The Salesman

The Souk

Is the “salesman” grubby and embarrassing by definition?  Are they all oily, bumptious and crooked? From the seller of second hand cars to to those who peddle rugs are they all tarred with the same brush? Insincere and self important, is the salesman is out to short change you?  Are they all name dropping two faced asses?

No, I don’t think they are but when you come across a bumptious fool and one of the bad ones, get out of his way swiftly, run quietly home and lock the door.

Famous salesmen include the fictional Arthur Daley from Minder and Dell Boy Trotter from Only Fools and Horses.

Both characters were fairly harmless by comparison with some examples one may have to deal with.  Salesmen and charlatans (all too often interchangeable terms it seems) have been with us down the ages.

Confidence Trick - Political cartoon by JM Staniforth: Herbert Kitchener attempts to raise £100,000 for a college in Sudan by calling on the name of Charles George Gordon
Confidence Trick – Political cartoon by JM Staniforth: Herbert Kitchener attempts to raise £100,000 for a college in Sudan by calling on the name of Charles George Gordon

One could forgive them if they were merely trying to do an honest day’s work (and most of them surely are).  But sometimes you are plagued by a salesman who is so truly awful he gives the entire “profession” a dirty name.

He will claim that black is white, he will lie until he is blue in the face. He will be so full of bullshit and sheer arrogant nonsense that even he has difficulty taking himself seriously.  He will take a few terms of art pertaining to professions in which he has never qualified, mix them all up in meaningless, mangled sentences and try to convince you he is right and you are wrong.

All the while dropping names of the great and the good to whom he has recently paid homage (or, in his dreams, they to him perhaps).

The most important things in his life will be trips in private jets, helicopters and yachts and he will worship famous names be they politicians or “bizniss men”, showbiz or royalty.  He will bask in reflected glory.

If that were all he did he might be forgiven.  But he can be out to swindle and put down all around him.

The vast majority of salesmen do a good job and an honest day’s work.  But if you come across the sort of fool I have been describing, then run and don’t look back. Whatever else you may do, do not engage him in conversation.

Pietro Longhi: The Charlatan, 1757
Pietro Longhi: The Charlatan, 1757

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