Death of a salesman part 1

I started working when I was about 8 in the family business, but by the time I was 16 I thought it was time to bust out on my own, so I got a job in the summer of 1996 as a door to door salesman, working out of Dartford a pretty dodgy outfit run by a geezer called Barry.

It was a good laugh, even though we got paid only on commission and hence got about 50 quid a week and I have a great load of memories.

Every morning, we would bundle into the back of this old Bedford Rascal and head in to the depths of Essex and knock on doors with the words

Sorry to bother you Sir/Madam. I'm from Abbey Cleaning. We've got a special offer on at the moment on carpet, curtain and upholstery cleaning and we were wondering if you were thinking about having anything cleaned.

We would then proceed to overcharge them for what was essentially a hoovering with water after talking them to half to death.

A lot of the time, we'd get turned away, occasionally we had the door slammed in our faces and sometimes people would swear at us. The usual.

I'll never forget the name of this one guy who we worked with though. His name was Brett Sinclair and he had clearly spent his time as the school punchbag. Bless him, he was a complete loser and needless to say, me and the rest of the teenage lads took no sympathy on him at all.

The best bit about it was that he was also totally depressed and the most gullible person I have ever met.

One day, we were out in Essex and I knocked on a door.

This huge, hairy guy lumbers to the door opens it and says, tells me to fuck off cos he doesn't want any double glazing. So I walked off down the path, realised that he didn't want any double glazing and went back. Knocking again, he opened the door a bit pissed off to see me again and tells me to fuck off, he doesn't want to hear about God.

So I walked off again and, halfway down the path I realised that I wasn't THERE to tell him about God. So I turned back round again and knocked again.

This time he told me to fuck off he didn't want to see me at his door or for that matter anyone else trying to sell anything and requested that I kindly fuck off and leave him in peace before he punched my lights out.

This was too good to be true, and a plan had started to form upstairs. Just to make sure I still had his business if he were to change his mind, I jammed a fistful of our business card into his letterbox after he had slammed the door in my face and proceeded to smack them hard and ran off with his curses ringing in my ears.

Going around the corner, I told the lads what had happened and Barry went to get Brett.

"Brett," he said in his managerial manner, "How would you like to make a guaranteed sale?"

The plan was outlined. There was this very strange man who lived in these parts and every year, he wanted to test out our best salesman. He would not make a purchase until the salesman had proved himself a worthy salesman. To do that, he would play hard to get and would initailly tell Brett to fuck off and die. Thereafter Brett's task was to walk straight past him, into his house and tell him that his carpet looked like shit....

...and off he marched while the rest of us hid behind a bush.

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