25 Comments

  1. Before I saw the second and third panels, I thought the cat was being zapped by static electricity. When I saw the third panel, the fact that the guy was selling solar panels seemed consistent with that, i.e., sources of power.

    So . . . good on me for finding a pattern? Except that it does nothing to explain the “joke.“

  2. I was briefly thrown by the misconception that was exterminator Dale Gribble from “King of the Hill”

  3. I was going to send this in too when I saw it. I do think that’s it though, although I liked beckoningchasm reasoning. The cat is giving Lio lessons on being assertive and chasing away unwanted salespeople. It was the solar panels that threw me, as I assume that people would want to hear about those things. However, according to Wikipedia, the 7 most common industries that go door-to-door are “cable, telecommunications, solar, energy, security, landscaping and construction”.

    Well, they haven’t bothered me, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t really get the joke…for what it is.

  4. Hmm, it’s a conundrum: you’re a cartoonist, and want to show a door-to-door salesman, what do you do? Go with the old tropes of Fuller Brush or Encyclopedia, and have the younger generation (hell, even the older generation — has anyone here ever encountered a Fuller Brush salesman?) be bewildered, or go with, as Stan has shown, the actual current salesman, and have everyone be confused (“what’s he got against solar?”); maybe he should have stuck with good ol’ fashion proselytizers — religious or political — they never go out of style!

  5. I’ve never had a solar panel salesman come to my door, although I’ve gotten plenty of robocalls from them. But there is an easy explanation — I live in a townhouse complex and do not own my roof, and therefor the door-to-door salesman won’t bother,
    But anyway, thanks to the robocalls, I do get that solar panel salesmen make unsolicited sales pitches, so I get the joke.

  6. “Intimidate the black bear by making yourself look bigger and making noise.” Too bad that doesn’t work on cold callers.

  7. Back to the original questions, I believe that the cat is giving Liō lessons on being assertive, judging by the fact that the cat is giving his smile of approval in the last panel — which is an odd look, considering that the cat is rarely seen smiling.

    But as for the question of not liking solar panels or just salespeople in general — that I’m less sure of. I’m tempted to say that he doesn’t like salespeople in general, but the words “Solar Panel(s)” are shown twice, making me think that there’s something specific behind solar panels that displeases Liō.

    What that might be, I’m really not sure. Maybe Solar Panel salesmen are just really pushy in Mark Tatulli’s neighborhood.

  8. Is there a reason why there’s a notch in the salesman’s hat? Is it supposed to reveal that there’s something fake about the hat, as if it’s making the man’s head look bigger, when it’s not really that big?

    Maybe solar panels do the same for your house: They make your house look bigger, but it’s just an illusion.

    And Liō’s taking a page out of his cat’s book: Standing on your paws with your fur on end could make you look bigger, which might be enough to scare the salesman away.

    I don’t know… The more I think about this line of reasoning, the less it makes sense to me.

  9. J-L, I think the odd shape of the hat is just an attempt to render the separation of the back buckle-strap on a typical “ballcap”. The artist is aware there is a gap above the strap and below the solid covering, but hasn’t gotten the keyhole shape quite right.

  10. “has anyone here ever encountered a Fuller Brush salesman?”

    Actually, yes. Also door-to door encyclopedias and vacuum cleaners. But all of that was a lifetime ago, around 40 years.

    Regarding the comic, I didn’t catch the idea that the cat was training Lio, but it works for me. The second panel could be captioned, “Okay, now you try it.”

  11. The only door to door sales folk I’ve encountered in recent years were kids/teens selling candy or magazine subscriptions or the like as (supposed, anyway) charitable fundraisers. But as a (farm) kid myself sixty-plus years ago, I recall a door to door (farm to farm) salesperson who had a regular route to sell Watkins brand spices and syrups and such, and a mere twenty-five or so years ago I was visiting a friend in a semi-rural area and was amazed to find a Watkins saleswoman calling there. Not sure if the company is still doing that these days.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watkins_Incorporated

  12. Fuller Brush – I never saw the salesman but my grandmother probably did since she had some of their brushes. For a brief time I sold Haband shoes door to door. I looked and see that they’re still in business, just not the same business model. While there haven’t been any solar panel salesmen here, there certainly have been a bunch of folks pushing utilities that are selling solar energy.

  13. “maybe he should have stuck with good ol’ fashion proselytizers — religious or political — they never go out of style!”

    “The only people who come to my door are Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

    If it had been any of those rather than a solar panel salesman, this would have been an LOL for me.

  14. Comcast, home security, politicians, and kids selling magazines are all I can remember at my current address.

  15. “Go with the old tropes of Fuller Brush or Encyclopedia, and have the younger generation… be bewildered”

    I really think you are not giving the younger generation enough credit and giving too much import to us needing rationale in comic strips. Every-one, even children, have heard of door to door salesmen and so if we see an outdated trope from our grandparents day in a comic strip I really don’t think bewilderment is going to be the reaction. “He’s selling brushes? I don’t understand! You buy brushes online! I … I… I’m bewildered”.

    I guess if I think of door to door salesmen Vacuum Cleaners is the one I get an impression of even though I’ve never actually seen one. I think some people think door to door solar panel salesmen are ubiquitous although to me they are not.

  16. Here is Mel Blanc as a door-to-door salesman. I don’t know that it’s “Mel Blanc’s Funniest TV Appearance”, but then my only attempt at being a door-to-door salesman was not that funny.

  17. I actually spent a little time one summer peddling Filter Queen vacs (I was a terrible salesman, which was useful information for me). It wasn’t door-to-door though, the local office set up appointments in exchange for free soup (really).

  18. Door bell rang the other day. We were working in our office upstairs. I looked at Robert, he looked at me. He had not ordered anything so not a delivery person ringing the bell (not that they do so anyway – we are lucky if items are not left at the foot of our short driveway). I walked downstairs – no one there. This is the first time since at least we started staying home mid March 2020 anyone has rung the bell – probably much longer than that. Last time someone rang our bell – 5-10 years ago – they left a note to call them if we wanted to sell our van, we did not. ( It is now 25+ years old and when it goes we have a severe problem as none of the new vans works for us as a replacement.)

    At least we know the bell still works.

  19. Meryl A: Maybe you had a visit from Scrappy and his brother, from the 1935 cartoon “Let’s Ring Doorbells”.

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