In 1950, Norman Rockwell paid tribute to that unsung hero of American commerce, the traveling salesman. Long before sales meetings could be held on Zoom, these road warriors were the front lines of the wholesale industry. They traveled the country, confronted with heavy traffic, stubborn customers, and cheap accommodations, like the rented room in which we find this commercial crusader. In his tiny room, the salesman has been allotted two meager towels for his trip down the hall to the communal bathroom. The room has no closet; he must drape his coat and loud tie over a chair and hangs his pants from a dresser drawer in hopes of removing some of its wrinkles. Now in bed with, we hope, an unlit cigar, he cocks an appraising eye at the next card, deciding whether to play it in the game of solitaire he’s got going on his suitcase or to reach for the fly swatter
This article is featured in the July/August 2022 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image: Norman Rockwell / © SEPS
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