Growing up during the period of ‘Tupperware’ usually meant you were part of the 1950’s newly suburban domesticated era, but in reality… those were the real days, catapulting a new generation of door to door sales. As an adolescent growing up in a small suburban town, I recall a ring at the door… and there stood the ‘Fuller Brush man.’ He was a good looking salesman, wearing a tweed suit with tie, hair brushed neatly back with a clean shaven face and a great big smile… ready to pitch his products that he brought to the door in his leather attaché case… those were the days! Housewives everywhere had a hard time resisting this man at the door, but he helped pave the way for many others to come. There was the milk man who rode around neighborhoods in his truck making deliveries; eventually adding fresh juices to sell. But, being of a slightly older era, I mostly remember Avon, Britannica Encyclopedia and Kirby Salesmen. There are companies like Cutco (knives) and Schwan’s who also followed suit, but long gone are the sales pitch’s at your door for most of these…and so are the days of always knowing your neighbors.
I believe there are many people in the world that would give anything to live back in time, when things were simpler and trust among neighbors once existed, including the regular salesman at your door. If your mother (or you) trusted the salesman, then he was sure to sell the neighbors, not to mention the same goes for the Avon or Tupperware lady. It was a way of life back then, and ‘door to door’ sales were successful, helping companies to grow and adding to the workforce a multitude of opportunities. However, most of the sales people in those days were self-taught. They brought along their shining personalities to your door, and practiced patience and perseverance. Some companies during that era searched for a special look; just as they did for flight attendants… being of certain weight, height and persona. Companies that hired door to door sales people were especially interested in seeing you face to face, unlike today… it’s all about the sending your profile through the internet. I, for one… personally miss the face to face interview process, as your personality doesn’t shine on a piece of paper. During the face to face interview process for a sales job, it was crucial that one could use personal persuasion in order to sell a complete stranger. As a salesman you must also be able to take rejection well, and return to the same home (door) weeks later pitching (whatever products you carried) with the same enthusiasm you showed the first time to the customer. These are the qualifications of the good, and the great…door to door sales people we remember.
Certain companies that sold door to door had to train their people to put on a show, so-to-speak. Kirby sales entailed showing the customer ‘How’ to use their products, beginning with vacuuming carpets in your home, then washing the linoleum floors with an attachment or showing the possible dust mites that live in your mattresses, in which they vacuum up. Regardless of how they all demonstrate, I admit they are effective in their presentations… as long as the sales person has that large personality. Avon and Tupperware Reps also demonstrate in your home. They use to be door to door, but ‘Home Parties’ became the big thing in the 1970’s and continued to grow. Followed… were companies like; Home Interiors, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Lia Sophia, Pampered Chef, Watkins and the list continues to grow, as stay at home moms look for a second income while raising their children. Now they can bring just about anything into your home, including Lingerie, food products, toys, seasonal items and even wine parties, as the Traveling Vineyard is popping up everywhere.
America is constantly changing, and so with that being said, the demise of door to door sales is hardly in existence today. Crime has hiked up and people just don’t answer doors today. Small businesses such as the ‘Mom & Pop’ stores can’t stay open due to economic times and Nostalgic times are just that… an Era gone by. No one really knows their neighbors today, and some just want to get away from even having them. What a shame. If I had a choice, I would go back in time. I loved the face to face Interviews, Sales people… and having that personal touch added to purchasing products or services. I can remember when I knew my banker on the corner; that’s when savings accounts actually worked in your favor. I’ll take the Nostalgia Life has to offer… old route 66 and more. I’m just happy I can remember those times, as they make me smile while reminiscing about the ‘Good Ole’ Days.’
Make your week count.