Traveling salesmen ushered in a unique phase in our neighborhood. Whenever they came by to sell vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias, several things would happen. First, lemonade and vegetable stands would pop up along the street! It didn't matter that every vegetable garden at every house was the same! Suddenly there was someone who would buy them! From my vantage point these stands were really a vehicle for both homeowner and salesman—for one to get rid of a few old tomatoes, for another to get into your house!
Once inside the sales pitch would begin. First the salesman would kindly drink lemonade and watch a few video tapes of the family's favorite dog. Then he would stand up and vacuum the rug as a demonstration. Wives, well versed in vacuum cleaners, would politely listen. The conversation with an adult was viewed as the most valuable part of the whole experience. Then the wife would either buy yet another vacuum cleaner or politely decline. And you would be surprised how different vacuums are, some are good and some are pieces of trash!
Either way, the salesman would then leave and vanish into thin air!
This process rarely varied from home to home! And then, after the salesman bad finished his business at every home and truly vanished into the blue, everything would return to normal. Vegetables would be thrown away and left to rot away in the neglected gardens.
The gardens were valuable for a time and that was all! Just like traveling salesmen!