FTLComm, Tisdale - Friday, November 1, 2002 - by: Timothy W. Shire


We have always had door to door salemen hawking everything from insurance to magazines. This time honoured means of direct sales is a tough means of making a living and we have seen it combined with telemarketing which reduces the number of cold hits by pre-screening the possible customers.

Here in Tisdale we have the flock of furnace clean up people, vacumn cleaner salesmen and carpet cleaners using the telemarket method of peddling. The really ugly ones offer some gift and claim you have won something worthless and in return for receiving their "gift" you will offer up half hour of your time to let them do their pitch.

One interesting twist to this temporary selling system has been that used by the hearing aid sales people as they work the phones and set up appointments for their sales man to come to a room in a community building of some kind.

One way or another these are all examples of the old fashioned peddlers practicing the timeless direct sales, no storefront business.

The nicest bunch of door to door folks we see in town are the fish mongers. These are mostly actual fishermen from Northern Saskatchewan who load up their catch and bring it to your door. I have a real tough time with these guys because I like the idea, but their prices always make me think this stuff is for rich folks.

As a kid I can remember the authentic wares peddler of the first half of the twentieth century. These guys were sort of Gypsies, some with whole hardware stores stuffed into a cart or truck. It would have been the very early fifties I last saw one with a wagon and team of horses but they did wander around this province at that time.

When I was about ten I remember a group of what people said were Gypsies came to our village and camped on the road side East of town. We went out there on our bikes to go over their camp site after they had departed. It was sort of CSI ten year old style, great fun.

Almost once a week we have fruit trucks come to town selling culls from the Okanogan. I will not buy from them. Oh I have tried to make a deal, but they refuse to sell the one or two items I want. The way I figure it if I am going to buy a bunch of fruit I want to see if its okay and want one first to test, no test no sale.

The other kind of peddler is much more mysterious. Like the one in town yesterday and today hawking a bunch of blankets and perhaps other stuff out of his van across from the town office. The blankets are colourful print affairs from Korea. We sometimes see peddlers like this with Mexican felt paintings, belts and stuff that looks like it came from some Tijuana bazaar.

The test of course is folks would not be involved in this kind of informal trade if there were not some money in it so the itinerant peddler looks like a feature of modern culture just like he was in the past.


Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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