Anderson Family History

Traveling Salesman Norris

Of all the different salesmen that called at Center Store, my favorite was a gentleman named Norris. He traveled out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and represented the Manchester Biscuit Company. He would make his rounds every three or four weeks, and when he arrived, I was always on my best behavior.

Norris would bring into the store a sample case about the size of a large suitcase. When the sides were opened on this large black box there were at least a dozen velvet-lined trays that opened up, accordion fashion, similar to a fishing tackle box, and on each little tray was displayed an inviting, mouthwatering cookie. There were marshmallow cookies, covered with chocolate; gingersnap cookies; oatmeal cookies with a white frosting dribbled over the top; sandwiched cookies; coconut cookies; cookies in the shape of Dutch windmills; every kind of cookie that Manchester’s were making at the time.

Norris would always ask if I had been a good little boy since his last visit and I always had to assure him that I had. Then he would let me pick out one of the cookies from his display case to have as a free sample and after eating it, I would always highly recommend that Dad carry that particular kind of cookie on hand ‘cause it would be a good seller.

Cases of cookies were delivered to the store in boxes about one foot square. The boxes were then placed in a rack display that held eight or ten boxes at a slight angle with a glass cover over each selection. I don’t remember if they were sold by the pound or by the dozen, but a lot of cookies went through the store, and I had more than my share.

Other salesmen made their regular stops at Center, but Norris was certainly my favorite.

By Merland D. Howe, 2000.

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