“Good Evening Ladies…”

Those three words were my normal opening to small groups of women who would gather in someone’s apartment to watch and be amazed as I cooked a three course meal for all of them using stackable cooking pots and pans on a single stove heating zone.

The year was 1969/70; the place was Washington D.C.; I was a sargeant working at the Pentagon and living in Arlington, VA. with my pregnant wife, and a two year old son. I needed extra money and was offered a part time job selling cookware to young, single women. At that time Washington was filled to the brim with apartments rented by single women. These apartments were owned by government agencies, the largest being owned by the CIA and FBI. At that time, Washington had the largest per capita number of single women in the country and for lots of sensible reasons, most of them decided to live in buildings with like-situated women. They had to eat and they had to cook, and I was there to show them a quick and easy way to prepare delicious and nutritious meals…and did I mention a complete cooked meal without the use of one drop of water? Amazing? Lots of the ladies thought so. In the bottom pan, pour in a can of Campbells Golden Mushroom soup (this could be a first course, or a delicious sauce for the protein course), top that with small chicken breasts, top that with sliced potatoes, top that with assorted vegetables of choice, top that with ingredients for Bananna Foster, and let the cookware do it’s magic.

While the meal was cooking, I would entice them with a free gift offer if they purchased the complete set (a variety of pan combos were available to purchase also). By planning for the future, not only would they have a complete set of cookware, they could also have, absolutey free, a cedar-lined Hope Chest to store linens and such other necessities they would want and need after their wedding day. This free gift was only available with the complete set and to make the decision easier, the company had a convenient monthly installment plan. As they all thought and chatted amongst themselves, I checked the food and served them all the results of my efforts.

I was named “salesman of the month” a few times and received both cash and gifts, one being the ceder-lined chest which my wife loved and used for many years thereafter. I was sucessful I think because I believed in the product and I saw how happy the women were when placing an order. This experiene was a win/win for all involved and it helped me get through a tight financial time in my life. Bon Appetit everyone and enjoy!


About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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