Traveling salesman?

Posted by Bob on February 11, 2002

In Reply to: Traveling salesman? posted by masakim on February 11, 2002

: : : : : : Does anyone know of the origin of this phrase please. As used in Gosford Park - I've seen this referred to as an anachronism

: : : : : I've heard this used, but isn't it more normally "goes with the turf"? Or is this latter a more recent adaptation?

: : : : I've heard it as "It comes with the territory".

: : : I think of this a vaguely imperialistic, colonial, scramble for Africa and all that. In teh scramble for Africa, the French and British (mainly) were forced for strategic reasons to occupy places like The Sudan, which were essentially dessert in order to be able to hold on to the richer parts. The phrase, it comes/goes with the territory seems to be saying that with the aquisition of something desireable may come responsibilites which are less than pleasant.

: : : Like I say, this is only a guess.

: : Another guess -- I think it has to do with the territory of a traveling salesman.

: Bingo!

: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back -- that' an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.
: --Arthur Miller, _Death of a Salesman_

: come with the territory
: Accompany specific circumstances, as in "You may not like the new coach, but he comes with the territory", or "As the editor, you may not like listening to complaints, but it comes with the territory." This term uses territory in the sense of "sales district," and the phrase originally meant that traveling sales personnel had to accept whatever problems or perquisites they found in their assigned region. Today it is applied in many other contexts. [Second half of 1900s]
: From The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer

From that, it does seem anachronistic in Gosford Park. But I don't care: it's still one of my favorite movies. Ever.