Cabbage and its cross section

Image via Wikipedia

“I remember a time when a cabbage could sell itself by being a cabbage. Nowadays it’s no good being a cabbage – unless you have an agent and pay him a commission. Nothing is free anymore to sell itself or give itself away. These days, Countess, every cabbage has its pimp.”

-The Ragman in Jean Giraudoux‘s The Madwoman of Chaillot (1945)

When I was in high school, I was in The Madwoman of Chaillot…. twice. (Once as the Countess in competition and once when it was our fall play a year later where I played Constance, who has an invisible dog named Dickie. So I’ll give you a moment to picture me prancing around like an old lady drinking tea and talking to an invisible dog.)

When we were all high school kids in this play, we quoted the line above constantly. Every cafeteria tray, locker and homework assignment had it’s pimp depending on the situation. As I left high school and got into business, I found myself wanting to quote this line often (especially on this blog) because I think it is still relevant in a variety of situations in modern business, especially for anyone with anything creative to sell.

However, unlike some quotes which have become used so much they are now cliché, very few people are familiar with this quote so I didn’t feel like I can use it without people going… Huh?

So, consider yourself informed. From now on, we’ve all heard of this quote and we can all use it freely in conversation and in blogs without having to worry about others not having heard of it. 🙂

Now, I have to ask you, taken out of context like that above: What does this quote mean to you?