The Tale of the Traveling Salesman

Aug 01, 2015

RAY: About 40 years ago, a guy took a job as a traveling salesman. He immediately fell out of favor with his boss, who assigned him to spend the winter traveling around exotic places like Moose Jaw, Maine and Freeze-Your-Butt, New Hampshire. He had to travel by car from one location to another, so he often found himself driving from town to town in the winter looking for cheap motels in which to spend the night.
He began to notice a disturbing thing. When he would stop at these motels, oftentimes the owner of the motel was also the clerk, and they'd have you fill out that little card--you know, name, address, home phone--in case you skipped out in the middle of the night. Also, the motel owner would ask him what he did for a living.
When he said he was a salesman, he would almost always be assigned a room on the second floor. I asked him if it had anything to do with the car that he drove. And he said, "I guess you could say so. At the time I was driving a Volkswagen." And that's your hint.
Why was he always assigned to a room on the second floor?


RAY: Here were the hints: He started working 40 years ago. He drives a lot, he's concerned about getting what? Good mileage. So he buys himself a Volkswagen. But not just any old Volkswagen. A VW diesel. Because he's in Moose Jaw, Maine, and Freeze-Your-Butt, New Hampshire, in the wintertime, he's got to plug the thing in overnight. Otherwise, it won't start.

The reason the motel owners put him on the second floor all the time is so they could see the extension cord that the salesman had run from his motel room to his car. He was trying to sneak some electricity! But being annoyed at the salesman's petty electrical theft, the motel owners would unplug the extension cord in the middle of the night. So, if you were a salesperson plying your trade at that time, you often got unplugged. Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is George H. Thom III from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Congratulations!

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