Thursday, November 27, 2008


I find salesmen fascinating. I've had a couple of posts about them. There's something about the 'seat of your pants' living that I just find so frontiersman-like; minus the dodgey hygeine and proficiency with pistols, of course. 

But the grafters, the people who sell things via a quick show on the side of the road are something else. I quite enjoy watching those red-faced (invariably) British ex-pats sweatily trying to sell me 'the last cleaning solution I'll ever need', their hands in a blur, their headset slipping off an almost bald, and completely sweaty, head.

I like the idea of someone making due with just a gift of the gab and well-crafted one liners. "Death of a Salesman" in reverse comes to mind. I imagine them to be real 'people persons', the sort who actually do like people, in general. A dastardly and foolhardy approach to life, but better a happy fool than a cripplingly depressed wise man, I suppose. All bluster, all flash, and very little else. 

Exciting, in it's own way.

It's also raw showmanship. Trying to convince a crowd that, every year, becomes more calcitrant against sales pitches; that, every year, layers irony on top of skepticism and finishes with a thick glaze of apathy. Enthusiasm, well-practiced, against a tide of urban ennui. 

Sure, it's for profit, they aren't doing it to raise our spirits or enoble society. There is no 'art' form they are trying to further. But that's what makes it even more fascinating. Raw commerce with no smoke and mirrors. "This is me, I'm going to try and sell you this questionable kitchen sponge, try, just try to fend off my pitch". 

Maybe I like grafters too much.  Mrs. Owl and I went to a night market a few years back. Almost every single person leaving had this ridiculous looking rubber broom thing. We both turned to each other and said "We are NOT getting that." I assume you all can guess what's in our broom closet, gathering dust, quite unexepectedly not being the last broom we'd ever buy.

EDIT: Oh hey, here's a video of the grafter featured in the article, doing his schtick:

1 comment:

Chris B. said...

Funny how there's essentially no difference between the guy on the street and the CEO that makes a "special visit" to a client to seal a multi-million dollar deal. It's a song and dance meant to entice. There's a reason for the sex metaphors. (" bed with them" or "consummate the deal", for example.)