For Our Consideration: The invasive, manipulative art of selling knives door-to-door

The summer after my freshman year of college, I became a saleswoman for Cutco cutlery. One day I was 19, broke and aimless, living at home and trying to earn beer money without working too hard. The next I was in a stale office, slowly grasping that the marketing position I’d seen advertised on a telephone pole actually involved selling parers, peelers, and steak knives out of my car. I probably should’ve seen it coming. A telephone pole isn’t a job board. I took the gig anyway.

Cutco is an American cutlery company created in 1948 by Wear-Ever Aluminum. Based in upstate New York—where you can stop by the visitors’ center or drop off your knives for sharpening—the company is known for its distinctive curvy handles, D-shaped serrated blades, and the army of awkward collegiates who hawk the knives to unsuspecting friends and neighbors. Ask …

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