By Chris Wyatt
How to win at door-to-door selling.
(Scene: A man and woman are sitting reading and knitting. There is a third chair and a coffee table.)
Voice: Ever been approached at home by a salesman? You can tell them a mile off - sorry, kilometre off. So obvious by their car, their clothes and their patter. The situation is so familiar.
FX: Sound of motor car drawing up. Door closes.
Man: (Looking up) Hello? A visitor. Who could that be? (Stands and looks out imaginary window) Wow! Look at that. Who do we know with a car like that?
Woman: (Not looking up) What'e he wearing?
Man: A blue suit. And he's carrying a briefcase.
Woman: It'll be a bleeding salesman. Tell him to go away.
FX: Door bell.
(Man exits. Voices are heard offstage.)
Man: Er....good afternoon.
Salesman: Mr Feathery?
Salesman: A colleague of yours recommended I come and see you.
Man: Who was that?
Salesman: And I thought that you are just the person I need to see. May I come in?
Man: Er.....yes.......no........umm.....I ........ just a minute ......er. (Man backs on, followed by salesman)
Woman: (Not looking up) Not today, thankyou.
Salesman: (Opens case and takes out paper) I have here an important questionnaire I'd like you to help me with.
Woman: (Firmly) Not today, thank you.
Man: Um... I...er.
Salesman: (Reading) Do you think the average daily temperature has been increasing over the past few years?
Woman: NOT TODAY, THANK YOU!
Salesman: Do you prefer coffee with or without?
Man: Um .......yes.
Woman: (Standing) Goodbye. (Walks up to salesman)
Salesman: Do you have 32 normal teeth in your head?
Man: (To woman) What's he talking about?
Woman: (Turning salesman around) Nice to have met you.
Salesman: Just a minute, I haven't finished. This is important. You don't know what it's about.
Woman: (Pushing him offstage) Yes I do. Goodbye. Not today, thank you.
Salesman: But...but...I...don't you want to have a look at my selection of ......
FX: Door slams.
(Lights go to black)
Voice: So obvious. You want to become a successful salesman? Here's the secret.
(Lights up on same scene. Man and woman sit in chairs.)
FX: Sound of beat-up car arriving. Door shuts.
Man: (Looking up) Hello, a visitor. Who could that be? (Stands up and looks out window) Hmmm. Don't know him. Looks a bit like that farmer down the road. Does he drive a '68 Holden?
Woman: Mr Fennel? Might be. Never met him, though I've heard he's a nice enough chap. Go and let him in dear.
FX: Front door bell rings.
(Man exits. Voices offstage)
Scruggs: Ah, yeah. Gidday. M'name's Bill Scruggs.
Man: How d'you do, Bill. Maurice Feathery.
Scruggs: Yeah. Look, Maurice, I'm in a spot of bother. Mind if I come in?
Man: Not at all. Come in.
Scruggs: Ah, yeah, thanks.
(Man and Scruggs enter. Scruggs is dressed in black singlet, old shorts, gumboots, battered hat. He carries an old overnight bag. Woman stands as they enter.)
Man: This is my wife, Gladys. Glad, this is Bill .... er...
Woman: How do you do. Please sit down.
Scruggs: Yeah - great - thanks. Look - I need help pretty urgent.
Man: Yes, so you were saying. Anything we can do to help?
Scruggs: (Looks awkward) Well, actually......I.....I need to borrow a set of inciclpledias (he stumbles over the word) real urgent.
Man: (hesitantly) A set of encyclopedias? (looks quizzically at woman)
Scruggs: Yeah, that's right........ incicl.....ciclo...them things. You got some, then?
Woman: (looks at man) Well ....um...no. I'm afraid that's one thing.....
Scruggs: Aw, crumbs. That's too bad. What am I going to do now? I was really counting on...
Woman: Oh, I do feel bad about this.
Scruggs: (Near to tears) You don't how much I need to borrow...
Man: (quickly) Look, I could nip down to the......no, that's no good. It's Sunday. Shops are closed.
Woman: Yes, we would willingly have bought a set so that we could loan it to you. What a pity the bookshops aren't open.
Scruggs: Would you really have bought one?
Man: Why, yes ... of course. But I'm afraid it's quite impossible to...
Scruggs: (throws his bag on the table and opens it) Well, it just so happens that I've got a brand new set here. A set of 10 volumes. All the information an average household could ever want. And only $20 depost, $5 weekly for 12 months.
Man: Is that so? Isn't that a stroke of luck dear?
Woman: Yes, very fortunate. Look, we could pay the deposit right now ... I've got that much on me ... and you could borrow the set for a couple of days.
Scruggs: (Humbly) Well...I really...I don't...you don't need to go to any trouble ...you know ... gee, I...
Man: Not at all. Don't be embarrassed. Look, here's the 20 bucks.
Scruggs: (Produces sheet of paper) Ta! Just sign here, please. (Man does so. Scruggs stands) Well, you've been very kind to me. Really grateful.
Man: Not at all. No trouble really.
(Scruggs turns to go)
Woman: Don't forget your bag.
Scruggs: Eh? Oh...I think I can leave them here.
Woman: But don't you need them?
Scruggs: Grief no! I've got another 20 sets in the car.
© Chris Wyatt, All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: email@example.com