Sunday, November 30, 2014
Who wants to sell door-to-door now?
To close out the meteorological fall, look at this op-ed by Eugene Linden in the New York Times, page 7 of the Review Section Sunday, “Epiphany, with Encylcopedias”, here.
There was a time when selling door-to-door was almost a virtue. The author talks about his experience selling the New World Encyclopedia and later Britannica in 1968. There was a script, there was urgency (helping your kids get ahead), there was “overcoming objections”. Today, people resist door-to-door because of home invasions, don’t answer telemarketing robocalls, and find half of their email is spam that is never opened. It is getting a lot harder for a lot of people to make a living in a society so personally competitive.
Yet, there has never been a better time to be a young adult with the right talents and skills. The kids who write computer viruses in Russia do so because Vladimir Putin (equals evil) has made sure they can’t get legitimate jobs, so they steal. The same detailed coding talents could get six figures over here sometimes.
I vaguely remember the visit of the encyclopedia salesman for the World Book in 1950. It has great colored elevation maps for all the states, the best ever.