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   My brother was a traveling sales representative, calling on homeowners in a 3 state region. On the day he quit, he had a particularly tight schedule, with appointments scheduled hours of travel apart. He rushed to get to the first appointment by 8 am, then on to the next, and the next - each a mad dash and no time to stop; even to eat. What happened at his last stop is why he quit...
   As he reached his final destination at about 7 pm, he was nearly starving.  There was a bowl of peanuts on the table, and as he spoke to the prospective customer, he casually nibbled on them. During the course of the conversation, he suddenly realized to his horror that he had consumed nearly the entire bowl, and began to apologize to the customer.
   The guy cut him off - and said "No problem, don't worry about it. We don't like peanuts anyway. You see, I like plain m & m's ... my wife bought the peanut kind ... and I just sucked the chocolate off 'em!"

   A keen Texas lad applied for a salesman's job at a city department store. The store was the biggest in the world and sold everything under the sun.
   "Have you ever been a salesman before?" the boss asked during his
   "Yes, I was a salesman in Texas," the lad answered. The boss took
an immediate liking to him and told him he could start the next
   "I'll come and see how you made out after we close up," the boss
   The day was long and hard for the young man, but finally it was 5 o'clock. The boss closed up the store and found the lad sitting, slumped and exhausted, in a chair. "How many sales did you make today?" the boss asked.
   "One," said the lad.
   "One?" said the boss, obviously displeased. "Most of the sales people on my staff make 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale worth?"
   "Exactly $101,334.53," said the young man.
   "How did you manage that?!?" asked the boss, flabbergasted.
   "Well," said the lad, "this man came in and I sold him a small fish hook, then a medium fish hook, and finally a really large hook. Then I sold him a small fishing line, a medium one, and huge one. I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said he was going down the coast. I said he'd probably need a boat, so I took him down to the boat department and sold him that fancy 22-foot Chris Craft with twin engines. Then he said his Honda Civic probably wouldn't be able to handle the load, so I took him to the vehicle department and sold him a new GMC 1-ton pickup truck."
   "You sold all that to guy who came in for a fish hook?" the boss
asked in astonishment.
   "He didn't come in to buy a fish hook," the Texas boy explained.  "He came in to buy a box of tampons for his wife, and I said to him, 'Your weekend's shot. You might as well go fishing.' "

WHILE working in a financial district as a sales representative for a prominent business-machine company, I often found stock brokers so caught up in their work that they failed to listen to my pitch. After several vain attempts to get one broker to look up from his financial statements, I desperately exclaimed, "The sky's falling!" ''Well, then, sell Sky,'' he replied absent-mindedly.

I WAS a new sales clerk at a large store in Mississauga, Ont., and not too sure where all the stock computers and microfiches were located. I was trying desperately to help a customer when another sales clerk walked by. "Irma," I asked, "where's the nearest fiche?" To the customer's delight, Irma looked at me and replied, "In Lake Ontario.

AN EXTERMINATING company was giving free termite inspections, and my dad phoned for an appointment. After the inspector checked out our house, he said to Dad, "You don't have any termites right now, but there's a bunch of 'em in that firewood out in your backyard. When they've eaten their way through it, I guarantee that they'll head for your house." Dad was silent for a moment. Then, in his slow drawl, he replied, "Well, from the prices you quoted, I figure it would be cheaper for me just to buy the termites another cord of wood."

A BON VIVANT who was buying a sports shirt found the largest size too snug. "Where do I go from here?" he asked the svelte young woman who was helping him. "To the gym," she replied.

MY BEST salesman was having trouble landing a desirable account. Try as he would, he couldn't get to see the purchasing agent. Then, as he was passing a flight-insurance desk at the airport, inspiration hit. He took out a policy for $500,000, named the purchasing agent as beneficiary, attached a business card on which he wrote "My last thoughts were of you," and mailed it. He got the account.

IN A department store, a difficult customer and a patient clerk were having a hard time getting together.   Nothing the clerk provided was suitable.   Finally, the finicky shopper said in annoyance, "Can't you find a smarter clerk to serve me?"  "No," said the saleswoman.  "The smarter clerk saw you coming and disappeared."

IN A crowded elevator, one man asked another, "How's business?" "Last year we sold 500,000 houses, 700,000 farms and 750,000 schools," came the reply. "This year we ought to do equally well and, in addition, sell 1,200,000 garages." As the elevator descended, there was heavy silence for a moment. Then someone spoke up indignantly. "Sir," he said, "I'm in real estate, and those figures are preposterous!" He didn't know that the man boasting about his business was the marketing director of a major toy company.

APPLYING for a sales job at the local fabric shop, my sister-in-law was given a short test of her knowledge of measurements and calculations. The owner was amazed when she answered all ten questions correctly, and immediately offered to hire her. "You wouldn't believe," he said with a deep sigh, "how many people get seven or eight wrong on this test." "Oh yes I would," she told him. "They've all been waiting on me for years."

A door-to-door vacuum salesman goes to the first house in his new territory.  He knocks, a real mean and tough looking lady opens the door, and before she has a chance to say anything, he runs inside and dumps cow patties all over the carpet.  He says, "Lady, if this vacuum cleaner don't do wonders cleaning up that cow manure, I'll eat every chunk of it."  She turns to him with a smirk and says, "You want ketchup on that?" the Salesman says, "why do you ask?"  She says "We just moved in and we haven't got the electricity turned on yet."

A man went into a store and began looking around. He saw a washer and dryer, but there was no price listed on them. He asked the sales person "How much are the washer and dryer?"  "Five dollars for both of them," the salesman said.  "Yeah right, you've got to be kidding me!" the man replied sarcastically.  "No, that's the price," the salesman said, "Do you want to buy them or not?"  "Yeah, I'll take them!" the customer responded.  He continued to look around and saw a car stereo system with a detachable face cassette player, a CD changer, amplifier, speakers, and subwoofers.  "How much?" he asked.  "Five dollars for the system," the salesman answered.  "Is it stolen?" the guy asks.   "No," said the salesman, "It's brand new, do you want it or not?"  "Sure," the customer replied.  He looked around some more.   Next he found a top of the line computer with printer and monitor.  "How much?"  "Five dollars," was the familiar response.  "I'll take that too!" the man said.  As the salesperson is ringing up the purchases, the man asked him, "Why are your prices so cheap?"  The salesman said, "Well, the owner of the store is at my house right now with my wife.  What he's doing to her, I'm doing to his business."

IN ADDITION to learning how to mix up a pitcher of very refreshing lemonade, a young businessman in my neighborhood has absorbed a lesson from the adult world of sales promotion. As I sipped my lemonade on the way home from work one afternoon, I saw him adjusting the handmade sign on his stand to read: "Lemonade — more than 17 cups served."

AS A career counselor working out of an office in our home, my wife finds it difficult to handle the numerous phone calls from salesmen who are only doing their job but refuse to believe that she is doing hers. One home insulation salesman persisted in arguing for "just one hour" of my wife's time, despite her insistence that she was busy. His sales pitch ended abruptly, however, when my wife agreed to give him an appointment the next day — at her usual fee of $35 an hour.

A FRIEND of mine who sells air-driven tools was learning a new territory, and in one city a customer offered to "show her the ropes." After visiting various clients, the customer asked her to dinner. During the meal, he posed a hypothetical question: "If you were given the largest order of your career and then asked for an additional 'personal favor' to close the deal, what would you do?" "Oh, that's easy," she replied, "I'd subcontract."

MY BROTHER sells antique clocks and watches. Once he had a hard time with an unpleasant customer who wouldn't accept his price for a magnificent old time piece. After hours of negotiations, they settled on a figure. Exhausted but not defeated, my brother fell back on his talent for having the last word. As the man left with his clock, my brother called out: ". . . and don't forget to change the batteries once a year.''

AT THE scale-manufacturers' convention, people often weighed themselves on different scales to see if they agreed. Some of the visitors abstained, however, not wishing to advertise their weight. A smooth talking representative from one company coaxed a woman onto his scale by promising her he would not look — and that she could even cover the digital display so only she could see her weight. She finally stood on the scale, where upon a loud, mechanical voice from within the machine announced: "One hundred and sixty-three."

MY FAMILY and I were surprised to see just how true some advertisers' claims can be. While driving to our new cottage, we saw two men with their huge moving van parked by the roadside. Surrounded by a living-room ensemble, they were drinking beer and enjoying the summer sun. This sign was blazoned on the van: "WE TREAT YOUR FURNITURE LIKE OUR OWN."

THE manager of a department store received a telephone call at his home around the dinner hour. A sweet-voiced woman asked him, "How've you been?" "Uh, fine, fine," said the manager. "That's nice," said the woman. "I'm glad to hear you're well." "Well, uh, say-do I know you?" asked the manager. "We've never met," admitted the woman. "But I just thought I'd call." "Oh," said the manager. "Well, uh it's dinner time and I have guests...." "I know it's dinner time," said the woman. "But I thought this was the time you liked people to call." "What?" said the manager. ''Your telephone solicitors call me frequently at this hour and want to sell me a credit card," said the woman. "I've told them I'm not interested, but they keep calling. So I've decided that every time they call me, I'll call you." "Now wait a minute...." he began. "I'm going to give you my name and telephone number," said the woman. "And you just pass it along to your telephone solicitors and tell them that each time I'm called, I intend to call you. Have a nice day."  The woman hasn't been bothered since.

THE young voice on the phone inquired if we received home delivery of the local newspaper. "No," I replied, "my husband prefers the walk to the store each day to purchase it." The young man eagerly launched into his sales pitch, pointing out the convenience and savings in subscribing to home delivery. I thanked him and again related how my husband enjoyed the little walk each day.  There was a pause, and then in a hopeful voice, he asked, "Well, could we arrange for delivery on the next block?"

NOW that I'm a senior, garage sales seem to fascinate me. My wife thinks I'm accumulating junk for my own sale. The last time I went to one, I told the pert young lady selling the items: "There's nothing I really want. I just hope to fall in love with something."  "Come over here," she replied with a grin. "I want you to meet my mother."

I WAS redecorating an older home. The master bathroom was particularly challenging, and I went to an exclusive bath shop for professional help. An impeccable salesman asked if he could be of service.  "My bathroom has pink tiles and blue fixtures," I said despairingly. "And it is very visible from the red master bedroom. What should I do:" In clipped tones the man said, "Close the door."

WE NEEDED a new car, and I went to a local dealer with a long list of requirements. "It must be inexpensive," I told the salesman, "but big enough to transport eight Wolf Cubs and all their camping equipment. It has to have lots of headroom. I don't want air-conditioning because I like to feel natural breezes. And I'm not concerned about horse-power or a smooth ride."  The salesman gazed at me intently. "The covered wagon no longer exists, ma'am," he said.

AS PARTS manager for a small electronics shop, I had occasion to order part No. 669 from the factory. But when I received it I noticed that someone had sent me part No. 699 instead.  Furious at the factory's incompetence, I promptly sent the part back, along with a letter giving them a piece of my mind. Less than a week later, I received the same part back with a letter containing just four words: "TURN THE BOX OVER."

MY daughter had an experience in a shoe store that convinced me chivalry is not dead. She asked to see some white sandals, and from a large selection finally chose a pair, but was hesitant to buy them. Noting the salesman's frustration, she explained they were for her wedding and expressed concern that the heels might be too high for dancing at the reception. The salesman bowed, took her hand and said, "May I have this dance?" and proceeded to waltz her around the store. Needless to say, he made a sale.

IN OUR local department store, a sales person was waiting on a young woman whose recent wedding we had both attended. The new bride asked to see twin-bed sheets. The clerk bit her lip as she rummaged through the packages on the shelf. Finally she burst out, "It's none of my business, but twin beds? You're practically still on your honeymoon!"  It was the saleswoman's turn to blush as the bride picked out one package of sheets. "You're taking it for granted we have two twin beds," she replied.

AFTER trying a new shampoo for the first time, a friend's father fired off an enthusiastic letter of approval to the manufacturer. Several weeks later he came home from work to find a large carton in the middle of the hall. Inside were free samples of the many products the company produced: soaps, toothpaste, detergents and paper items. "Well, what do you think?" his wife asked, smiling.   "Next time," he replied, "I'm writing General Motors."

A BALDING, white-haired man, whom I new to be an automobile salesman, sat in the barber's chair next to mine. As the barber adjusted the chair he asked, "How would you like it cut?"  "Just trim the whitewall," the man said. "and polish the hubcap."

A BATTERED old television set was put up for sale at an auction. Although the auctioneer insinuated that he didn't think it would ever work, a man bid it up to $20. The man gave his bid number as 45,  Later, a woman bought an article and announced her bid number as 45. Wanting to verify the number, the auctioneer asked if the man who bought the TV was her husband. "He was," she snapped, "before he bought that television set."

I WAS collecting items for our annual yard sale and caught my husband throwing an old hammer into the trash bin. "The claw part is broken off," he said when I retrieved it. "No one will buy it."  "Want to bet?" I challenged. Sure enough, it was one of the first things to be sold.   My husband could barely contain himself. "Why would you buy a hammer without a claw?" he asked the woman who purchased it.  Looking him sternly in the eye, she replied, "Wherever I drive a nail, I have no intention of taking it out!"

AFTER nearly ten years of remote rural living, my husband, a salesman, was transferred to a new territory near a large city. We found the prospect of being near a community rich in culture very appealing.  Our enthusiasm was severely dampened, however, after a frustrating day of house-hunting and discovering suburban real estate prices. Some time later, over lunch, we complained to my husband's new supervisor about the exorbitant monthly payments on the property which we had selected, anticipating a sympathetic reaction. Instead, he exclaimed, "That's just how I like to see my sales people - debt-propelled!"

WHILE trying on a new suit, I could hear a conversation between another customer and the salesman outside the changing room. "This suit fits you perfectly!" the salesman declared. "You look like a new man."  At just that moment, not realizing the customer was using the mirror on my door, I flung it open, and we found ourselves eye to eye. Still facing me, the customer answered the salesman: "You're right. I do look like a new man."

I am a sales agent and operate the business from my residence. When a minister by the name of Larry Dyck moved into town, we started receiving each other's phone calls. One day a new customer of mine called the minister's home and immediately started to place his order for shoes. When the customer paused, the reverend interjected with, "I believe you would like to speak to the man who sells soles. However, you have reached the man who saves souls."

FRUSTRATED by my lack of resistance when sales women in clothing stores paid me exaggerated compliments, I decided to be more assertive. On my next shopping venture, a clerk gushed, "It's perfect — like it was made for you."  Knowing it wasn't even remotely "me," I marshaled my defenses.  "But it doesn't say anything; it doesn't speak to me," I protested.  Undaunted, the sales woman replied, "Doesn't it even whisper a little?"

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Last updated October 02, 2015 by Becquet Enterprises