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A Real Salesman

Updated on May 3, 2017
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I am Robert Elias Ballard, married to Pearlie Jane (PJ) for 45 years on November 24, 2017. We live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

A Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

He Got the Job

I have never thought of myself as a salesman although I do consider myself social and enjoy meeting folks and making new friends. Some, as they say of salesman, could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo and I have met a few car salesman who wouldn't bat an eye to sell a lemon to their own mother. The occupation is a lucrative one and many earn the big bucks using a silver tongue and the gift of gab to promote and earn commissions selling anything from real estate to the proverbial pots and pans and the latest back saving vacuum cleaners.

The following is a story (fictitious) I read recently about one unlikely young man who hailed from the mountains of WNC who had grown weary of the back breaking day in and day out hard work on the rock land farm. He was an avid hunter and loved to fish so naturally his first choice in his hunt for a job was to apply for a salesman's position at the local sporting goods store. He walked in one day with his finest attire, hair slicked back with plenty of Vaseline, and the biggest smile he could muster and waltzed right up to the manager and said,"Sir, I hear you're a looking for a salesman, I shore would love to give it a try." The manager looked at him and immediately surmised this mountain boy might not be a suitable candidate.

Being an observant person the mountain boy quickly added,"I will work hard for you and if you'll give me a trial and I don't do well, then I will understand. The manager liked the attitude and felt he didn't have anything to lose. "Ok, I'll give you one day and we'll decide. At about 4:30 that afternoon he checked on the mountain boy and to his surprise he had tallied up over $3600 in sales for the day. A pleasant surprise so he ask the mountain boy how he had made all those sales.

"Well sir," he said. It all started out with me selling a box of fish hooks to a fellow. When he bought the fish hooks, I asked him if he had a rod and reel. He didn't so I then sold him a nice rod and reel. How you going to get to all those fish?" I ask him, before all those other fishermen? It was then I sold him a nice bass boat. It only seemed natural to ask how he planned to move that new boat on the water? I convinced him a nice outboard and trolling motor would sure come in handy. State laws require life preservers on boats so I sold him a couple. In the end I had sold him over $3600 in new sporting goods.

The manager was so amazed and said,"You mean to tell me it all started with you selling the man just one box of fish hooks? The mountain boy said ,"Well, sir it didn't exactly happen that way. He came in and told me he had a terrible stress headache and wanted to buy two aspirins. It was then I told him,"Man, you need to go a fishing! The manager hired the mountain boy that day.

The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

We've all heard stories about the Fuller Brush man knocking on doors plying his goods and maybe Bible salesman but one of my favorites is the story of a vacuum cleaner salesman who came to the mountains of WNC in the early 1950's. Vacuum cleaners were a novelty for most of the mountain people. The salesman had been pump and primed to get out and knock on doors. He had meticulously memorized his sales pitch and had spent hours practicing demonstrating his wares so as to make a flawless presentation and make a sale.

As he drove through the mountains he come up on an old farmhouse. It was neat on the outside with well manicured fields and the crops looked to be free of any weeds. He thought if these folks spend so much time caring for their outside, a vacuum cleaner sale in this home would be an almost sure thing.

He knocked on the door of the farmhouse and was greeted by an elderly couple who were just happy to have a stranger stop in for a visit. He quickly began his sales pitch and the couple seemed to be taking in every word. "This vacuum cleaner will pick up dirt and he took out a small box of dirt and spread it over the floor. It even picks up bread crumbs and trash that gets onto your floors accidentally at mealtimes. It has an attachment for every crack and crevice and when you're done vacuuming, your house will look and smell so clean, you could almost eat off the floor."

With his sales pitch near completion he said,"Now allow me to demonstrate, where are your receptacles?" The man of the house looked puzzled and looked at his wife. He then replied,"What are receptacles?" The salesman was dumbfounded, "You know, where you plug in for electricity!" Oh! We don't have electricity in these parts yet.

There is probably measure of truth in the story because for many part of the mountains of WNC, electricity and houses wired for appliances did not come until 1958.


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