Traditionally, salespeople were viewed as mediators between producers and consumers. At the same time, their role changed in the course of the development of the trade and the contemporary view on salespeople varies consistently from the view on salespeople in the past. Nevertheless, there are still some similarities in views of contemporary people and their ancestors on salespeople which have hardly changed in the course of time. In such a situation, it is possible to estimate that salespeople are traditionally viewed as people that fulfill an important function of the link between a producer and customer, though nowadays the role of salespeople became less significant as their relationship with customers became more estranged as they are not as involved in the sale process as they used to be in the past.
What is meant here is the fact that, in the past, salespeople were often highly respected and honored people because the goods they sold were essential for people. At the same time, this is why customers basically knew salespeople well enough and often were quite friendly with each other and it was real, interpersonal relations based on the mutual trust and acquaintance of a salesperson and a customer. Such relationships were enforced by the fact that, as a rule, small shops prevailed and this is why salespeople were highly respected because there was no other source of essential goods for community but these small shops. Consequently, people often attempted to establish good relationships with salespeople to get some discount or credit to buy products they needed and basically, the relations were based on the trust.
On the other hand, there was certain envy to salespeople because of their position in the community and their exceptional role in the life of the community. This is why often people had quite contradictive attitude to salespeople when the desire to get the best goods through the establishment of good interpersonal relationships with salespeople was mixed up with the envy and apprehension of being cheated because the main goal of salespeople was believed to be gaining maximum profit.
Basically, such an attitude to salespeople has hardly changed in the course of time. In other words, customers still do not fully trust to salespeople and view them as people that simply want to earn more money by all means, selling any product at the maximum price. At the same time, the role of salespeople in the life of community has changed consistently and nowadays, they are viewed as people that do a routine and not very prestigious work. In stark contrast, salespeople, especially working in large retail chains are viewed as not very successful people who cannot take a high place in the social hierarchy. To put it more precisely, the job of salespeople is rather viewed as temporary or as a first step of an individual in his/her professional career, which is not very significant one.
Moreover, the attitude between customers and salespeople became less friendly or personal, since they do not actually know each other. Consequently, their relations are more formal.
Thus, in the course of time the attitude of people to salespeople changed from a respectful, personal attitude to more formal. Nevertheless, people still preserved certain apprehensions concerning the nature of the job of salespeople since many believe that the major goal of salespeople is to sell all products at maximum price.