Until this week, I’d never heard of a joke-cracking, door-to-door salesman named Kenny Brooks. He’s the star of a 2010 viral video in which he espouses the wondrous properties of Advanage cleaner to two laughing, hapless homeowners.
You might want to watch it. Because when Kenny shows up on your doorstep, you’ll need all the help you can get.
There’s been discussion online about whether he actually is dead. No idea. But his brethren — speed-talking comedians who could sell ice to a polar bear — are very much alive. I met a pro. The cost? $170 in pride. Including tax.
I’d love to throw my wife under the bus — the same bus probably transporting legions of these Advanage peddlers into Idaho. She wrote the check. But the truth is, my saleswoman, Latavia Jackson, was the second young African-American who had ventured up my lengthy driveway in the past half hour. I should have known something strange was in the homogeneous Boise air.
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I’d turned away the first solicitor by keeping a safe distance in my backyard. He left with a quick wave — obviously to recruit Latavia. Smiling, she glided toward her target like a sales Siren, beckoning my weak male ego away from that backyard with waves of compliments. “You ever been to New Orleans?” That’s where she was from. Latavia seemed nice enough — unleashing rapid-fire lines about helping inner-city kids, then something about how her little nephew got killed by a stray bullet ...
Wha??? I hadn’t even figured out what she was selling. I reached for the brochure.
Then I had a husband’s epiphany. “Let me go get my wife.”
I shouldn’t have left. Maybe I could have convinced Latavia to come sell advertising for the Statesman. Newspaper stock prices would have quadrupled by now.
Instead, I hid safely inside with my children while my unsuspecting spouse opened the front door to this sales gale force of nature. Ms. Jackson uncorked a front-step cleaning show that I truly wish I would have stayed to enjoy.
Spray it on your grass, it’ll turn greener, Latavia said. Your cat sheds? Spray it on him to fix that, too. Proving how nontoxic Advanage is, she licked it. (Really?) There were pop-culture references to Madonna and Mr. Miyagi. And lots of high-fives and “God bless yous.” Especially when my wife — whom she called “Mom” — finally busted out the checkbook.
How do I know Latavia’s name? Because it was written on all four quarts of Advanage that she sold my wife. You aren’t allowed to buy only one quart, Latavia insisted. Of course not.
It was only later that night, Googling “Advanage,” that I found out about Kenny Brooks. Forget $170. The look on my wife’s face when I showed her that video was priceless. It turns out that Latavia used a whole lot of the same over-the-top shtick as ol’ Kenny.
There are horror stories online about door-to-door salespeople. About sharing basic personal information via check. Whatever. If some sucker wants to steal my identity after the reaction to my last couple of columns, have at it. I encountered a form of relentless entertainer that I didn’t realize existed. I feel lucky to have had a brush with semi-evil-but-undeniable genius, not to mention fearless hustle.
Advanage supposedly offers a three-day cancellation policy. My wife is pondering calling the number. I say forget it. I’m guessing that bank-account stains might be one of the few things that Advanage doesn’t miraculously clean.
I consider it a memorably high-priced ticket to a unique form of theater. Four super-concentrated bottles or not, I won’t be scrubbing this experience out of my mind anytime soon. As bloggers have noted, buying this product can be a life lesson in white guilt and the power of persuasion.
Just remember: If someone appears at your door ratatating, “I’m gonna be quick like Nestle and beat it like Michael Jackson and that’s why your neighbors said I remind ’em of Nicolas Cage ’cause I’m gone in 60 seconds!” — things aren’t going work out quite that way.
Or maybe Advanage is the most incredible cleaner ever invented. Want to buy a quart? I’ll even write my name on the bottle. If you reorder, I think I get a commission.
▪ Singer Meghan Trainor’s performance last week on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” ended with the singer falling flat on her back. (I totally love how Fallon handled the situation. He’s so terrific.)
No prob. Trainor, whose hits include “All About That Bass” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” can lie down in the soft grass of the Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater when she performs there July 14.
▪ Grunge rockers Soul Asylum and English new-wave band The Fixx will co-headline a concert July 15 at the Revolution Center in Garden City.
▪ British pop group Squeeze, best known for the 1981 hit “Tempted,” will gig Oct. 6 at The Egyptian Theatre in Boise.
Oldies radio to say goodbye?
Assuming the FCC approves the sale, that almost certainly would bring a new format to the station, which is licensed in Fruitland and plays 1950s and 1960s pop, soul and rock ’n’ roll. EMF specializes in contemporary Christian formats such as Air1 and K-Love.
“There’s no exact time frame,” said Mark Broz, general manager at Treasure Valley Broadcasting, “but I would say within a year.”