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Travelling Salesman Montage

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"You can't do it,
So give up now
Whatcha gonna do
When your dough runs out?
Ain't that a drag?"

A person facing repeated rejection or unsuitability, i.e. via speed-dating, door-to-door selling or people being interviewed.

Will typically show the person approaching various people with increasing desperation, and always ends with a rapid-fire series of doors being slammed in his face, women slapping him, getting laughed at, etc. Like all montages, it is a way of being an economical storyteller, since it summarizes a bunch of incidents in a rapid sequence.

A type of Failure Montage. Super-Trope to Terrible Interviewees Montage.


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  • Atomic Robo. In "The Ghost of Station X", a team from Tesladyne is trying to track down an entire house that was covertly shipped in one piece from New York. There are no records remaining (erased by the conspiracy), but they figure someone involved in a move like that must not have forgotten. After a series of increasingly incredulous responses from movers, skycaps, stevedores, pilots and shipping clerks when they ask if they'd helped move a whole house by air freight, one actually says yes.
  • Several story arcs in Powers include a montage sequence of people responding to questions about the current case. Unlike most of the examples, these sequences end in a success (i.e. Walker and Pilgrim finally find somebody who has a useful lead).
  • In issue 24 of Justice League International, Maxwell Lord throws a party, inviting several superheroes under the pretext of opening a branch of the League to be based in Europe. He tasks Oberon with asking all the prospective candidates a series of personal—and as it turns out, rather invasive—questions. The heroes' reactions grow from incredulous to annoyed to insulted rather quickly.

  • The Muppets Take Manhattan - Kermit & company trying to get a talent agent to book their musical.
    Dr. Teeth: You can't take no for an answer! You can't take no for an answer! You can't take no for an answer! No, no, no!
  • Tommy Boy, of course. It also had a reverse montage where they quickly get people to buy their parts.
  • Groundhog Day features a sequence in which Phil Connors is attempting to use the knowledge he's gaining in multiple repetitions of the day to seduce his coworker Rita. At first, he seems to be making progress, as he learns what mistakes not to make, but he's ultimately unable to recreate the exact circumstances of the day on which he got the closest to succeeding, leading to a montage of him being slapped in the face at different points during the day until he finally gives up.
  • The Secret of My Success: After a rapid-fire sequence of rejections, Michael J. Fox declares, "Whatever the exception is, I can fix it. I can be older, I can be taller, I can be anything." The interviewer asks, "Can you be a minority woman?"
  • In Cool Runnings, a variety of businesspeople laugh when asked to sponsor the Jamaican bobsled team.
  • The protagonist of Good Bye, Lenin! and his co-worker go through one of these selling satellite dishes. They eventually succeed.
  • The movie of Bridget Jones's Diary has a montage of Bridget going for several unsuccessful job interviews in TV. When she admits "I've got to leave my current job because I've shagged my boss", she is hired at last.
  • In Edward Scissorhands, Peg repeatedly strikes out while trying to sell Avon products to her neighbors. After having yet another door shut in her face, she gets the idea to drop by the creepy castle on the hill where she discovers Edward.
  • Inverted in Secondhand Lions, where an early scene shows many salesmen trying to get the brothers McCann to buy their wares...only to get shot at by the brothers.
  • Cocktail. Brian Flanagan has a series of job interviews where he says things like, "I'm willing to start at the bottom;" interviewers tell him "You're aiming too high," and that they can't hire anyone without a college degree.
  • In Walk the Line where Johnny Cash is trying to make a living as a door-to-door salesman and got nothing but doors slammed in his face.
  • In the film adaptation of The Day of the Locust, former vaudeville performer Harry Greener sells silver polish door to door partly to give himself an outlet to keep performing vaudeville routines before launching into sales patter. However, he was unsuccessful as a vaudeville performer, and is even less so as a salesman; one woman cuts him off before he can get more than a few sentences into his patter, a man mowing his lawn turns tail and runs as soon as Harry goes from a magic trick to a sales pitch, and another woman simply slams the door on him. By the time he gets to accountant Homer Simpson's house, he is a disheveled mess.
  • While in the development stage, an earlier version of Zootopia had Nick as the central protagonist and a deleted scene shows Nick being repeatedly rejected by every bank in town as he tries to secure a loan to finance a theme park he wants to build. Some of it is due to Fantastic Racism, some due to his lack of preexisting credit, and some due to his inadvertently offending the lenders with his expressions. Finally, pathetically, he tries one last time with The Mafiya...and succeeds.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Entropy", Anya has a scene like this when she's trying to convince various women to wish for vengeance on Xander after he left her at the altar.
  • A Terrible Interviewees Montage happens in Stargate SG-1 when Cam Mitchell, shortly after we first meet him, is trying to find replacements of the title team.
  • Malcolm finds himself subjected to this as he tries to raise funds for a charity 10K. The montage suddenly cuts from people slamming the door in his face to people happily signing up to pledge money, and then we see Malcolm giving a thumbs up from Stevie's wheelchair, while Stevie himself sits at the curb, looking pissed.
  • Played straight (and promptly made fun of) in Hired!, a short film by Chevrolet shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • When Van Alden becomes a door-to-door salesman in Boardwalk Empire, he tends to get a lot of doors slammed in his face.
  • An episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide features Moze trying to sell chocolates door-to-door. Among her potential customers were a Conspiracy Theorist (with Tinfoil Hat) and a man who gets caught trying to cheat on his diet by his wife.
  • In Pam & Tommy, Rand and Milton go around pitching their stolen sex tape to a series of reputable porn companies, and are repeatedly shot down because they do not have releases.
  • Iron Fist (2017). In "Under Leaf Pluck Lotus", three attractive saleswomen for The Hand are shown marketing synthetic heroin, with the scene cutting between one marketing it to a doctor, one to an investor, and one to a Russian drug dealer, with the women finishing each other's sentences.
  • Young Sheldon:
    • In 'Quirky Eggheads and Texas Snow Globes', Georgie buys a failing store's inventory of Texas snow globes and goes door to door trying to sell them. The first time he tries it, he gets rejected every time, even by his own grandmother. The second time, however, he becomes successful after playing to his customer's memories of the last time it snowed on Texas.
    • Mary gets one of these montages in 'A Pink Cadillac and a Glorious Tribal Dance' intercut with Sheldon's search for someone to take him to a comic book convention in Texarkana.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Happened to Linus once in a Peanuts Sunday strip where he goes door-to-door around the neighborhood to tell people about the Great Pumpkin. The strip itself has six people slamming doors in his face as soon as he tells them why he's there; according to the letter he writes to the Great Pumpkin afterwards, he actually visited 50 houses and it happened at every one of them.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: One of the montages in the Strong Bad Email "montage" features The Cheat and a Wagon Fulla Pancakes as "down-on-their-luck door-to-door salesmen".

    Web Comics 
  • In the Order of the Stick prequel On the Origin of PCs, Roy is subjected to one of these when interviewing for his final party member.
  • Used in the introduction of Ow, my sanity, to show how much David's life sucks.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Alvin Show opens with a montage of Dave Seville getting turned down by radio stations when he asks them to play the Chipmunks' new song.
  • King of the Hill has this when Peggy is a saleswoman attempting to sell energy supplement snacks. She gets the door slammed on her from every house she goes to and skips Bill's house who is willing to buy her products.
  • Daffy Duck goes through one of these at the beginning of the Looney Tunes movie Daffy Duck's Quackbusters.
  • The Misfits in Jem go through a montage of having their amateurish fashion photos rejected by over a dozen publishers, with one of the last ones actually throwing their portfolio out the door.
  • An episode of The Cramp Twins has Lucien accompanying his door-to-door salesman father on a day at work, and loudly mentioning the awful ingredients of the products Mr Cramp is trying to sell, and we get a montage of doors being slammed as he lists all the possible side-effects, ending with Cramp coming home and declaring it his worst day ever. The next day we see Wayne making sell after sell as he shamelessly lies and makes outrageous promises to persuade people to buy, ending with Cramp coming home and declaring it his best day ever while singing Wayne's praises. It turns into an Oh, Crap! when Lucien informs him that he failed to notice that Wayne had closed a deal by promising a customer ponies that belong to Cramp's Bad Boss's Spoiled Brat daughter.
  • In Season 3 of The Legend of Korra, the team is traveling the Earth Kingdom looking for new Airbenders to help rebuild the Air Nation. After their first interview fails, we get a montage of Tenzin going door-to-door and telling people of all the great things about being an Airbender, and being utterly baffled when no one agrees on how much fun it would be to shave your head, give up all your worldly possessions, and be best friends with sky bison.
  • In the Doug episode "Doug Door-to-Door", Doug faces this when attempting to sell candy for his scouting group.

Alternative Title(s): Traveling Salesman Montage