I’ve never been much of a salesman. Probably because I don’t want to bother people anymore than I want to be bothered myself. I just figure no one needs me to tell them what they want to buy. But that wasn’t always the case.
When I was about six years old, I used to come home from school every day and make myself a couple of pieces of toast. I’d spread the toast with lots of margarine (not butter, I happen to think margarine tastes better) and top it off with a thick layer of my Mother’s homemade strawberry jam. Then, I’d go stand on our front porch and try to sell the toast (as I was eating it) to passing motorists. I’d yell at the top of my lungs, “Toast for sale! Toast with strawberry jam – just twenty-five cents a slice!”
We lived on a busy street and in the few minutes it took me to consume my two slices of toast, I offered my sales pitch numerous times – enough to make myself a little hoarse on occasion. But I had to yell loud otherwise people inside their cars wouldn’t have been able to hear me. Every once in a while, I’d get lucky and catch someone walking by and I could say my spiel in an almost normal voice.
I did this for quite a while. We lived in that house for about three years, and most days I was outside at some point trying to sell my toast. That’s a lot of sales pitches. Yet, in all that time, I never sold a single slice of toast. Amazing, I know. Imagine – no one wanting to buy homemade toast from a six-year-old, grimy kid. The only thing I managed to do was get an awful lot of strange looks from people. A few of them even yelled back, but I could never hear what they had to say – maybe because I was still loudly blabbing away myself.
Eventually, I gave up on the idea of selling toast. As it turns out, homemade toast is not really a big seller. Although…
Years later, I tried to convince my kids one day, that they had to pay me for the toast they’d made. “Twenty-five cents a slice,” I said.
It didn’t work. Guess I’m still not much of a salesman.