Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Had a Cinch


Couldn't Tell Funny Stories, but Knew a Trick Worth Two of That.

A drummer, as the word drummer is understood in these piping times of peace, is a man who tells you a funny story and incidentally takes your order for goods. A faculty of making himself "solid" with his customers socially is one of the most valuable features of a successful drummer's equipment. The commercial traveler is a hale fellow well met wherever he goes. There are houses whose trade is so firmly established and its hold upon their patrons so strong that their goods sell themselves almost, and the solicitor has very little soliciting to do. But even with houses of this character a smooth tongue and a ready wit count for much.

Occasionally there is a man who departs from the old lines, invents a method of his own and makes a great success of it.

"What has become of that man Jones who used to travel for you?" asked one Randolph street jobber of another the other day. "I suppose he has gone off the road. I always thought he never would make a success of it. He was too chilly. He was the chilliest man I ever saw."

"There's just where you're wrong," replied the other jobber, who deals in linseed oil. "He was the most successful traveling man I ever knew. When he was on the road, he kept us jumping to fill his orders. The only reason he isn't traveling for us today is that another house offered him a good deal bigger salary than we were willing to pay, and he is representing the other house now. He was very chilly, as you say. He was that way with everybody, his customers included. He never had a word to say to them about politics and couldn't tell a funny story if he tried. He never talked anything but oil. As soon as he got an order he walked out and never tried to conceal the fact that that was all he had come for. Yet his customers thought he was the best friend they had in the world.

"This is how he did it. As a cold blooded business proposition he decided that the strongest hold he could get on a man would be a hold on his pocketbook. He left the other drummers to do the amusing part of it, but he studied the oil market. He seemed besides to have an intuition about the fluctuations of prices which was almost prophetic. When he saw that oil was about to go up, he sat down and telegraphed to all his customers, 'Buy oil.' They followed his advice, and in nine cases out of ten they saved a lot of money by it. It only took a few experiences like this to convince them that it was a serious mistake to buy oil of anybody else. He was hardly a solicitor at all. When he told a man to buy, he bought." — Chicago Tribune.

Why They Went Off

"Are you loaded?" asked the pistol of the shotgun.
"No," said the latter; "I'm shot."
Then both exploded with laughter. — Philadelphia Call.

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