Last Call: Tell us all your Cutco knives stories

A Cutco salesman at work during the 34th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2019
A Cutco salesman at work during the 34th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2019
Photo: Denise Truscello (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

Over the weekend, the New Yorker food writer Helen Rosner Tweeted that she had been contacted by an acquaintance who wondered if she had 40 minutes or so for a Zoom presentation about Cutco knives.

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“This is an aspect of pandemic distancing I absolutely had not previously considered,” she wrote.

Almost immediately, she unleashed a Pandora’s box of memories from Twitter users who had spent their college summers, or who had loved ones who had spent their college summers, going door-to-door selling Cutco knife sets (“guaranteed for life”), demonstrating how the poultry shears could cut a penny in half.

I did not sell Cutco knives myself—I had already discovered the perils of door-to-door sales during my Girl Scout cookie days—but my cousin did, and so did several of my college friends. None of them achieved the riches and glory the Cutco company had promised (though my grandma very kindly bought a set and displayed the block on her kitchen counter, barely used, for years afterward), and they all either found other summer jobs within a couple of weeks or spent the next few months languishing and broke until it was time to go back to school.

But they all came back with stories! Surely there must be a Great American Novel waiting to be written about a sensitive young knife salesman who learned all about Life one summer. Or maybe about a sensitive young knife salesman who blindly sends out emails to everyone he knows, trying desperately to schedule just one Zoom sales session, and in the process learns about Life.

Either way... do you have Cutco knife memories? Share them here!

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Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.

DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

Cutco Story #1: Over summer break from college I once got an “interview” for a sales position with Cutco. I showed up and learned it was a group interview, and it was basically them trying to brainwash the room talking about what a fun culture they had and how much $$$ you could make selling knives door-to-door etc. Then after the group presentation, they were going to take each of us back for the “individual” portion of the interview. I somehow lucked into being first for the individual portion - why I even sat through that much I chalk up to being young and not knowing I had the power to say “fuck all this” and walk out immediately. Anyway, I sit down with the guy, who looks over my resume and then locks onto me for some uncomfortably intense eye-contact and tells me he can tell I have the leadership qualities they’re looking for. I told him “this... is not for me” and walked out without waiting to hear his response.

Cutco Story #2: A family acquaintance lost his job and after a few months of being unable to land a new gig found himself selling Cutco knives. In addition to my family, one of the folks he targeted was my piano teacher, who had a famously ill-tempered cat. This gentlemen happened to be pretty girthy, which I’m sensitive to these days as that’s a kind description for my own body currently. Anyway, he was sitting in a dinning room chair giving his presentation and I guess a significant portion of his rump was protruding/bubbling out from the back of the chair between the stiles and underneath the mid-rail (yes, I looked up “parts of a dining room chair” to write this comment). The cat, sensing good-sized prey, attacked this man’s ass and latched its claws through his jeans and deep into his buttcheeks. He yelped and tried to flee but he was stuck in the chair, while simultaneously the cat’s claws got stuck in his flesh and the beast began flailing around wildly. I understand it was a deeply embarrassing experience for him, though on the plus side my piano teacher pitied him enough to drop a good $50-100 on knives she didn’t need.