This piece was originally produced for Arrvls podcast on July 13, 2016
I grew up in a family of travelling sales people. My weekends were spent at State fairs, home shows and my personal favourite: the hunting and fishing show. As a kid, I would walk down the aisles of the trade shows amazed by the slick talking, quick witted sales people shouting into hands-free microphones while they sliced and diced potatoes with the newest "As Seen On TV" kitchen appliance.
I couldn't wait for the chance to get up on stage and perform in front of the public while mopping up obscene amounts of diet coke with the Sham-WOW.
When I got old enough I went on the road with the other salespeople. I travelled to glamorous cities like Fort McMurray, Alberta and Regina, Saskatchewan. I worked shows in remote places where the only store in town was the gas station and the only bar doubled as a strip club after midnight.
My star product was the Euro Steam- an iron and an upright steamer (2 products in 1!)- and sold for over 200 dollars. All of a sudden I was raking it in, sometimes clearing a couple grand each day while still living at home with my parents.
The money became my life. I didn't see much of my friends. I was constantly travelling. I watched myself become cynical and lie to customers; "Of course it works on silk," "I swear by it, only iron I'll ever use," "it regularly sells for twice this much!" Coworkers would fight over sales commission, yell at customers trying to return products, and sabotage the competition.
This is a story about how I lived for the next quick buck and then realized how empty the pay checks made me feel, and ultimately a retreat from the lifestyle altogether. I questioned my ethics and wondered whether I was a good person. Worse- it made me question my parents' ethics and morality.