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By FRANCIS FRAWLEY,
December is the month during which we eleven, and even up to twenty pieces in a case. turn up a volume of business surpassing that The big feature of this line to the buying pubtransacted in any other three months of the lic is that the customer is able to match at any year. The desire to buy is abroad in the com- time the pattern he is collecting. This serves munity, and by the display of the right kind of as an incentive for further purchases at other Christmas merchandise we attract many new times of the year, such as birthdays, anniverfaces to the store; and a number of these per- saries, etc. sons always become permanent customers.
A pattern is "big" with us for three years, We begin planning in May and June for the but after that we stock just enough to carry coming holiday season, and it is in these us along, depending on quick mail facilities months that we place the bulk of our orders for from the factory to fill unexpected or large September and October delivery. Files are kept orders. of all merchandise ordered so that we may The first year of a pattern we play it up know what we have coming and thus be kept strongly and usually get enough people collectfrom doubling up on any numbers. We start ing it to pay us for stocking it thereafter. to rearrange our stock the last of September, We price silverware as we do all fancy and by the first of November everything is in goods, at a much lower mark-up than is usually readiness for the big holiday drive.
observed. The line we carry is featured in a It is with this rush in mind that we make of number of the mail-order jewelry catalogues, the summer months a merchandise tryout pe- and to settle any question of price that the cusriod during which we are able to judge by their tomer may bring up we always keep at hand selling qualities what numbers are likely to go price lists from the catalogue houses. the best in December, and so judge our order With this line we also stock silver frames, additions. Throughout the year we carry lines which are invariably big sellers; enameled of all things featured at Christmas, but we do novelties; tableware in novel styles; and other not go into them so extensively, nor are we little knickknacks that look good. able to show them so effectively, because of the fact that our display space is given over to seasonable articles.
Leather goods is a hard line of merchandise
to handle because of the continually changing Our Christmas merchandise is grouped under the following heads: Silver; Leather;
styles, numerous types of finish, and over
abundance of novelties. Ivory; Perfumes; Candy; and General Merchandise. Under these captions I will attempt
We particularly feature such novelties as to explain how each department has been made
motor-trip books, desk sets, and jewel cases,
anything, in fact, that happens to be new or successful.
distinctive. Traveling cases are really the only
staple we stock, and observation shows that the Sterling silver has been the nucleus around better class of cases for women are selling as which we have built our fancy goods business, well as men's cases. and though in some years it is superseded in Before the war we had standing import popularity by other lines, it is always worthy orders with German and Austrian houses for of two display cases and one or more window those novelties that gained them such a footdisplays.
hold in America; but now we are having no We carry a complete line of toilet silverware, trouble filling the gap with goods of American ten patterns in all, with about twenty items in manufacture. each pattern. All pieces are bought separately, A sales plan we play up successfully with after which we make up sets of three, five, some of the higher-priced goods in our line is
OUR SILVER LINE.
perhaps worthy of notice. During the fall customer. We also make up little combinamonths we look through such magazines as tions for window display at $1.00, $1.50, and Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar, $2.00. These will often sell in place of a often seeing pictured in them articles that we single piece. have in stock and which are emphasized as the In this department the main talking point is "correct thing" in New York. By bringing a the low price we offer in comparison to the marked copy of one of these magazines to the high type of merchandise. This line, properly attention of a prospect, it many times has the worked, has been the greatest advertisement psychological effect of raising such merchan- our Fancy Goods Department has ever redise to a higher plane in his—or usually her
ceived—because it is the most satisfactory and mind, and tends to make the customer see that universally liked class of toilet accessories on this is that ultra-distinctive thing he or she is
the market to-day. looking for.
PERFUMES, IMPORTED AND DOMESTIC. Of the higher grades of cases, desk sets, etc., we carry only one of a kind in stock. This Perfumes, I imagine, still constitute the main fact appeals to those who are seeking the ex
Christmas department of many drug stores. clusive.
And even though the "good old days," when Besides these higher-priced numbers, we sell
anything put up in 'a fancy package would sell, quantities of popular-priced articles, such as
are now on the wane, perfumes are still big
factors in the business. shine kits, folding shoe horns, coat hangers, drinking cups, etc.
Before explaining some of the Christmas Our leather department has six cases with
features of this department I will say that we
stock about 100 bulk perfumes; about 50 lift-up tops, and the customers are allowed to
sachets in 2-ounce and 1-ounce packages, and browse among the stock without hindrance.
in bulk ; about 125 different toilet waters; and Very often they find what they want them
about 150 talcum powders. Our Christmas selves, and have the pleasure of viewing the
stock is built around this representative shownew things without any interference from the
ing lespeople. In this way, also, they frequently
We have always specialized in imported become interested in an article and come back
goods, which we order in the spring in large later on to make a purchase.
enough quantities to enjoy the discounts. In addition, we feature the most successful odors
of American manufacture—those which offer Ivory (or, as it is sometimes called, Parisian
us satisfactory profits and price protection. or Persian ivory) is just now the biggest sell
We do very little with special holiday packing line we have, and we have been very suc- ages, judging by observation that people now cessful with it. It is an attractive line to han
buy perfumes more by reputation and quality dle, as it is very diversified in quality and num- and less by the appeal of a Christmas box. At ber of items, and also because the various items
this time of year we sell great quantities of are particularly adaptable for display purposes. bulk sachet powder and lavender flowers for
We use two 14-foot show-cases and one 16- fancy work. The higher grades of talcum are foot wall-case for display, and have none too also good and we feature a large assortment, much room. Our stock is large, but by having ranging in price from fifty cents to one dollar. so many styles and prices we are able to satisfy Toilet waters and perfume atomizers are likealmost any pocketbook.
wise in demand and very often they can be sold Mirrors, brushes, and combs are, of course, with perfume sales, thus swelling the total. the backbone of the line. We carry about We have worked up a tremendous business fifty styles in mirrors and brushes, and as an in smelling salts, or bedroom bottles, offering appropriate number in other pieces as the packages of our own manufacture, retailing divergence of the selling price allows. We from 25 cents up to $5.00, in innumerable have sets of three, five and eleven pieces made shapes and sizes and in seven colors. They up, and sometimes when they are too high- have been a potent factor in bringing us big priced, the clerk by a little tact can make up a business. We purchase ammonium carbonate set on a low-priced tray that appeals to the by the barrel, use the best perfume oils obtain
IVORY STAPLES AND NOVELTIES.
CANDY AND GENERAL MERCHANDISE.
able, and employ only fast colors; so it is not We usually play drugs, or rubber goods and surprising that we ship the bottles all over the medicines, for the first two weeks in Novemcountry during the holiday season.
ber, so that our identity as druggists will not Our perfume department is successful as a be lost. The third week it is advance ChristChristmas gift field because of the reliability mas showings, with cards calling attention to of its products, and because of the fact that the newer things; references to our lower perfume appeals to the harassed shopper as be- prices when compared with mail-order cataing always in good form.
logue quotations; short slogans on the wide assortment and diversity of our stock, the
dependability of our merchandise and the We do not specialize very heavily on Christ- assurance that any piece can be duplicated or mas candies, contenting ourselves by playing matched at any time; and finally, we use the up the regular packages more strongly and by plea for early Christmas shopping. offering a more diversified box selection than Thanksgiving week this display gives way at other times. We stock no fancy packages to a candy window, trimmed with reference to on which the purchaser pays a whole lot for the day. This comes out Thanksgiving night, the package and very little for the candy, but and then the big drive begins in earnest, as the prefer to stand behind our selection of about real holiday shopping season is supposed to 50 different packages as the best products of start the following Saturday. We find, howthree different lines.
ever, that buying can be stimulated two weeks This makes our line of candy, in a way, a earlier, so we have the store ready for it by staple stock proposition, and only our special
the middle of November. services are worthy of note. We offer by We use price tickets extensively in the winmeans of display cards, etc., to do up all pack- dow and find them to give splendid returns. ages for mailing with Christmas cards en- For display cards we use air-brushed ones in closed; and we also offer to deliver boxes of accordance with the season, displaying them at candy to any part of the city on Christmas the fountain and in all parts of the store. morning. These little service helps meet with
The Christmas window is changed in part a ready response from the tired shopper. every night during the final three weeks and
When we find we can't satisfy a customer slow-moving goods forced, or something that in any of the departments mentioned, as drug- is selling beyond expectations taken out. Hungists we revert to our regular stock, which is dreds of sales are made directly from the winthe source of many acceptable suggestions. It dow as a result of the price tickets. We have is really surprising to note how many hot
found it a good plan to have a clerk near the water bottles we dispose of to be used as gifts door ready to answer questions regarding for the sick friend or for Grandma ; we sell prices and assortments, for many people—espemore of the higher-priced nickeled ones during cially young men—are rather timid when it Christmas week than we do in all the rest of comes to choosing Christmas purchases. the year combined.
The good-will of a drug store in a small Vacuum bottles and cases, fancy shaving city thrives only in proportion to the number sets, safety razors, structural toys for children, of satisfied customers it has, and for that alcohol stoves-in short, articles from every reason everything we offer at Christmas is sold department of the modern drug store can help with the understanding that it may be exto make "The Day" happy for some one. changed or returned.
We are called upon to
make an adjustment after Christmas on but a WINDOW AND CARD WORK.
very small portion of a per cent of our sales. We run the Christmas window on a sort of
We try to make our Christmas merchandise as schedule; that is, we plan in advance what the dependable and as high grade as possible, and show cards and displays will be for the two the fact that people recognize it to be a part of months preceding the holidays.
As we are
our regular stock breeds confidence in the store. decidedly cramped by having only one large Christmas lines have been revolutionized in window, it requires some figuring to say all we the last few years, and in place of the foolish want to say on the display cards and to give and trashy goods of days gone by it is now the our varied stock a good showing
more sensible and practical gifts that appeal.
HOW A DRUG CLERK
By H. D. MOSS,
No doubt every drug student has dreams, a large portion plowed and rented it to crop, when he first enters college, of the day when wheat being the proper thing in that part of he will be the proud possessor of a pharmacy of the country then as well as now. his own. But where is the student who ever
LETTING GEORGE DO IT. dreamt of owning a Montana wheat farm? I, at least, didn't have the latter conception it, paying us a portion of what he raised for
For two years we let the other fellow work of what might some day come to pass. I have
the use of the land. This gave us time to learn one, though, and it is under cultivation.
how to farm, and to learn whether it would One day (I was in a store then, clerking) a friend asked me if I didn't want to make a trip really be profitable or not.
To our entire satisfaction, the venture with him to look over some land. I had the proved a winner both years; so at the beginning right kind of boss, and he let me go. To Central Montana; that was the place. ing it ourselves.
of the present season we decided to try farmI went only as a companion and as a sightseer,
On the second day of June, 1916, therefore, I took the first train from Norfolk, Nebraska, to Billings, Montana, with the idea of investing in a tractor of some kind and tackling the farming proposition in dead earnest. I intended to invest in one of the small machines, like they are successfully using down East, and was firmly convinced that we were going to show those Western fellows something about economy in tilling the soil.
I got somewhat of a setback, however, when I met the manager of one of the big tractor companies at Billings and he told me we didn't want the little fellow at all, and couldn't get it, even if we did. He pointed out that the moun
tain soil was too hard for the small machines I thought. But I soon opened my eyes wide of the East, and that the expense of operation and began to do a little thinking.
would be too great, since it would take just as The result was that when we returned home
many men to run a little machine as a big one. we had signed up for a piece of land that would He took me out into the country to see one take all the earnings I could possibly save from of those giant tractors at work, and there we my drug-store job in the next five years to keep found two men plowing twenty-five acres a the payments going; and many a show and
day, for which they received $4.50 an acre. other entertainment have I missed because of
It all looked pretty good to me, so, after conthat piece of real estate. Some meals have been sulting with an old friend who told me I even rather abbreviated, too—perhaps to the couldn't lose if I chose a good machine, I told good of my stomach.
the foreman to oil up a.tractor so we could get In order that we be not classed as land onto the road with it. sharks, just buying because we believed the After having slept on the proposition that land was going to increase in value and selling night, however, I felt so shaky about the job as soon as it did, we set about making it more that next morning I went to the manager and valuable by making two green things grow asked him how much I owed him to call it all where there had been one, or less. We hired off and settle up right where we were.
An abundance of sky.
I DECIDED TO GO ON.
The modern way.
RATTLERS AND NIGHT SOUNDS.
long, hard pull, climbing a very steep incline If ever a big Irishman got busy, that man
of something over a half-mile, when we saw ager certainly did at that time. He told me
coming toward us a large touring car, such as that I just had a bad case of cold feet, and that
you seldom see, except in the cities and moun
tainous countries. it would soon pass over if I only kept a stiff upper lip. In fact, he came so near calling
The machine was coming at a high rate of me a coward that I decided to stay in the fight.
speed, which was quite natural, as they “go some" out there; but we had no idea that it would try to pass us at such a gait.
Whether their brakes wouldn't hold or whether their behavior was due to reckless driving I do not know; they came on at full speed, missing the engine by a hair, and coming to a stop only by running onto a ridge which raised the machine clear off its wheels.
The five occupants were still in the car, save one man, who jumped a few rods back, rolling down the mountainside in the dust, preferring a chance like that to being bumped into a mass of steel the size of our tractor at forty miles an hour. The lack of color in the other faces
showed the wisdom of getting out early, as he We spent the morning getting tent and grub had done. I wouldn't have given much for stake for three persons, and on June 6 we their chance of life for just a few moments. pulled out for Billings with the outfit, weighing in the aggregate 27,000 pounds, booked for a trip over the mountains of nearly one hundred This incident added excitement to the trip, miles.
which otherwise we found to be rather gruelBeing an internal combustion engine, our ing, especially to one unused to physical labor. machine needed lots of babying for the first few days, until all bearings were sure of getting proper lubrication. At the end of the first run of six and one-half hours we found ourselves twenty-three miles from town and everything in good shape; and at the end of three and one-half days were on the farm, ready for business.
It was all uneventful to the man at the wheel, but for the fellow used to waiting on the people in the store the trip was full of novelty. To go puffing along over the rocky mountainous roads and see the cattle, sheep, and horses, to say nothing of the numerous
Engine, disc plow. and oil wagon. wild animals, take note of this strange thing passing before them was interesting indeed.
When it came night the writer was perfectly willing to let the tractor driver get supper; and
just as soon as it was over he spread the tent The numerous culverts and little bridges down and rolled up in it to keep the cool mountaxed our nerves, but we passed over them tain air out—also the rattlers. The wellwithout doing any damage, either to them or earned rest was broken only at times by the to the machine.
night-howls of the numerous wild animals. The only real hair-raising incident of the For the benefit of those interested in figures, trip was when we were getting near the top I will say that the trip of one hundred miles of the Bull Mountains. We were making a took three and one-half days, 180 gallons of
A HAIR-RAISING EXPERIENCE.