WOW - SUITABLE FOR
By Norris Chambers
By Norris Chambers
It has been said that “One
picture is worth a thousand words.”
I found out early in my life that it might take a thousand words to
sell a picture.
During the dark days of the big depression there were all kinds of
schemes advertised in the magazines explaining how easy it could be to
earn money or win a nice prize. One of these enticements was a card with
small perforations that could be punched out. Printed on the removed tab
was a price of ten to twenty cents. The tabs also had a number. The person
punching the tab paid the specified amount and wrote his name on the back
of the card. One or two of the punches were free. There was a master tab
that was punched after all the chances had been sold and the number
printed on it announced the winner of the big cash award. The ambitious
peddler of the cards got a nice prize – a watch, fishing rod or
something every boy wanted!
The market area that I hoped would serve my purpose was the little
country town that had been inflated by the big oil boom and was swarming
with residents who lived in newly built shacks, tents and open camps.
Surely these working people had a dime to spare for a beautiful, full
color picture suitable for framing. My sister was teaching in the school
and I was living with her during the school week to solve our
transportation problem. My brother had a garage and service station in the
town and he was keeping very busy. It was a very active little town with
no water supply, no utilities and no local government. A local constable
attempted to keep it peaceful.
I haunted the postmaster for a few days until my packet arrived. He
told me he was glad I got it so I would quit bothering him. I opened the
big envelope and laid the contents on the table there in the post office.
There were a few official looking papers along with a nice stack of
pictures. I thumbed through them and I had to admit that they were quite
nice. Some of them had nice, quiet streams with trees on each side. Some
were snow scenes and a few were pretty women. I quickly asked the
postmaster if he would like to buy a nice picture, suitable for framing,
for only a dime. His answer was a very firm “NO”.
I went into a few of the stores and attempted to make a sale to the
owners and customers. I got the same response that the postmaster had
given me. I suspected that I would have a hard time disposing of them.
I moved to the houses and began knocking on doors. My luck was a
little better here, but not spectacular. After about an hour of asking
women if they wanted a picture I had sold six. I still had eighteen to
sell and I had covered at least three fourths of the town. My sister was
sympathetic and bought four of them. Another lady teacher who lived in the
same house with us bought two. I had disposed of half of them the first
The next afternoon I covered the rest of the town and managed to
get rid of four more. Eight more left and the town had been covered. It
looked like I would have to start peddling in the country.
“Norris,” he said, “I’ll make you a deal – you promise
not to order any more stuff to sell and I’ll buy what you have left.”
That sounded like a great deal. “You have my promise,” I told him,
“No more peddling for me.”
So my brother paid me and took the pictures. I sent the money to
the picture people and eventually I got my sixty-nine cent watch. It
worked well and I had reasonably correct time in my pocket.
Was selling pictures fun? Well, everything can’t be fun!