And Before Amazon

Don’t you just love the ease with which you can order things these days? Download an app to your smartphone or tablet and you can shop from the comfort of your home in your nightie!  Pay for your purchases electronically! Have them delivered overnight! WOW!

Now it the time that I say-Well, it hasn’t always been like that!  When I was a child, we had the ability to order and have it delivered to our house, too.  But it wasn’t the same as today.  The Jewel Tea man who drove a brown truck that looked very much like the UPS man today had a route through my neighborhood.  He knew all the folks and would take orders for coffee and teas and some other grocery items.  Then the next week when he came he would deliver it to your front porch.  You would pay him in cash-yes in cash.  Because he knew his customers,  he knew how soon to stop by and get a new order from you.  If you were not home, you could leave the money in an envelope that you taped to your door.  Easy easy.

Another door to door sale/delivery item was with the Stanley man.  He sold products that you used to clean your home. And you bought from him-not the local grocery store- because his products were much better.

My favorite home delivery person was the Charles Chip man.  He delivered potato chips to your house.  They came in a large metal tin with a pop off lid.  When you needed more, you just left the empty one on the front porch.  He would leave a filled one.  It was important at my house to make sure you put the tin out first thing in the morning so you didn’t miss him.  Man–those were the BEST potato chips I can ever remember eating.  And they stayed so fresh in the resealable tin.  Hmmm Hmmmm

There was another class of salesmen who took orders from housewives and delivered the product later.  You didn’t see them very much because they sold products that were not consumable.  One man sold World Book Encyclopedias.  Yes encyclopedias.  We did not have Google in those days.  We had to actually read a book to find out facts for our reports.  And we had to take notes.  A set of World Books pretty much insured that the salesman would not need to visit again any time in the near future.  The other area that was specialized was the vacuum cleaner salesman.  Once he had demonstrated and persuaded you to buy a new vac pretty much so put himself out of business at your house.  Vacs lasted a LONG time.  And they weighted a ton when you had to lug them around!

When I had young children, we could order things, too.  First you would call the Sears or Penney’s or whatever catalog order department.  You would place your order with a real live person taking it down.  And then you would drive to the catalog order pickup store in your city in a week and get your order.  Frankly, we thought this was pretty good.  Little did we know what would happen 30 years down the road!

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