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Why I Will Never Own a Pink Cadillac

The richest people in the world are good salesmen: Donald Trump. Leo Iacocca. The Sham-Wow guy.

Which is why I’ll never be rich. The thought of selling anything makes my fingernails itch and my sphincters cringe (and for you scatalogical readers, there is more than one).

Complaining to you about telemarketers is like a stand-up comedian who says, “Take my wife, please.” Who hasn’t heard enough about that already, right?

So anyway, I hate telemarketers. And it’s not like I’m without compassion. I had a job in college where I had to beg university alumni for donations over the phone. Which might be worse because I was asking them for money for NOTHING. They wouldn’t even get a subscription to Popular Mechanics. I didn’t want to sell and they didn’t want to buy, so why were we even both on the phone, wasting precious lifeblood and energy that should be spent loving our brothers or something? No, instead we’re both just making each other uncomfortable. And for what?

Even when I fervently believe in the product, which is what is supposed to be the key to selling, I don’t want to sell it.

I am, however, happy to convince you to buy a product that I believe in, as long as I’m not getting paid for it. Maybe it’s because I wouldn’t fear rejection.

Or maybe I truly believe I’m doing you a service. I’m giving you something. Maybe I’ve had some epic consumer product experience and I must share it with EVERYONE I KNOW: What would it take for me to get you into a chartreuse fur-lined filing cabinet cover TODAY?

I sold Cutco knives. For four long one-hour demonstrations. And I’ll bet some of you sold them, too. Even celebrities have sold them. I recently heard Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) tell some talk show host that he sold them before he was famous (GASP! Does this mean I’ll be famous someday?)

I sliced the leather demonstration strips (“If it cuts through this leather, think how it will cut through steak, even if it’s leather – ha ha!!”) and sold my parents a set of steak knives. I cut a penny into a corkscrew with the Cutco Scissors for my grandmother who escorted me into her kitchen to show me the forty-year old knife set she already had (which turned out to be Cutco, actually).

But I hated trying to sell a product that required you to make your potential customer fork over the names and phone numbers of ten of their closest friends. And I hated the fact that these poor knives were being sold under the MLM model, which reeked of Amway, Herbalife, etc.

But now, I’ve been “selling” their product ever since I quit more than twenty years ago. My parents swiped my demo set. I kept asking for the full kitchen set for Christmas every year until I got it. And I still tell people about how the handles are so ergonomic for your hand compared to other knives, and how they are made of the same material as bowling balls, and how the tines go all the way down through the handle with three rivets. And that Double-D patented edge that never needs sharpening.

See what I mean? Totally selling it right now.

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57 Comments

  1. Great! Thank for information, I'm looking for it for a long time,

  2. Cheri Pryor says:

    btw…I have NEVER heard of Cutco knives. *GASP!*

  3. Cheri Pryor says:

    I had to sell advertising for about 2 days until they found out I typed 90 wpm (on an electric typewriter no less!). I then became their typesetter-extraordinaire. I can’t tell you how much sweat came out of my body in the 2 days I was an “account executive”. Fancy title for a sucky job.
    But I do love me some telemarkets. I completely waste their time by asking 4,327 questions about the product they want me to purchase/subscribe/make an appointment for and fein interest. THEY usually hang up on ME. I’m certain to end up in “ex-account executive hell” for teasing them. I should know better. I was them in a life long ago!

  4. Dogmudgeon says:

    I used to sell Cutco knives. After 31 years, they’re still sharp as the day I started hustling them onto my friends and family. Once they see that patented Double-D Edge, they can’t say ‘no’! (Unfortunately, the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania just did not know fine cutlery when he saw it.)
    After my parole, I also sold Encyclopaedia Britannica, Amway crap (forgive me), Fuller Brushes, and finally, insurance — for Progressive, in fact, so now I have something in common with Stephanie Courtney. No, it isn’t good looks, charm, a career, a tricked-out name tag, or tens of thousands of smitten fans. But, gee whillikers, someday I will! Rev. Warren says I can do anything if I just work hard enough!
    But for today, I toil in the fields of obscurity, workin’ for The Man every night and day.
    I like your blog. “Nanny Goats In Panties”. That’s even better than pre-teen robot Japanese girl superheroes in skimpy clothing. Which, thanks to weekly shots of court-ordered Depo-Provera, no longer have anything to worry about from me.

  5. dana says:

    I sold AMWAY cleaning products to my friends. They seemed to like them. I know I did. But I always felt like a pauper trying to SELL THINGS so I always charged MY price. Being an idiot, I never even TOLD them!! Never made a penny. Never sold another thing in my life.

  6. Blicky Kitty says:

    OMG we have the Cutco set! I have to say I’m pretty satisfied. We use them to cut leather and soda cans mostly. One of the steak knives broke though. I can send it back to you, right? C/O NGIP.
    My husband used to call the big one OJ. Funny guy.

  7. Lindsay says:

    I love Cutco knives and so badly wish I had my very own set. You are a good sales girl after all.

  8. I sold Mary Kay and did one whopping party. I hated selling something so expensive. Yes I loved the products, but if I can’t afford them, why would I talk others into buying them :(
    I hate, hate, hate asking people for money. I have to do it for work sometimes and I can’t stand it. If I was better at it, I’d probably have a lot better of a program, but I just can’t do it.

  9. Deidre says:

    One summer in college, I went door to door asking people for money for the environment. Selling stuff is hard, man!
    In other words, I feel ya.

  10. Jenners says:

    All I got out of this was Michael C. Hall … I love him. Love Dexter! So appropriate that he would have sold knives I think.
    And I used to beg for money from alumni in college too. Easier then because there wasn’t really caller ID. I dodge those same phone calls now.

  11. kat m says:

    SOLD! except – oh wait, we have lots o knives already – ah well….
    I once “sold” Kirby vacuum cleaners – OMG – in one month I made $146 and $100 was my boss taking pity on me and giving me one of his sales *LAUGH*

  12. Yaya says:

    Well you beat my brother. He sold those knives for about 1 1/2 hours.

  13. Laura says:

    So that’s not you working on one of the many shopping channels? Would the world be a better place if their were fewer salespeople or fewer gullible people?
    I pride myself in always saying “No” when someone tries to sell me anything. It’s the never-trust-someone-selling-you-something gene that I inherited from my parents.
    Who wants a pink Cadillac anyway? Except all the Mary Kay ladies.

  14. Breathe says:

    I can’t believe i never sold knives. Sure, I was a semi professional clown, but that seems so lame.
    I do still have my foam nose. They are crap. don’t buy one.

  15. You missed the one point that might have tipped me over to the “sold” side. Can you put them in the dishwasher….over and over and over again?
    My handy dandy high dollar knife set from Cabelas says “no dishwasher” and it means it. ugh…

  16. Larissa says:

    Those damned Cutco knives still sit in my kitchen today (minus the very tip of one my SO intelligent mother used to pry frozen hamburger patties apart with).
    Great knives if you can afford to sell a limb for only a partial set. ;)

  17. Jen says:

    My first ex sold Cutco knives. I’m not sure he actually sold any but I made sure I got the demo kit in the divorce. They are really great knives. Not sexy like those German knives we just had to register for our wedding but they work fantastically.
    I’ve sold cars, balloons, books, clothing, all retail. It’s the MLM aspect of even great products that I am unable to do. I just don’t have enough friends that I feel comfortable giving up their names. I don’t have enough that I can afford to lose even one.

  18. LiLu says:

    “for you scatalogical readers”
    Why you gotta call me out like that?

  19. Blond Duck says:

    When I worked at Gap, I talked people out of clothes. I didn’t work there very long.

  20. mrsmouthy says:

    I’d buy but two of my fingers have been bleeding for a week, thanks to my own Cutco knives. (And from two separate incidents.) Unless…does Cutco make anything in plastic?

  21. Bobbi says:

    I don’t need any knives, but do you have any encyclopedias you could sell me?
    I only need the letter Q.

  22. Scott says:

    I’ve wondered, if I could change myself into a beautiful woman and time travel back fifty years, and I managed to get front row seats at an Elvis concert, would he have bought ME a pink cadillac?
    Hmmm. Thought for the day.
    And selling anything you don’t completely believe in is just dumb.

  23. Kristin says:

    I’ve tried my hand in selling stuff but i hate it too. I’m just not made to be a sales lady. Some people are born to do it.
    And these knives have been around since the stone age i think. Hehe…

  24. HeatherPride says:

    I have not heard about these knives before, but I’m in the market for some knives now. Need some extra cash?

  25. Pooba says:

    Alright, you’ve convinced me. About sphincters, not the knives.

  26. Suzy says:

    It took me five times before I got the sign-in to work. Navy Seals couldnt break into that sign-in.

  27. LOL. This post proves you could sell a lot of stuff. You have a sneaky, passive-aggressive approach.
    Of course, I would know nothing about how to sell stuff…

  28. Alison Veres says:

    I have a set of Wusthof chef’s knives, made in Solingen, Germany– they cost me a FORTUNE, and they totally suck. Maybe not totally. They are very handsome to look at, and they have a nice weight and balance. What they suck at? Cutting stuff! Their blades don’t hold an edge AT ALL. They struggle to cut through butter. It’s pitiful. I’m going to go look up Cutco knives right now. Cause if something’s good? I wanna know. (also, I bought the Sham-Wows at a county fair, but I haven’t used them yet. Guess I don’t spill as much soda as I used to…

  29. Leslie Doyle says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I totally love the name of yours. : )

  30. Musing says:

    I voted! It only took ten thousand password tries but I finally got into my account.
    P.S. what, pray tell, is a Sham-Wow guy?

  31. Shelli says:

    I wonder if the Sham-Wow guy is going to be telling people “You’re going to love my nuts!” when he’s serving his prison sentence?!?!?!

  32. blueviolet says:

    I narrowly escaped one of those Cutco presentations last summer. Maybe I should have listened.

  33. Okay, if VodkaMom can admit it, so can I. I didn’t read the post, and I don’t need a drink.
    Heh, heh. Okay, well I lied. I really DO need a drink. :)
    All right!! I read it! Don’t cut me to the quick, Nanny Goat!

  34. Somewhere, Lloyd Dobler is weeping …

  35. vodkamom says:

    okay, I’ll admit i didn’t read the post. I had a long fucking day in kindergarten and need a drink.
    Just wanted to say hey.

  36. Jenn Thorson says:

    The guy who plays “Dexter”– the friendly-neighborhood serial killer– sold knives? Heh, there’s irony, isn’t there?
    Congrats, dear lady, on your nomination, too!!

  37. Sparky says:

    Ok, I’m ready to buy. Send me a set of those pink handled knives please …
    Hey, I even bought an Extended Warranty once. [with Homer Simpson voice] “Extended Warranty … how can I LOSE?!” [roflmao]

  38. Brad says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the gal in Florida who tried bite off the tongue off the pitchman everyone loves to bash: Vince “You’ll love my nuts!” Shlomi, aka The Sham-Wow Guy. I feel somewhat sorry for the guy, but wouldn’t haven’t minded if we never heard from him again…

  39. Sandra says:

    I sold Cutco 20+ years ago! How funny. My parents love their set in pearl. I’ve met others who sold it too. One guy is a CEO now.
    In fact, years later when we bought a camping trailer I Ebay’d a few of the most important ones in the pearl handled knives. I have the classic set in my house.

  40. Kim says:

    I am the same way about selling. I couldn’t sell a five-dollar bill for a buck!

  41. Anna Lefler says:

    That’s so funny because just this morning, my first thought when I woke up was, “Huh. I wonder how many sphincters I have?”
    And now I know.
    :^) Anna

  42. Susan says:

    I had the same awful job college. Complete with little bells to ring when we got a donation. Fun stuff.

  43. Laura says:

    I once sold newspaper subscriptions over the phone. I lasted not quite 2 weeks. What a soul sucking way to make a living.

  44. First and foremost, I already have a fake ID for voting purposes, so as soon as I remember what the heck it is, I’ll rock the vote for you!! :D
    Secondly, a girl from our church decided to sell Cutco two summers ago for her summer job. As she was one of the most shy, softspoken, introverted people we’d ever known, Hubby and I agreed to let her come do a demo for us just because in all the years we’d known her, we’d never heard her say more than maybe 10 words at a time.
    Hubby wound up bailing on me (I think for golf – he was all “you can give me the report” humph) but I sat through the presentation. Darned if I wasn’t impressed with the cutting the penny and the giant rope and leather etc. However, I did not have nearly enough cash to actually buy a single knife, so I wound up buying a cutting board, because I wanted to buy *something* (I am a sucker like that shhhhh) but wanted to spend less than $20, which isn’t enough to buy one tine of a serving fork in Cutco World.
    And that cutting board? Bites. It is more carved/scratched/dinged up in 2 years than my cheapo, Bed, Bath and Beyond piece of plastic cutting board has gotten in over a decade. Boo.
    Maybe I should’ve sold a few pints of blood and splurged on the scissors instead!
    :D

  45. Steph says:

    I just remembered the end of that story! So, I bought the demo set (like 7 knives)at a ridic low price like $75. It was just like brand new because she was such a bad salesman. THEN, I gave it to my boyfriend for our anniversary and totally pretended that I bought them individually. Cause I’m classy. She also gave me a few other things she had that she *forgot* to give to customers. Seriously, BAD CUTCO EMPLOYEE.
    2 years later we are still using them and he tells everyone about his great Cutco knives. Bwahahaha. Maybe I should buy a few more? Now I’m feeling guilty…

  46. Steph says:

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE Cutco!!! I had a friend who “sold” them… except she was really bad at it and quit, so I bought her demo set from her. Nice.

  47. Kim says:

    I do the same thing! It’s so easy for me to sell things when I get nothing out of it but the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone else. :0)

  48. Mike says:

    The mysterious 4th hole. Nannygoats has it.

  49. That’s why selling Avon rocks my face off. :D
    Everyone pretty much loves Avon. It sells itself AND it’s stuff people actually NEED.
    See? WIN-WIN.
    xoxo

  50. melly says:

    I can so relate! People have always tried to recruit me to sell stuff because they say I have “the personality” for it. NOT.
    I was once going into an MRI machine and the tech told me how lovely my makeup was and wondered if I’d be interested in selling Mary Kay. WTF?
    Most recently, I ordered some Avon face cream from a rep her in Sactown. She encouraged me to “become an Avon rep” so I could get the products at half price. I agreed, as long as I didn’t have to sell. I kept getting emails from her asking why I hadn’t sold anything. I quit and haven’t ever bought anything from Avon since then.
    I do love good kitchen knives..you’ve sold me on those!

  51. chowner says:

    I actually have a set of Cutco knives, which I love. And do you know what sold me? Cutting the penny.
    Maybe you deserve that pink Caddy after all.

  52. O.G. says:

    I learned something new today…not about knives (my parents have some cutco knives – they are amazing) but about sphincters.
    Thanks!

  53. Barbara says:

    It seems to me that the author of this article has some problems in life. Do not give up and you would succeed.

  54. Mighty M says:

    I think I need some knives…… I am so with you on the selling. I’ve fooled myself into trying once or twice, but I just don’t want to ask or sell, I want everyone to come to me and magically tell me they need EXACTLY what I am selling. Now THAT would be nice. ;-)

  55. Jan says:

    Sphincters?
    Have you contacted Ripley yet?
    I’d ask for pictures, but….no.

  56. dizzblnd says:

    WOW! What a post! You have totally sold me on the knives.. How many payments of $39.99 do I have to make?
    I will gladly vote for you, you are lucky, because I am already registered, otherwise you’d be SOL