John Williamson, a man in his early forties, the office manager for a disreputable real estate company. He receives the blame for all the other characters’ problems and failures because he rates their sales and awards and then leads potential buyers to the more successful, thus creating a situation of better salespeople always getting the better leads. He appears incompetent and more concerned with office procedure than with sales. Roma claims that Williamson got the position because he is the boss’s nephew. Although he demonstrates an inability to string a customer along, Williamson is not above accepting bribes from his employees or acting ruthlessly. At the end, he catches Levene in his own boast and solves the robbery.
Shelley Levene, a desperate, failing salesman in his fifties. Levene becomes pathetic and foolish in his attempts to regain his salesmanship. Constantly referring to his past successes, he blames his present state on bad luck and Williamson’s bad leads. His one moment of triumph becomes a cruel joke when Williamson delights in telling him that his large sale was to a notoriously insane couple whose checks are no good and about whom Williamson warned everyone through memos. Worse, Levene also falls victim to Dave Moss’s scheme and robs the office. At the end, Levene is the play’s only pathetic figure whose luck has failed him.
Richard Roma, a caricature of the sleazy, smooth salesman; he is in his early forties and is slick and self-absorbed. Completely amoral, he demonstrates the technique by which he has become top salesman of worthless Florida property when he cons James Lingk with a deceptively sincere-sounding contemplation on everyone’s need to seize the moment. Roma is the salesman that Levene must have been in his prime. Later, in the middle of the robbery investigation, Roma teams with Levene to dissuade Lingk from backing out of the sale. Ironically, at the end, Roma, impressed by Levene’s recent sales but ignorant of Levene’s confession, displays his own greed and gullibility when he tells Williamson that he wants a share of whatever Levene has coming to him, or he will tell the boss of Williamson’s incompetence.
Dave Moss, a bigoted salesman in his fifties, always looking for an angle to get leads. He sees no problem in resorting to robbery yet is sharp enough to seek out weaker colleagues to perform the actual crime. Persuasive and threatening, he tests his plot on George Aaronow but succeeds with the more desperate Levene.
George Aaronow, a gullible salesman in his fifties who acts as Moss’s foil in the robbery plot. He questions the ethics of the act but also is interested in its success. Surprisingly, he does not succumb to Moss’s threat and perform the crime. It is not clear if Aaronow saves himself because of any stronger sense of morality or simply by luck.
James Lingk, a man in his early forties who is a caricature of a naïve customer. He is suckered by Roma and saved by his wife. He provides the comic counterpoint to the play’s ending by apologizing to Roma for being forced by his wife to cancel the deal.
Baylen, a rough policeman in his early forties who ineptly investigates the office robbery. He provides opportunity for a variety of jokes on police incompetence by the other characters.
George Aaranow is a fairly stupid salesman in his fifties who seems to be sucked into Moss's scheme to steal the leads and sell them to a competitor. In Act II, Aaranow displays the only loyalty shown in the play: he keeps his mouth shut about Moss.
Baylen is a police detective in his early forties. He is in the ransacked office in Act II to investigate the burglary and, although...
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