Der Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons) is about the deterioration of a man's soul. Fruit vendor Hans (Hans Hirschmüller) cannot please his family. His mother harps on his failures. His wife is openly discontent.
He must peddle produce to his beloved ex-girlfriend, and he is mocked by his customers for being shorter and fatter than his wife. He is withdrawn, crushed, and humiliated. He turns to drinking and violence, but his rage causes his wife and daughter to leave him. While desperately begging for their return, Hans suffers a debilitating heart attack.
His family comes back, but Hans is unable to work and must hire help for his fruit stand. Hans' first employee is his wife's ex-lover, whom he fires for embezzling. He then hires a friend and hero from his legionnaire days, Harry (Klaus Löwitsch), out of pity. Harry is hardworking, diligent, and clever.
He turns Hans' business around and enlivens his home life. Harry's success also begins to displace Hans -- with his fruit stand, with his wife, and even with his child. Hans becomes useless, a nothing -- exactly what his mother, his wife, and those around him set him up to be.