'Selling in small towns to family drapers had etiquette'

File: http://www.lifehistoriesarchive.com/Files/BGS33.pdf

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'Selling in small towns to family drapers had etiquette'


Billy Gallagher describes his role travelling around the country selling shirts to distributers and shops.


Billy Gallagher


Trinity College Dublin




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Billy Gallagher

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Work and employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Donegal, Lifford

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In 1964 I was given a mini minor and asked to go and sell around the country. This was very hard as every shop in Ireland had dedicated suppliers and travellers calling. We had no innovation to offer other than the personality of the salesman. Being young and the son of the proprietor was no advantage. It actually happened on occasion that a full week's work and travel would not elicit even one sale of any kind. Commercial travellers stayed in hotels in all the small towns in Ireland and although I was one of them I was too young and inexperienced to be part of the social milieu. Selling in small towns to family drapers had etiquette. You never went into a shop where there was a traveller already there showing his wares. It was impossible to tell how long it would be before he was finished so you had to stay outside the shop and wait (or go to the next town and return later). If you got behind one of the big wholesale companies (Ferrier Pollock, Crowe Wilson, Arnotts Wholesale) they might take a day and a half to show shirts, corsets, bras, socks, nightwear, suits etc. When the salesman came out to his van with one lot of suitcases and acquired another set with different product lines you had to get an estimation of his likely finishing time.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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