Charles at the Beach: Parable of the salesman

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Charles M. Kelly. File photo

One day Mr. Salesman knocked on a door. Mr. Prospect opened it and said, “Yes?”

“I’d like to sell you car insurance.”

“I don’t own a car.”

“How dare you violate my rights!”

“I’m not—”

“I work hard. I earn an honest living. You’re trying to stop me from paying my mortgage. You’re evil!”

“Why don’t you try selling me something I want to buy?”

“You won’t buy it. You’re an anti-salesman bigot!”

Mr. Prospect tried to change the subject. “Do you sell renter’s insurance?”

“Oh, I get it! You hate me because I own a home and you don’t!”

“Look, jerk, you came to my door—”

“I have the right to knock on any door I want!”

Mr. Prospect slammed the door in Mr. Salesman’s face.

Mr. Salesman called Mr. Prospect’s landlord and complained that Mr. Prospect was rude to him and demanded he be evicted.

At first Mr. Landlord ignored Mr. Salesman. Unfortunately, Mr. Salesman kept calling him. Mr. Landlord asked Mr. Prospect to apologize to Mr. Salesman.

Mr. Prospect moved to another building and paid more money to a different property owner.

Mr. Landlord went on social media to complain that Mr. Propsect didn’t understand property rights.

The Tenants Association posted “no solicitor” signs to keep salespeople out of the complex.

Mr. Landlord threatened to evict everyone if the signs were not taken down.

The signs went down and a third of the tenants moved out.

The Angry Insurance Sellers Association sued the Tenants Association and Mr. Landlord.

The Coalition of Landlords accused the Angry Insurance Sellers Association of being enemies of property rights and probably being socialists or Communists.

The City Council passed an ordinance outlawing door-to-door salesmen.

The state legislature passed a law requiring cities to give permits to door-to-door salesmen.

The city and state governments sued each other.

Mr. Prospect sued Mr. Salesman for harassment and slander.

Mr. Salesman sued Mr. Prospect for discrimination.

Mr. Landlord advocated a boycott of Mr. Prospect’s employer.

Mr. Prospect’s employer fired him.

Mr. Prospect applied for a job with Mr. Salesman’s insurance company. He told the Boss: “I won’t get mad at people who aren’t buying what I’m selling. They might buy something else from me in the future.”

The Boss hired Mr. Prospect and fired Mr. Salesman.

Mr. Salesman sued the Boss for discrimination.

The insurance sales company went broke.

Mr. Prospect lost his job.

Mr. Salesman can’t find a new job.

Mr. Landlord went broke. With fewer properties on the market, rents went up.

The consultant to the Tenants Association went broke.

The Tenants Association went broke.

Angry Insurance Sellers Association went broke.

But all of them insist they won because they proved their point to other guy.

Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun.

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