Sunday, November 10, 2013

Door-To-Door Salesman

One of the advantages of being retired and staying home is you get to meet new people.  Last week I had a couple of Jehovah Witnesses stop by and talk with me.  Mostly however the door-to-door salespeople are few and far between.  I think the people who come knocking on the door mostly are magazines salespeople, frozen meat people, Girl Scout Cookies people, and kids hustling some overpriced school related fund raiser item.  The end of the heyday of the Door-To-Door salesman seem to have occurred about the end of the 1960's.  Prior to that period women usually stayed home and raised the kids and took care of the house so there was usually someone at home.  Somewhere along the line the wife decided to work to bring in extra money that now is not extra because regardless of the money you bring in you live up to that standard and higher; or the wife got a divorce and had to work - the end result there was no one home and there was no need for a door-to-door salesperson.

Now back in the 1940's and 1950's you had a steady stream of Door-To-Door salespeople.  They sold everything.  They sold clothes and food out of the back of a panel truck.  There were fish and produce salesmen going down the street.  There were school teachers on summer break hustling World Book encyclopedias.  Vacuum cleaners, brushes, pots and pans salesmen were always there.  The guy who had the pony and a kids size cowboy outfit would come thru the neighborhood and sell photos of your kid dressed up as a cowboy on a pony.  Life insurance salesmen were everywhere.  Usually once a summer some guy in a truck from North Carolina would come thru the neighborhood selling furniture made from branches and twigs (I usually refer to that style as tramp art.)  My father sold used cars briefly in the 1940s and he would talk about taking a car out from the dealership and go farm to farm trying to sell it instead of waiting for the customer to come to the dealership.  Avon, Mary Kay, and spice/extract salespeople were out there knocking on the doors.  There were people selling food freezers on an installment plan for a dollar down and they would throw in a hundred pounds of meat if you bought one.  Anything and everything you could think of was sold door to door by someone.

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