrading jobs, but it also made me appreciate life more. Sorry for the soapbox - just trying to say screw these high-minded sales pitches. Get to work, treat people the way you want to be treated, and you will eventually succeed.

  46. Anonymous8:57 PM

    A few days after Xmas, I was hit up by the Avanage people in my driveway. (I'm in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA, area)

    They did the usual demo, washed a window, cleaned grease spots off the driveway, even drank some of it. All the time making noise about harsh chemicals in other products.

    In a weak moment, I bought some. (They even take credit cards now!)

    Not being too pleased with myself, I mopped the floor with it. It actually did a better job than some of the stuff I had been using before....

  47. Anonymous4:02 PM

    wow! This guy came to my door just yesterday and I didnt fall into his cheesy jokes and the product. After reading and doing research on it now I feel like I should of bought it. The demonstrations he did in my home did work..darn I should of bought it!

  48. Anonymous6:31 PM

    He was Conroe TX today I bought 1 bottle. Ya'll said it all I just hope the product works.

  49. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I do agree about how pushy and annoying the door-to-door salespeople can be. When I lived in town,u they would come by at least once a month with something different!! However have you used the Advanage. I live by the stuff. My mother purchased it about 20 years ago. She told the salesperson if you can get this permanent marker off the couch she will buy!! My mom tried everything herself to clean it to no avail! Having her to flip the couch cushion over! The cleaner took it off immediately! I use it for everything from my kitchen to the bathroom, and floors.

  50. Anonymous1:33 AM

    I was confronted by a salesman/conman today trying to sell me this stuff. He cleaned a spot on my car window and a mark on my car. He then offered me to use the stuff and scrub pad he was using on my kitchen sink. That's when I noticed that he had a small piece of steel wool attached to pad. I told him that I did not appreciate the fact he used steel wool on my car. I asked for a business license and he was out of there faster than he moved his mouth. Don't buy this stuff. I used it with a washcloth and the stain did not budge.

  51. Anonymous11:56 PM

    I'm online researching the stuff because I bought it last night, and I wanted to check it out before my 3-day return period ended.

    I actually bought it directly because of the saleswoman's slick patter: I feel, if someone does their job really well, they should be rewarded (especially in the current economic misery), and she was REALLY good at her patter. No sob stories in it, tho. She said she's been out here in CA 3 winters in a row, they ship out from Peoria, IL every winter for 6 months to do their sales. makes sense to me -- I'd hate to try door-to-dooring in the snow!!

    It's pretty clear now that the stuff will work (tho it doesn't actually prevent new fingerprints on the window) from the various comments, so I think I'll keep it!

    Oh, and she says that if you order it online, the original sales rep can continue to get commission if you use the number at the bottom of your original sales slip.

    She was funny, and she continued to pay me compliments even after I handed her the check (always a good sign, I think). Oh, and she was also African-american, but my liberal guilt has been pretty much deadened by the stream of salesmen I get -- living in a dense neighborhood, it's prime target territory. If I start getting the newspaper "for a good cause" pitch, they're done for.

  52. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Well, he came to see me today selling the same product. I USUALLY do not buy from these type of sales people, bt , I had had an energy ( d0g bite) this morning and had been sleeping after takig medication. I hope this stuff works. AT least I told him I would prefer the lavender scent and he quickly retreived it from his van.

  53. I bought, too. I just hope my husband doesn't throw a fit about the price!

  54. Anonymous10:01 AM

    I love your blog on this topic. I love your sense of humor, it's right up my alley. I, too, was recently visited by an African American from... Maryland? I'm from Idaho. He, too, had a quick wit and ability to converse as I unloaded groceries from the car. Because I had cash on hand I decided to fore go (is that even a word) the argument and handed him $40. It works okay, nothing special. But now I have a bad cold and Swine Flu is going around and I'm wishing I would've kept the 40 bucks and put it towards some antibacterial cleaner. Oh, well. I just consider it a donation.

  55. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Hmmmm... they must be working in Idaho lately, since they have been to my house twice in the last two week. My mother in law actually bought some the first time - big mistake, like feeding a stray dog, and lo and behold, they were back a week later. And they are flippin' good - the sales tactics were amazing, compliments, cleaning spots, friendly, calling me Dad, asking if I would ever adopt a black kid, inner city Detroit, tax deductable, paying for college, somebody helped you, please help me, neighbors all bought it, Jesus was kind to everyone, Book of Mormon in the backpack, Mormons are usually nicer, yada, yada, yada, on and on and on with the guilt and humor. After 35 minutes and after I threw out the "Don't you have a 12 passenger van waiting for you somewhere?" bomb, they finally left, one of them kinda angry. Made me a bit nervous, so made sure my legitimate product from Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson was handy for the rest of the night.

  56. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Hey, I'm ex-military, ex-security supervisor, ex 9-1-1 dispatcher, ex-state employee, an avid reader of Consumer Reports and my local newspaper. I check the BBB.org and web reviews before I buy -- EXCEPT when it comes to kids/folks soliciting magazines, cookies, cleaning products, religious beliefs, etc. Then we all have to make a quick social "snap judgement" on if we are going to get ripped off, come off looking like a shmoe, or get a decent product. I remember fund raising door-to-door as a kid, so I still give folks a chance. They enjoy my honesty, and I don't buy anything I wouldn't through some other venue of my own choosing.

    So, I usually figure one of two things. If I got the time, I'll tell them -- hey, I'm not buying, but you can give me your sales pitch if you want -- maybe I'll change my mind. Or the other thing is -- if I can afford the product and I want it, and it seems half way legit, I'll buy it to prevent my house from being egged later that night:-)

    Well, In May 2009 I had the same experience as Jess! Thanks for writing it up so concisely and humorously. These guys (the good sales folk at Advanage cleaner) must all go to the same training seminar. My guy also DRANK the cleaner (from his own sample bottle, of course), stating, "See, non-toxic. It's that safe!"

    I figured this stuff is just apple scented vinegar, but whatever. He then cleaned my screendoor window (it was filthy to begin with, so that was nice), then, when we moved to the back yard so I could keep a closer eye on my kids, he cleaned the rubber sides of my running shoes - weird, but my kids got a kick out of that.

    I've been slowiy buying more biodegradeable, and non-toxic cleaners to use around the family. So, yeah, I dropped $40 (included tax) for a very expensive bottle of cleaner, that the cable show PITCHMEN probably would have sold me for $9.99, and my grandmother probably could have made up in her sink with water and ammonia for $1.

    So, while the kids took a nap, I did some research online about Advanage cleaners -- and found both mixed reviews on the product AND the sales staff. My pitchman would get an A+. As a bonus, I found this great Jess Riley blog/article -- which was worth the price of the cleaner alone!

  57. I had the exact thing happen to me today. After forking out some money, I went online and found that it was a scam of some sort. I guess they can harass you and drain your account dry according to my research on the net. So, I immediately went to the bank and closed my checking account. I also called the police dept. and they are looking into it. We will see what comes of it. I have the product of wonder cleaner sitting on my front step in case they want it back considering their check is null-in-void.

  58. So I was really looking up information about this company that I am sure is pimping these inner city kids because they take room and board out of their daily sales, if they are fortunate to have any, and if they don't have any, they don't eat. Just room. And last night they left one here. Seriously, he missed the bus, quite literally, and this is a small town (think no stop lights, in the middle of Indiana). The kid had no cell phone and the Ramada Inn they were staying at was 45 minutes away! I let him use the phone, made him a sandwich and glass of milk (I not only have mid-Western guilt, I had children and could just imagine one of mine being stranded in some strange town. Oh, did I mention, yes, he was black and no, there aren't any here as this is still a small enough town to resemble Mayberry the TV show 40 years ago?). To make a long story short, by 11:30 no one responsible for him had yet left the hotel (they kept claiming they had to check everyone else in first) and my husband and I were beginning to wonder what to do with him, so we took him to the hotel. Yes, at 11:30 at night. He rambled all the way home, calling us Mom and Dad and saying how BOLD it was that they just up and left him like that. My husband and I debated all the way home whether this really helped these kids, whether this was worse than migrant workers being taken advantage of (think, small town, summer day, middle of BFE, no food, water, or bathroom???? WTF??), and all sorts of other things about the scamming, etc. that was going on. I've read a few of the posts, and according to this kid, they are taught to use those cute phrases and never take no for an answer. My question is, if they're this damn good, why aren't they being hired by legitimate companies. Two reasons I can tell you. Both answers came from the kid: One: he's black. Two: he can't pass a drug test. Think on either one. this isn't me talking, this was him. And yes, I bought a bottle of the cleaner. I admired his spunk and courage.

  59. Anonymous2:45 PM

    I worked for this company. They are a real bad bunch of people. The owner nathan edwards has this big song and dance about helping inner city kids, but its just a front for tax reasons. The people that work for them have warrants in states all accross the country. A few have been charged for rape, murder and robbery. Not at home, but while they were going door to door. I saw an ad online about a traveling sales job, and I thought it would be a fun job for the summer. I was the only white guy on the whole crew. I had to leave my things at the front desk of the hotel while i was working because on the first day I found ten people going through my bag. Nathan edwards right hand man is a pimp from chicago and they have alot of links to criminal activites. Some past employees have robbed banks and did home invasions while working. I am not saying this in any kind of a racial way, I worked for them. They also recruit white girls from whatever town they are about to leave and these girls are used by the top sales men and then once they get bored they are left on the side of the road without any money just the clothes they are wearing. Keep in mind they are 1000's of miles from home. If anyone reads this plese tekll your friends and DO NOT BUY... its the only way to shut them down.

    1. Anonymous1:11 PM

      thats a bunch of b.s i been workin 4 them 4 ten years and am very successfull its not at all a scam putting honest americans to work orset them lose to this economy and welfare .....wat a dream come true the right wing american has a problem with hard work and acccountability my daughter lives a better life because of mr .edwards get your facts right,plus im a caucassion male who sells proudly advange20x charles rice

  60. I don't really see the problem with these young people selling door to door, albeit the state of the world today demands due diligence when anyone knocks on your door. That being said I brought a bottle of this cleaner last summer. The stuff work excellent, the company has a legit website, customer service and brick and mortar HQ... I don't see the problem. As far as the rape, I'd think if you researched any home service industry, you'd find some crimminal activity. I don't condone it, but it is a fact. I think the real problem with door to door sales is demograhic.

  61. Anonymous12:24 PM


    I had one of these young women call at my home yesterday. Nice kid from Shreveport, La. And she really was nice. She told me she hated the work. I already knew about the mistreatment thing (it's one of the reasons they are across the country, a version of the company store).

    If you are wondering *why* they are so effective do a web search on two things:
    1. NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming
    2. A book called 'The Nature of Influence' by Robert Cialdini. It describes the social rules we follow without thinking about it.

    Abused, these two are deadly for sales prospects' resistance.

    So, I know NLP, and I've read Cialdini. I didn't buy any product (I can go to the local 99 cent store and buy Awesome for a dollar a bottle, and it is awesome).

    This young woman told me that she just ignored the training because she wasn't like that (she *really* was nice) and that she hated what she was doing. In order to use these techniques you have to think of the sales prospect as less than human, just someone to use, as they are completely manipulative. She didn't use any NLP (or she was *much* better than I am) but she did use the Cialdini (that's the sob story, the cleaning, the patter, etc.).

    My breakdown of the $37 is as follows:
    $5 for the product (or less)
    $8 for the rep (she told me)
    $8 for the pimp (from every rep)
    $16 for the company

    Pretty standard pyramid scheme.

    I asked her if they were abusing her, and she said the worst she'd seen was a slap. I asked if they were forcing her to turn tricks, and she said no, and that she wouldn't stand for that.

    I ended up giving her some money (they probably took it from her, but what the hey, have to try) and a lot of advice.

  62. Anonymous1:30 PM

    A post script. Advanage isn't the only outfit that uses these techniques. Every (that's right, every) door to door salesman that comes to my house uses these techniques.

    So, for those people who don't answer the door, you are right on the money. If you don't have these skills and knowledge (NLP, nature of influence), your interaction with the sales person is like the interaction between a primary school student and a special forces soldier intent on stealing the student's candy. You don't stand a chance.

    There is no shame in not answering your door so you won't be taken advantage of. When they say, 'I see you', say 'I see you too, and I'm not interested'. No guilt, no shame. Don't hide, just tell them plainly you are not interested. You didn't invite them to your door, you owe them no obligation.

    If someone came to your door with a big stick in their hand and said, "Come out here so I can give you a beating.", would you do it? Of course not. This is the same thing.

  63. Ashley10:41 AM

    I just wanted to say that I work for a company in Michigan that is just getting started and we're beginning to sell OUR cleaning product, TRS. The only way we can start this off is door-to-door, and these Advanage people are making it harder on those of us who are honest sales reps. Two things I don't condone with these advanage sales reps: they DRINK what they're selling...never a good sign, and they tell sob stories. Those are two VERY unprofessional things to do. And I can tell you right now, every single cleaning product out there has at least one or two toxic chemicals, even if in minute measures. But they can still be eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable. Even on the bottle of this cleaning product it says: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Really? I am a young mother myself trying to start out, but I would never use that in my sales pitch. That's very personal information that could one day be used against you. I agree with many of you, don't buy the product and it will one day eventually have to shut down. My boss actually had someone from advanage come into the office and "clean" a part of the glass on our door. There's still a white film there. I have to say, this company, after all the research I've done, is very unprofessional and unethical.

    1. Anonymous3:29 PM

      Then you will never be a good sales person and most likely have gotten fired from your job. Clearly being a sales person is not your line of work.

  64. Chris6:52 PM

    My salesman caught me on the sidewalk going to my neighbor's house to borrow a ladder. Cleaned the dirty wheels on my wife's SUV, cleaned the grout in my tile. I bought a bottle, more because I felt bad for him than I really needed it. I hope it works though.

  65. I'm in agreement with James. Do NOT Buy Advanage from the salesmen. I was one of them as well. "If you don't sell, you don't eat" is their very real motto. Especially if it's T&B Sales owned and operated by Tim Burgess. I didn't want to do the job after I'd finally learned what it was I was going to be doing. I was told I had to earn the money to go back home. They stole hundreds of dollars from me, and alot of my stuff, and when I complained about it, they stranded me out in Norman, OK. Home was in Virginia. Thank god for small favors, my brother was stationed at Cannon, AFB in Clovis, NM at the time. He drove the 6 hours to rescue me. I love the product, but HATE the representatives. Buy online! And tell anyone from T&B Sales that Bryan is looking for TIM and wants his money back.

    I would also like to commend Jeanna for her courage and concern. It took great compassion to take a total stranger into her home. I wish someone in Norman, OK had had that kind of strength. I'm white and I had to walk from Norman, to Moore before someone, a young Airman, picked me up and took me the rest of the way to the hotel which was in Oklahoma City.

  66. Anonymous9:35 PM

    advanage wonder cleaner.. a fast talking african american male.. full of compliments. loved my dogs,told me this product was so safe that i can eat, drink, wash my dogs with it and yet it cleaned effortlessely, whatever he had in his bottle is deffinately not what i bought...helping inner city youth...T&B sales took me for 160.00, you have three days to cancel for a refund but could not contact a soul, reading about this company on the internet on how writing them a check gave them access to my checking account and routing number and the possibilty of being wiped out has me with many sleepless night.. have a blessed day he said.. more like hellish days and nights now.

  67. Hi, just visited your blog first time, and found it quite interesting. Nice post indeed. Thanks for sharing it to all
    Carpet Cleaning NY

  68. Anonymous10:00 PM

    I was visited by one of these salesman just yesterday. We live out in the country and I was reluctant to let him in my house, we don't get door to door salesman here, so I stayed outside. I must say that after reading all the posts here I am grateful that I did not purchase anything from him or let him in. He basically did a dance and song, told me how young I looked and then licked the product off of the sprayer nozzle. I was kind of uneasy as he tried to sell me his products. As I looked closer, I noticed that he was covered from head to toe in gang related tattoos. One thing I have learned is that I will never open my door again to a stranger.

  69. Got the same pitch. I talked with him on the front porch with my 5 kids watching. The ONLY reason I even talk with these people is to show my kids how to say "NO" no matter what people tell you. He was nice though. No inner city garbage. He did try the 'you just have to try it' tactic which I, of course, said 'no, I don't HAVE to try anything'. He also tried the statistics of cost comparison. I replied with 'statistics also show that the average credit card debt is 8,000. I don't have any'. Nice guy.
    Also to one of the anonymous posters, just because they had a Book of Mormon in their pack doesn't mean they actually know anything about it or are even Mormon. You can get them lots of places.

  70. No white guilt here. I didn't do anything to feel guilty for.

  71. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Just came by my house in Cordova, TN... second time in two weeks those Advanage people have visited. Wasn't interested in their product either time. No WLG thanks.

  72. Fort Worth Texas. The black salesman claimed to be from Atlanta. He was very smooth.

    Hey -- the stuff works for some things, though. He tried to sell me two bottles. Screw that. Bought one.

    I shoulda known better, but at least I hedged my bets.

  73. Anonymous1:00 AM

    I usually avoid door-to-door sales, because 10 times out of 10 they are overpriced, a scam, and a poor company behind the product. This situation is no different. I reluctantly purchased 2 bottles because I need to pressure wash my house. Salesman demonstrated the product. It cleaned everything, but he used a hard bristle brush and a steel wire brush to clean concrete. With these tools, almost any cleaner is going to scrub off the dirt. But I have to say the cleaner does work very well. And the 2 salespeople were very personable and polite--perhaps because I didn't say no thanks.

    But I had so many problems I have to say AVOID THIS COMPANY, say thanks but no thanks. First, it's overpriced. $36.95 for one bottle, you can get the same amount of simple green for about $10.00. Second, the salesman overcharged me. Two bottles are $64.95. Local tax is 9.75% ($6.33) for a total of $71.28. Salesman wrote $64.95 subtotal, left tax and total blank, and charged me $73.00. Dummy me should have noticed right away it was odd for it to come out to exactly $73. My neighbor also bought a 2-pack and was charged $73. Where is this extra money going? Into salespersons pockets, extra profit from the company? I called the company several times and left messages about the overcharge but no one ever answered and no one returned my calls. They said that part of the profits benefited children in inner cities but they were not clear how and the website only says "...helping young people, from the inner cities of America, learn discipline, learn how to cope with life’s uncertainties, and learn how to make a living." To me, it sounds like the kids benefit from working for the company, and the company pockets all of the profits.

    After purchasing it I went online and read the company reviews. People spoke of salespeople cursing and yelling if you said no or tried to return your product while they were still in the area. People said they shipped the product back and never received a refund. Those that listed their bank account number for an e-check found their bank accounts drained. Can't say if these are true but from my personal experience, I say AVOID AVOID AVOID!

    If you find yourself in this situation with any company, ask for a brochure or company website, and ask them to come back the next day or say you will order over the phone/web. You can say you always check a company's reputation before buying something. That way the salesperson gets the commission, and you can buy it if you want it.

  74. Anonymous1:01 AM

    I reluctantly purchased 2 bottles because I need to pressure wash my house. Salesman demonstrated the product. It cleaned everything, but he used a hard bristle brush and a steel wire brush to clean concrete. With these tools, almost any cleaner is going to scrub off the dirt. But I have to say the cleaner does work very well. And the 2 salespeople were very personable and polite--perhaps because I didn't say no thanks.

    But I had so many problems I have to say AVOID THIS COMPANY, say thanks but no thanks. First, it's overpriced. $36.95 for one bottle, you can get the same amount of simple green for about $10.00. Second, the salesman overcharged me. Two bottles are $64.95. Local tax is 9.75% ($6.33) for a total of $71.28. Salesman wrote $64.95 subtotal, left tax and total blank, and charged me $73.00. Dummy me should have noticed right away it was odd for it to come out to exactly $73. My neighbor also bought a 2-pack and was charged $73. Where is this extra money going? Into salespersons pockets, extra profit from the company? I called the company several times and left messages about the overcharge but no one ever answered and no one returned my calls. They said that part of the profits benefited children in inner cities but they were not clear how and the website only says "...helping young people, from the inner cities of America, learn discipline, learn how to cope with life’s uncertainties, and learn how to make a living." To me, it sounds like the kids benefit from working for the company, and the company pockets all of the profits.

  75. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I bought some of Advange product in 2009 from a comedic african american salesman. 2010 rolls around and I get another sales person...just in time as I had run out of product...He didn't need to sell me on the product, as I knew it worked.

    After I agreed to purchase product, salesperson told me they didn't have the product that I wanted, but would deliver in the next day or so...I just needed to leave the bottles to be replaced by my front door.

    Just as my intuition told me...I was being played. They never delivered product I wanted.

    Advanage Wonder Cleaner has lost a customer for life and I will now never purchase anything from a door to door salesperson again.

    So thank you helping me to stereotype african americans who sell anything.

    Salesperson told me his name was Kennedy Jackson.

    My advice, if Advanage Wonder Cleaner shows up at your front door just say no thank you.

  76. Anonymous5:46 AM

    A young African-American man knocked on my door yesterday. He let himself in because one of my roommates never shuts the front door to our apartment. As soon as I saw him he said, "I'm a good guy, not a bad guy"... Then he said, "I'm selling soap, not dope!" He began to clean things in my apartment with his wonder cleaning product. When he tried to remove a grape juice stain from the carpet I knew it was a scam because it did not remove the stain. I told him several times that I did not have money. He also began to tell me about how the money goes towards the "youth program" and that he was doing it for his daughter. He told me that he would be embarrassed in front of the other salespeople if I didn't buy at least one bottle from him. I told him thanks for cleaning but that I was not going to buy any of it. He literally put the order pad in my hand and gave me a pen. Finally after about the 4th time of telling him I wasn't interested, he left. But that was no the end of it. He came to my apartment today and knocked on the door again. This time I locked the door and didn't let him in...

  77. You know what? Friend of mine ... (happens to be black) told the same story when he brought IT (lavender Advanage) to my house with a rusty chrome wheel which he was going to pit against my rusty chrome wheel. I dabbed some straight from the bottle on a rag and cleaned both wheels in 10 minutes, tops. Then we smoked a dube. He took his wheel and his near empty bottle ( I barely used any - honest).

  78. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Our advanage salesman had similar tactics. Regardless, I absolutely LOVE the product - and can't seem to get any more! I have two boys who are always getting grass, chocolate, spaghetti, you-name-it stains on their clothes...advanage is the ONLY thing that gets rid of it all. wish they'd come back!

  79. I googled Advanage, and I ended up at your post. Oh, the irony...I got online to see if I could find how to purchase *more* Advanage. We've been using the same bottle for almost 3 years, and it's finally almost gone.

    We love it, and we use it for EVERYTHING - carpets, mirrors, couch stains, and the million little stains that toddlers can create in the 2 minutes that a mommy takes to go potty!

  80. Sounds like the same guy who conned me out of $110 for 3 bottles. I tried to clean the things he cleaned with HIS bottle and it didn't work, I'd say I was really, really conned. It costs $35 to cancel a check, I called to complain and of course got the run around, you have to write a letter to get your refund and send back the product, etc., etc. Boy, do I feel like a fool.


  81. Anonymous9:16 PM

    Honestly, I bought this Advanage product last week. The salesman was so "out there" that he humored me with his talking that I just couldn't help it. I told him that I just couldn't get over his personality. I was really skeptical. I kept refuting everything he was trying to tell him and i was really cynical and he just kept it up being really friendly. He asked me alot of questions about my family and my house that made me a little uncomfortable, but I was so charmed (and I wanted him to leave) so I bought the bottle. I also asked him a million questions like where he was from, who he lived with, why he was working for this company, etc. After he left i was skeptical so I came online and did some research. He asked me to make the check out to some person's name which I asked him who it was and he said it was his boss. I started to freak out when I saw that people had said the company steals your identity and empties your bank account. I called my bank and asked them to red flag it and they said they couldn't do that. So, I moved most of my account into another account. The check was cashed a few days ago for the correct amount. I've been checking on it every day. Things look normal. I just used the product and it cleans really well! I have to say that I just cleaned my whole dirty kitchen with the product and a paper towel in 5 minutes. I think this stuff is worth $40 and if I don't end up having my account emptied then I'm as happy as pie. I don't like people coming door to door though and probably wouldn't buy it again from a door to door salesman. The guy caught me at my mailbox or I wouldn't have answered the door. I just don't like to be haggled. It's not fair.

    1. Anonymous3:32 PM

      I also bought Advanage; paid with a check that was cashed for the proper amount and like the product.
      My salesman was funny, personable and charming. I really liked him and hope that he does well. Good luck!

  82. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I've been using this stuff for l5 years. I love it and it ends up being about $1 per diluted spray bottle.

  83. Missing a tooth "Sunny" just left my door and now I'm out $40 bucks! Although, it did just disolve whatever the nasty stuff on my saltwater boat is, so I think I might be a believer! This guys sales pitch was AMAZING. I mean, AMAZING! He had me laughing and told me I could pay him in chicken wings! What can I say, I'm a sucker. Also... this stuff better work!

  84. After reading this post, I think I am going to have to start following your blog. "Damn you, white liberal guilt! DAMN YOU!!!" Classic!

    I was able to say no to the salesperson who stopped by my house, but damn if I wasn't filled with guilt after telling here I wasn't interested. She had tried (and failed) to clean some residue off my front door, and I stopped her before she could start on the windows. She was nice, and I hate to feel like I'm not helping people out in these rough times, but there's something about door to door sales that I just can't support.

    Well...with the exception of Girl Scouts and their cookies. I always seem to have a decent amount of spare cash laying around for a dozen boxes of Tagalongs.

  85. Anonymous4:52 PM

    I just had one of these salesmen leave my house. I was very skeptical and was about to dismiss him until he said to pick ANY stain and he'd get it out. "Any stain? Ok, come here!" This stain had been in my cream colored carpet since before we moved in a year and a half ago and I had tried everything short of pouring straight bleach on it!! He sprayed his magical spray and scrubbed with a heavy duty brush and wiped it away. I have to say, so far it looks as if the stain is gone! Of course, after spending 2 hours at the grocery store this morning and having 4 children, I am not about to spend $40 on a bottle of cleaner! I just can't afford it right now. However, if this stain stays gone and my hubby gets a little overtime, this week, I might have to hunt down this entertaining young man and buy a bottle (with cash- I'm not giving out my checking information to an inner city kid from Dallas with 2 tear drops tattooed under his eye!) If this stuff works and lasts 3-4 years like he says and like I read in an above comment, then that is a great deal!!

  86. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Well, the've reached Oklahoma! Same exact sales pitch, same exact sale! LOL

    I did make him wait while I ran to the ATM though, was not giving him a check or worse credit card.

    If I owned a sales company, I would hire Advanage sales people for sure! They are GREAT at what they do!

  87. Anonymous7:39 PM

    I found your blog post after doing a little searching around for this product because I had just watched this video of one of the sales guys:


  88. I just watched a video of one of these guys. there great at what they do....and as for the cost..we waste more than that on stupid junk ever month any way. sounds like a great deal to me.the entertainment us worth ever penny. just wish one of these guys would come to my door, I'd recruit him right away.

  89. Anonymous2:31 PM

    I think the same kid was at my house yesterday. Although there is no soliciting in our subdivision, I listened to his sales pitch, amused and entertained to no end. He actually drank some of this magic potion to prove to me that it is safe and non-toxic. I would have normally told him to go away, and advise him of the no soliciting ordinance, but he worked so very hard to make the sale. Yes, it took magic marker off his towel, yes he cleaned the glass on my car with no streaks, yes he took mold off my driveway, and he cleaned one of the wheels of brake dust on my car. I probably didn't get a product any better than what I could find at the dollar store. But I did buy some apple green potion to reward the kid for his efforts. At least he was out trying to make something of himself, and putting forth a tremendous effort to win me over. I used some this morning to clean the stainless steel sink, and it is bright and shiny. I guess it is a win-win all around.

  90. Anonymous11:15 PM

    I bought this product today from a 20 something ex-gang-banger. He had prison tats and a gunshot scar. I knew right from the beginning that everything he was about to tell me was a lie. He tried many tricks such as: the finger-streak trick, and the solution drinking trick. He tried and failed to clean an oil stain on my driveway, but still tried to convince me of the homeopathic potency of his solution. He tried to close me for 45 dollars but failed. I paid him 10 dollars for half a bottle of the solution, but I threw it out after he left. Why did I do it? My thinking was that I would rather ex-gang-bangers sell useless crap door to door to make money than continue to commit serious crimes such as murder, rape etc.

  91. Anonymous11:01 AM

    That's funny... I found your blog online today, because I was trying to find the website for Advanage, so I can buy more. It's been about a year or more since I ran out of the bottle I bought from the guy at my door (very similar to the guy you described). Only, Advanage did a GREAT job on my windows, counters, took rust off my patio and TAR OFF MY CAR without damaging a thing. Seriously, I've been MISSING this stuff for over a year.
    Sometimes... you uncover jems in the least likely of places! After this post, I'm going to buy another bottle of this concentrated Apple cleaner (wish I had the salesman's info, so he could get credit for it).
    FYI, next time the Mormons come to your door, answer it naked. They will leave on their own and you won't be asked to get involved in any conversations then or in the future. :)

  92. I'm a hardass when it comes to these guys. I bought a bottle of that stuff years ago and I guess the product was OK, though overpriced. I was sold when the guy got sharpie off the wall with it.

    Another one came by a few months ago, he seemed a bit sketchy but at that time both my 6' sons and my dog happened to be there so I wasn't worried. He was trying to lay that pitch on me and I heard his stomach rumble. I said, look I'll be honest, there is no way I'll buy that but I do have a big mess of leftover barbeque would you like some? I invited him to sit down at the dining room table and I heated a plate for him and he washed it down with a huge glass of OJ. I watched him like a hawk throughout the whole procedure.

    Then just yesterday one of those guys was cruising just when I happened to be loading my dog in the pickup. He claimed Advanage would keep fleas ticks and mites off my pet for 10 days. I decided to go along with it just to get rid of him. Well it's not flea/tick season right now and mites I don't know about He told me to go inside and dilute the stuff in the spray bottle he was carrying. I did it forgetting I had just put my backpack in the truck and left it unlocked. However there were a bunch of neighbors out and there was also crew working on my roof. Anyway I am pleased to note nothing was disturbed. He had me spray the dog then dry it off and after I brushed her out her fur was softer however I'm pretty sure the product is not recommended for use on animals. I give that guy high marks for imagination, and his sales pitch was the usual. I just told him my usual against that pitch.

    Look, I say, I am an engineer. We are a special breed. Those pitches don't work on us, so save it. We are about hard data and we always do research before buying anything and we never buy anything on the spot. That's just how we are. You can use that line too even if you're not an engineer.

  93. P.S. That second young guy, the one I fed, while he was eating he tried to score some weed off my sons right in front of me. (Remember I was watching him like a hawk.) I said to him: you are clearly not too bright my friend, because in case you hadn't noticed these are not your homies and this is not your turf and you have no idea who we are and vice versa. Even if my boys were dealers they wouldn't sell weed to you because they don't know you. Luckily we are not going to nark you but I tell you with all good intention that it is a very bad idea to try to score weed off of strangers.

  94. Anonymous4:46 PM

    I have a small amount in a bottle. Have no idea where I got it, but it is under my sink.

    Today I poured my bottle of soy sauce into a measuring cup so I could wash the bottle, as it had so much soy sauce on the inside of the glass that you couldn't see where the level was.

    I tried hot soapy water. Nothing happened. Vinegar (maybe it was stain particles mixed with hard water scale), nothing happened. Tried Simple Green. Nothing. By now I was challenged and didn't care if the bottle dissolved, so I poured in some toilet bowl cleaner. No results. Ammonia. Zilch.

    I tried scrubbing the inside with an old toothbrush, then a bottle brush. It left some clear scratches. So I stuck a finger in and where I could rub the brown crud, it would smear off. It seemed greasy, so I tried a grease solvent. I tried filling it with boiling water. It just wouldn't let go. Citric acid crystals (which are good to neutralize toilet bowl water in hard water areas if you're going away for days). Didn't do a thing.

    So I poured about a tablespoon of green apple Avantage and swished it around. Instantly -- I mean INSTANTLY -- it turned brown as it cleared away the brown crud.

    Then I tried doing the same thing to my Teriyaki bottle -- poured out the contents and poured in the SAME liquid from the soy sauce bottle, and miracle of miracles -- it washed away the similar stuff on the Teriyaki bottle.

    Well, after all those chemicals I didn't want to use the bottles any more (even though they look crystal clean) and found a small jar for each.

    Now I want more Advanage, which is how I ended up on this page. I never had a door-to-door salesperson come by. I guess I'll order from their web site.

  95. Salt lake city1:12 PM

    Well it's now April 2012 and I got one of these same crazy sales kid at my door in Utah. Same tactics and pitch you wrote about. She would not leave or take NO for an answer. I ended up buying one bottle for 20.00 just so she would leave and then she asked if she could please just sit and rest a few minutes and have a glass of water. At that point i was so out of my element i let her stay 10 more minutes and she saw our piano and went over and played and sang a pretty gospel tune. I have NEVER bought anything from a door to door salesperson before. Glad I payed cash. She did give a sob story that this company is the only thing that saved her from being homeless after escaping an abusive relationship (Guilt). I still dont know how she got from my step into my house, it was sneaky and quick, it was dark outside and i was alone with my two babies. Just wanted to post my experience since i think others are like me and after they make the purchase, feel uneasy and violated, will google the product and find this site. You are not alone! the blog made me laugh at the situation though.

  96. Anonymous8:40 AM

    Just had the same thing happen to me by a magazine salesman.....

    If it happens again.....if there are any "no soliciting" signs around, tell them, andi if they say they are aware of them, tell them that now that they know, they are officially trespassing....and if any of the neighbors call the police, theyWILL be arrested.

    Having said that......I feel bad for these kids, as they are being taken advantage of by the company they work for. If you like them and fall for it, simply say, " I don't need that crap at a 150% markup. Here is your commission in cash.". Give them the money, and keep a keep an old used copy of Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" around the house to give them.

    Tell them that this is the most important sales call of their life. "I don't care that you are from Detroit......you were born in the greatest country on earth. Some of the wealthiest people on the planet were born poor, and only in America can one do that. THe first African American graduated from Harvard in1860.....and we have a black president. Don't let your scummy bosses tell you that you have no chance."

    Tell them (if they are good) that they should at least be selling Mercedes Benzes.....

    They may not be able to get another job if they are ex cons.......tell them, well, YOU might never have a great job....but imagine how proud you'll be when your son or daughter is named chief of surgery at U of Chicago Med School.....and how proud they'll be of you!

  97. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Had this happen to my wife yesterday. She bought a bottle to get the guy to go away. Would not have happened if I was home at the time. We live in Utah. They are among us now!!!!

  98. Anonymous2:52 PM

    I love the product and that the company hires inner city youth, trains them and helps them work for a better life, that is the best part in my opinion. I bought this cleaner yesterday (lavender) and I love it! The girls who sold it to me were very professional and friendly. So much so that I called the company today and passed along a compliment to their supervisor.

  99. Anonymous12:07 AM

    I have my own cleaning business. I am always on the lookout for a "greener" cleaning product since I spend all day around it. If it works as he said....will be cheaper than any other "green" product. Crossing my fingers!

  100. Anonymous9:26 AM

    All of these comments are right from the company. I worked for these scumbags. The owner nathan edwards works his people 12 hours a day 6 days a week and pays them nothing. I do not know how he and the chicago pimp partner are not in jail. Its disgusting. Calling the labor department. Also u can get the same stuff at the dollar store for a buck.

  101. That is really awesome and very interesting post i like your post its amazing thanks for sharing that stuff with us.

  102. First off, let me say that 4 days ago a magazine sales kid came by to sell magazines to earn points for a trip. I already know these magazines are terribly overpriced and chances are they will never arrive in my mailbox. I told him thanks, but no thanks. He then said to me that I live in a nice house and drive a nice car, it must suck to be so broke. How about if he comes back with a bag of food so my baby doesn't starve? At that point, I basically told him to get off my porch.

    Fast forward to today. A very nice African American young man stopped by as my husband and I were in the driveway and did his spiel about Advanage. Very impressive spiel too. So I asked him if he minded that I go in the house and research his product. He said absolutely and he would come back later. I found this blog while I was trying to find out about the product. I laughed about the Midwest People Pleasing upbringing. I was torn. To buy or not to buy. After reading all of comments it seemed that only about 25% of commenters liked the product and would buy again. He really was a very good, upbeat, positive salesman. But I had to turn him down. He really did catch us in between paychecks.

  103. Anonymous3:05 AM

    The guy at my doorstep tried the white guilt on me too. But he said it in a weird way, he asked me "Do you like crime and violence?"... I said "excuse me?"... he repeated the same line then added that money towards the sale goes towards keeping kids out of trouble. Of course with no details. It didn't work on me. Oddly he came back about an hour later, mumbled something about my citrus tree and turned around and left. Both times my neighbor said he skipped his house. It was the weirdest door-to-door salesman interaction I've ever had.

  104. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Well Jess I commend you for taking a Pause for the cause...lol I am a former ADVANAGE sales ass. And have dished out just as much. I want you to know that these kids or Adults that come to your door really believe in what they sell and to add to that ADVANAGE really works. I have been out of the door to door game for a long time about 12 years. But a person like me that Innercity youth that all of your fans speak off its real. With out that company or compaines like it some children will never be able to leave where they COME from. I am proud of what you bloged about.(yourexperience) because it means that some of them are taking away great life experiences like I did... for the rest of you awww... The reason I Found your blog is because I am about to do some hiring for the company. (FORFREE) because where I come from these kids still need a break and a chance and although my Husband has a great career at one of The Big 3! I still remember where I came from and how Door to Door to door changed my life. unlike your fans I met Beautiful Open people who invited me in their home like they have known me my whole life some of the Richest People in the world to the Poorest, Mexicans, Asians, Indians, Chinesse, Arabs, Greeks, and yes In Whites... from Florida to Arizona, to Washington to Minesotta, to Michigan and eveything in between. Ha Ive been there baby...and to add I wasent a Innercity youth I came straight Out of Highschool from a good home with great Black parents and knew I wanted to travel and my Parents could not afford it. Lil Black girl with a goal that Advanage filled. Ha

  105. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Oh my god. I just did a google search on this company. Austin difersified products run by nathan edwards has a horrible record. One of his workers raped a 13 year old girl when he was going door to door selling this cleaner. Not only did he rape her but he did it in front of two children and she was holding a baby. The story made me cry. If you see these people call the cops. My daughter is home alone and I am at work. I pray to god these people are not in my town

  106. Price has apparently gone up $5 in the past 5 years; I just bought a bottle of the citrus variety off a friendly dreadlocked Georgian who came to my door in Wisconsin.

    He demo'd it by coming up to my bathroom and using steel wool on the inner bowl of the porcelain toilet; I had told him I'd buy a bottle if his product could get rid of the hard water build up. Lo and behold, it did, and he got my check.

    Plenty of horror stories out there about Advanage; I definitely feel like $46.15 (including tax) is quite a rip for even a concentrated bottle of cleaning solvent, but he told me that he gets 30%-50% of the sale price depending on how many sales he makes, so I hope young Reginald (who's actually only 6 months younger than I) has good fortune.

  107. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Renton, WA

    Just had a young man come to my door yesterday selling the Advanage cleaning products he did the same drinking and permanent marker trick. He asked a lot of personal questions like who lives with you, are you chinese... why does it matter?

    I had my screen door locked when talking to him and he asked me if I was home alone and I mistakenly said yes. It made me feel really uncomfortable that he kept trying to pressure me to open the screen door. First, offering me a flyer, then a sample and finally a stain cleaning. I just flat out told him I'm NOT going to open this screen door for him and he lectured me on how I need to be more trusting of others. He gave off a super creepy vibe and was rude.

    After reading all these comments and other reviews on different websites I'm kinda glad I didn't buy it from him.

  108. Anonymous5:48 PM

    The stuff works on pet odor. I don't know that it is worth what I paid, but it works, and yes I went through the same sales pitch and demonstrations. Have to say I liked this guy better than most that come to my door. :)

  109. Anonymous1:14 AM

    "Larry" came by this afternoon... The crew was knocking on doors in our neighborhood in Baraboo. He talked a li'l about himself... mentioned he had a 6 year old & that he was 43. Very polite. Towards the end of his pitch- I mentioned that my hubby used to sell Kirby's, so I already knew a li'l something about how door-to-door worked (or didn't). He reluctantly left me a brochure... and, included his name & number. I explained that I was unwilling to make a purchase without my hubby's blessing. H said he understood & wished me well. The product seemed legit, & no inner alarms were going off while he was on my doorstep. It began to rain & I invited him in to talk in the doorway with the door open. After reading the post, the only thing that makes me mildly nervous was that I volunteered too much 411... He said he's from Chicago. Whatever his story really is- I wish him well... We moved here from outside the Charleston-area in SC. At least once a year, we'd get visited by the van-load of magazine sales people. I would report their visit to our local police... Until I read the comments- I hadn't read anything negative about Advanage. I'll have to sleep on whether or not to make a report about the local group...

  110. Anonymous2:59 PM

    A young lady selling Advanage just came by today (Jan. 18, 2013) here in The Woodlands, Texas. Very hard-sell approach. I had to ask her three times not to spray any part of my wife's brand new car. Not sure what this says about me, but I felt more guilty about the fact that there were so many places that needed cleaning on my porch than I did for telling her no thank you. Someone on another blog mentioned that the solution in the bottle they use may not be the same solution as you end up buying. Of course, it could have been green food coloring and water, since she used a steel brush to clean the bricks.

  111. Anonymous12:24 AM

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  112. Yesterday we experienced an eerily similar encounter.
    My mother is a sucker for scams, always falling for several every year.

    The gentleman left with $120
    We were left with 4 bottles of colorful watered down dish soap that contains a "special emulsion agent" that hilariously has the exact effects and description of ....dish soap!

    Under their current name, there aren't many criminal charges and scam reports, but under their previous name you will find hundreds of reports from those who fell for it.

    If anyone is reading this, avoid this company like the plague and don't fall for the fake accounts giving this product a 5/5 review and praising it like it's the second coming of Christ.

  113. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I just got suckered into buying this stuff today! So I was looking it up online to see what the reviews were. All the Amazon reviews are "Great" but I'm wondering how many of those people are salesmen.

    Got the same story from "Leton Bush"...and your story pretty much described me to a t...only I took the extra step trying to avoid him. I was just driving home from picking my son up at daycare, when I saw this obvious salesman walking out of my neighbors driveway. So I kept driving, stopped at the local gas station, then turned around to come home where I could run inside and lock the door! Well, apparently he must have sold some to another neighbor...or he was lurking behind the trash can...because after getting my son unloaded from the car and greeting our outdoor cat, he came sauntering into my driveway?!?! AHHHHH!!! I so did not want to deal with that and tried to get my brain to work to come up with an excuse...but none came. He didn't tell me that he was a struggling student or youth group or anything like that, but he definitely had charm. He gave me several compliments and even went so far as to ask how long my husband and I had been married. Still I resisted, but then he hit me with it being his 40th birthday, and showed me his "Driver's License" to prove it. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY NO TO HIM NOW?!?!...Well, I continued to hym and haw over it, but in the end I bought a bottle...really hope it works, because it would be nice to have something that wouldn't be toxic for cleaning around little ones.

    P.S. It's makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one that avoids unknowns at my door like the plague :)

  114. Anonymous1:18 PM

    I personally worked fir t&b sales, one of several terrible companies. to peddle this product. these. companies hire any random thug off the street as a man who witnessed these thugs harrassing a 80 something. year old woman threatening. to kill her because she was not interested i caution you strongly to never answer your door for a well dressed man with a docket in hand and a green, purple, or clear spray can and a brush hanging from his pockets, if you want to buy the product please do it online however i advise you to simply find a product you can buy at your local store to keep your private info safe

  115. I don't know about the youth program or whether employees are treated poorly, but I LOVE, love, LOVE this product. I've used it to revive clothing that was stained beyond all normal products. My husband had a shirt that had turned green from something else in his load of wash. It went through the dryer and was good and set in. I sprayed it with my usual stain remover and rewashed it. It even went through the dryer again - stain still intact. Applied Advanage and stain was gone. I bought some from door to door guy 6 years ago, and re-order online when I start to get low. Will never be without it if I can help it.

  116. Anonymous10:40 PM

    I had a young lady at my door today. I stayed at the screen door and wouldnt let her in. First thing she did was take out the sprayer nozel and run it on her tongue to show how safe it was...yuck! Then she preceeded to clean a small spot on one of my rims to my truck, the oil spot on my driveway (which did not work) a spot on the side of my house and one of the shutters, and...my welcome mat!
    I asked if you could order online...saw the web address on pamphlet. She said I couldnt have the pamphlet if I didnt buy the produuct..they make money on commission. The pamphlet was 40.00 and the spray was free...some form of joke there. So I asked for the free spray then...lol. I just was looking the company up when I came across your blog...by the way.....I didnt buy any

  117. I ran across a guy today in my normal work day of taking pics of houses for mortgage companies, and he stopped in front of my vehicle...he was amusing, cleaning my window and my rim, From new Orleans, selling in Martinsburg, WV today, said they were staying in Frederick MD an hour away. He was entertaining and fun. We bought a bottle for 42 and some change and he gave us a few scrubbie sponges to go along with it. It was the best 20 min show we had and paid 42 dollars for it. And it took the permanent marker off the wall and the blood stains off the chair (from a bloody nose). So we are happy. :)

  118. These guys are thieves/3:56 PM

    These guys are disgusting. Don't buy anything from them. I paid by check. Then the guy calls me later saying he lost the check and needed a new one. I wouldn't do it, so he circled my block and even insinuated that he knew what my car looked like. He came back, somehow got more money and the product. He wanted brochure and receipt back too by the way. He didn't get those. What he got was a our check, We wasted almost 80 bucks trying to deal with this guy. He harassed me until he got his way. I saved the conversation on my phone. I was so furious. He walked up with another guy to be tough. They were both scumbags and it took al I had not to jump all over them. I wash shaking mad, but they still won. Cuz if you read the small print on the receipt, they just need your account number and they'll get your money.

  119. Anonymous1:23 PM

    I will have to say that Advanage is the ONLY thing that would unstop the drain in my bathroom. My husband had used everything else known to mankind.

  120. Anonymous9:46 AM

    I got some strange story from the guy selling the cleaner too. However, the product took tar off of a white linen chair that had been smeared by another cleaner attempt. I thought I would have to buy a new fabric for the chair but the cleaner did an awesome job!

  121. Anonymous3:32 PM

    I bought the cleaner too. If it works, then what does it matter if you bought it from a door to door salesperson. It took the gunky pine sap off the car I had been trying for awhile to get off. It also did a pretty good job on the windows where the dogs leave nose prints multiple times throughout the day. So, no big deal how you came to purchase it, if it works.

  122. I really hate that they sell door to door like that. It does pull on all the wrong strings with some (most) of the tactics they use But we actually really really like the product. It lasts a very long time (it is very concentrated) and it removes just about everything. It would be nice if you could more easily just buy it online and have a portion of the money go to their inner city youth program or whatever. Does shipping these kids all over the US and having them work long hours, learning questionable sales techniques really make them better people? Give them a better sense of self and what they can do? And why do we have to suffer through that to just get a decent product? Hummmmmmmm