Managing Door-to-Door Sales of Vacuum Cleaners in Interwar Britain
affiliation not provided to SSRN
March 4, 2009
Business History Review, Vol. 82, No. 4
Door-to-door selling was a key factor behind the particularly rapid interwar diffusion of vacuum cleaners among British households, relative to other "high-ticket" labor-saving appliances. Yet the door-to-door system incurred both high distribution costs and considerable controversy-owing to widespread sharp practice. Employers enticed salesmen through grossly inflated claims regarding earnings, which were in fact insufficient for most salesmen to make an acceptable living. This led many salesmen to engage in their own sharp practices-which eventually brought this form of marketing into disrepute.
Keywords: door-to-door selling, appliances, vacuums, salesmen, households, Great Britain
JEL Classification: N84, M3, D3Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 5, 2009
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