Philip K. Dick/ We can build you
Our sales technique was perfected in the early 1970’s. First we put an ad in a local newspaper, in the classifieds.
“Spinet piano also electronic organ, repossessed, in perfect condition, SACRIFICE. Cash or good credit risk wanted in this area, to take over payments rather than transport back to Oregon. Contact Frauenzimmer Piano Company, Mr Rock, Credit Manager, Ontario, Ore.”
For years we’ve run this ad in newspapers in one town after another, all up and down the western states and as far inland as Colorado. The whole approach developed on a scientific, systematic basis; we use maps, and sweep along so that no town goes untouched. We own four turbine-powered trucks, out on the road constantly, one man to a truck.
Anyhow, we place the ad, say in the San Raphael Independent-Journal, and soon letters start arriving at our office in Ontario , Oregon, where my partner Maury Rock takes care of all that. He sorts the letters and compiles lists, and then when he had enough contacts in a particular area, say around San Rafael, he night-wires the truck. Suppose it’s Fred down there in Marin County. When Fred gets the wire he brings out his own map and lists the calls in proper sequence. And then he finds a pay phone and telephones the first prospect.
Meanwhile, Maury had airmailed an answer to each person who’s written in response to the ad.
(on back cover:)
We started out making electronic organs and spinets – the Frauenzimmer Piano Company, that was us. Then the bottom dropped out of the market, so we turned over to simulacra – exact reconstructions of famous personalities. We made an Abraham Lincoln, for instance – stupid, he had ALL Lincoln’s characteristics, and he wasn’t about to be anybody’s puppet.
That was when things really started going wrong…
(Fontana 1977, first published by Daw Books, 1972)
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928. He attended the University of California, ran a classical department in a record store and had his own classical music programme on radio.