Wetmore and Sugden

In grade school I read anything I could get my hands on, even my mother’s housewife magazines. In one of them I found an ad seeking Christmas card sales people. “Sell Christmas cards with names imprinted!” it read, “Send for sales folders! Make good money!”

Man, that looked great! I always liked to send for free stuff through the mail but it was mostly for paper model airplanes or atomic rings.

(Yes, truly, an atomic ring shaped like a little atom bomb. If you took the plastic tail section off and looked into the ‘bomb’ in the dark, you’d see flashes of radiation. This ring was authentic: it contained a source of alpha particles. The particles that passed through the clear plastic window at one end of the ‘bomb’ caused visible flashes in the plastic as they were absorbed. The principle was the same as that of the scintillation counter, used in nuclear research. It was completely safe: the metal and plastic in the ring shielded the user from all radiation. After a few months the radiation source expended itself. The little flashes were gone.)

But this offer from card printers Wetmore and Sugden was serious. I mailed the coupon and received folders of example cards.

So, I knocked on doors around the neighborhood and showed the samples. Almost everyone bought, and my commission was 40 percent! I was only ten years old, and making dollars and dollars of profit!

The next year I got calls from my customers asking whether I was selling cards again. The business got even better!

BUT the year after that, church groups found out about the business. When I visited my customers the third year they mostly told me that their church or club groups were selling cards to raise money, and they had to buy from them.

It was a great business while it lasted, though.

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