The Marlboro Brat
Aggressive salesmanship began in the marketplace, before the industrial revolution. Before it was recognized as an art form Commedia del'arte was a come-on, the bait to attract buyers to an artisan's booth much the way television programming is secondary to the commercials today. A number of years ago in Czecholslovakia an elderly gentleman told me the story of two shoemakers a hundred years ago, selling their wares at adjoining booths on market day. "Get your shoes here, get your shoes here, ten krona," the first shoemaker cried out. "Get your shoes here," the second man shouted, "only six krona." Naturally he was outselling the competition. Finally the first shoemaker could stand it no longer and asked the second, "How can you sell shoes for six krona? Even if I steal the leather I couldn't make a profit at that price." "Don't steal the leather," the second man said, "steal the shoes."