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Qualities of Importance in a Clerk.
This subject may prove more or less delicate. We have found from experience that clerks often resent it when proprietors contribute articles to drug journals pointing out the directions in which they should develop to attain a greater measure of success. In the present instance, however, the topic under discussion was first proposed by a clerk, and three of the four contributors are either clerks or managers. What is written may therefore be taken as the message of one clerk to another. PRIZE ARTICLE: THE PRIME ESSENTIALS. keep up, and look up. He is on the job from BY FRED BORTH.
morning till night, for there is always someMythology tells us of Cyclops, one of a thing to do around a drug shop. race of giants, who had but one eye, and that But granting that the clerk has the qualifiin the middle of his forehead. He may have
cations of honesty, intelligence, and industry, had the modern drug clerk bested in physical if he is burdened with a disposition—which is proportions, but he would be a sad loser if it only another word for individuality—that is came to eyes, for the good clerk of to-day
sour and grouchy, he would still be lacking in should have at last half a dozen-two in the a very important qualification. usual place, the other four scattered where
THE VALUE OF BEING HUMAN. they would do the most good. And these four,
Don't you know a certain store where there
a named in the order of their importance, and is a clerk who is honest, who is intelligent, who
a marking the qualities of supreme importance is industrious ? But, oh, what a look on his in every clerk, are: Integrity, Intelligence, In
face! Don't you like to be met with a smile? dustry, and Individuality.
Don't you like to be called by name, even A clerk may be ever so intelligent-even to
though you may live twenty miles out in the possessing a college degree or beyond; he may
tall timber? And don't you like to see a clerk be industrious—yea, a "working fool;" he may
who is kind to little folks and considerate with possess individuality—a “hail-fellow-well
old men—one who does not break his neck getmet;” but if he does not heed the old honesty- ting to the pretty miss wanting a postage-stamp best-policy adage then the cash register is
while he lets the old lady wait for her dollar likely to ring fifty cents on many a dollar sale, bottle of nerve tonic? and the boss be the loser by entrusting him
I know places where I go to trade, fully with the business. The conscientious man
realizing that I will have to pay more for some knows the proprietor's interests are his own.
articles, but also knowing that I will be met An honest clerk may be taught the other quali- with a courteous greeting and that my thirty ties, but to start any other way, -!
cents will be appreciated.
After all, it isn't so much a matter of price
as it is of treatment. Yet a man may be honest as the days are
There may be other qualities necessary for long, but without enough common sense to
a good clerk, but give me the honest, intellipound sand in a rat hole. And so the clerk
gent, industrious fellow, with an individuality must have another qualification-intelligence. Intelligence begets confidence, both as to
that speaks of a pleasing, cheerful, sunny disone's self and one's customers. Intelligence
position, and if any of those other qualities
are lacking they will come out in due course of makes good salesmen, and careful, tactful
time. clerks. It can push profitable paying goods
Then if I don't make 'er go I sure won't with prudence. Intelligence can fill prescrip
blame the clerk. tions when the boss is away to lunch and handle customers when he is off on a vacation. CO-OPERATION BETWEEN CLERK AND But a man may be honest, he may know how ,
PROPRIETOR. to do things, and yet not realize that the drug
By F. T. Bosworth. store is no place for the hookworm clerk. So Not to mention the selling of postage-stamps we must place on his shoulders a third quali- and other incidental duties which require no fication-industry. The industrious clerk does great amount of training or ability, the duties not wait to be told to clean up, straighten up, of the average drug clerk are threefold: first,
COMMON SENSE BEGETS CONFIDENCE.
salesmanship; second, professional duties; and a go of the department or to show the reason third, those of an executive and advisory why. nature.
When these conditions exist it is fortunate Among the essential qualifications of a sales- both for employer and employee, for there is man are courtesy, neatness, tact, enthusiasm, nothing that will do more to call forth a young intuition, persuasion—these, together with a man's best efforts than to make him feel that thorough knowledge of the goods in stock. his suggestions are worth something to his emThis last is decidedly essential, for but little ployer. The responsibility starts him on a hunt enthusiasm can be worked up over an article for ideas. He finds himself thinking up unless the clerk is thoroughly acquainted with schemes with an ingenuity he did not know he its merits. Familiarity with the virtues and
possessed. uses of the various items carried is an impor
He pores over the BULLETIN OF PHARMACY tant element in the kind of service the public and other wide-awake journals with a live inis coming more and more to demand.
terest. Here are some ideas on stock arrangeAll clerks do not, it is true, possess an equal
ment or on the selling of cameras; there is a share of some of the qualities mentioned, but
catchy window display. Some of these look fortunately most of them can be developed to
good, and he talks to the boss about them. If some extent, at least. Many valuable sugges
any of the ideas is adopted the clerk feels that tions may be obtained from the study of books
he has contributed to the store's welfare and to and articles on salesmanship. Expert advice
his own future advancement. of this sort is available for every clerk, and he should endeavor to make the most of it. As to the qualifications for a pharmacist,
SEVEN QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY. those that at once suggest themselves are accu
BY STANLEY M. SORLEY. racy, experience, and training. Their achievement is possible only through the exercise of
Keen competition developed by mail-order perseverance and ambition. A natural fitness houses, gigantic department stores, powerful and love for the work are additional qualities chain-store corporations, and the conversion of which, of course, contribute greatly to the
the once professional drug store into a diversivalue of a man in such a position.
fied-merchandise emporium have placed a At first thought it might not seem that a
premium on the development of those personal clerk would have much chance to develop, and
traits which produce the best results and give still less to make use of, executive ability.
to the store well-satisfied and permanent cusCoöperation, however, is the big factor in the
tomers to whom are sold maximum amounts business of to-day; it's the teamwork that gets
of drug-store merchandise. results. Modern merchandising has resolved Every retail clerk, to meet fully the exact itself into a battle of ideas and it is quite fre- requirements of the modern pharmacy and to quently the case that the ideas advanced by the
fulfil the obligations attendant upon such a clerks are the ones which put a store ahead of position, must possess health, knowledge, charits competitor.
acter, industry, ability, tact, and honesty.
Successful salesmanship like every other How COÖPERATION HELPS.
activity in life demands, first of all, physical It is only the occasional merchant nowadays and mental energy. Right thinking, right livwho does not hold regular conferences with ing, and obedience to the laws of nature, tohis clerks, at which times ideas are exchanged gether with cleanliness, fresh air, wholesome for the betterment of the store's service and food, work and rest promote good health. suggestions for increasing business are dis- Good health is the foundation upon which all cussed.
other essential qualities are built; greatly hanIndeed, so far does this spirit of allowing dicapped is the one who does not enjoy it. clerks to share in the running of the store go “Knowledge is power" is a bromidium that that it quite often happens the clerk is as- has been quoted frequently, but its application signed the complete charge of a certain depart- is particularly apt to the case of the retail salesment. Then is up to his initiative to make
The successful clerk must have knowledge, not merely a good education. He must who then does them, who waits upon the cushave a knowledge of himself, of the goods and tomers promptly with skill and dexterity, who service to be sold, of the methods of his house, is obliging and accommodating to the store's of the value of time, of the value of money, of patrons, who is truthful, honest, cheerful and general business conditions, and lastly of peo- courteous to all, who takes pride in his perple. He must know human nature.
sonal appearance, displays the stock to best Character may be considered as the ideals advantage, keeps the store clean and in firstand habits gradually developed from child- class condition, and is obedient to the desires hood which, molded together, have produced of those in authority. a pleasing and attractive personality, a strong In the handling of drugs and compounding sense of justice and equity, and a desire to be prescriptions, carefulness is the watchword. morally and spiritually refined and of good Through an earnest desire to be indispensable, reputation. It is an imperative attribute for with an effort to develop his latent ability by every clerk because public opinion now places observation and study, if aided by the confimuch stress upon the character of the em- dential and appreciative attitude of the manployees of retail stores.
agement, a clerk will be able to develop into a
salesman of the first water: a real factor in EVERLASTINGLY KEEPING AT IT.
the progressive development of the store's serIndustry must occupy a prominent place in vice in that community. the schedule of qualities. Activity, ambition, earnestness, efficiency, enthusiasm, punctuality, energy, helpfulness and obedience are traits all
CLERKS VS. AUTOMOBILES. of which either depend upon or are closely
BY EUGENE RIMMER. allied with it. The time will never come when
Eugenists to the contrary, the perfect man no work will need to be done, so there is no
does not exist. Therefore, it is safe to assert excuse for idleness or procrastination. The clerk's shoulder must ever be applied to rotat
that a clerk, being a man, cannot attain pering the wheel of progress.
fection by any means. But there are many deAbility to accomplish results is directly de
sirable qualities that different men have, and
those that to me show up best in a clerk are pendent on the qualities already mentioned. In addition to the ability to do the routine work,
tact, affability, enthusiasm, honesty, and the clerk must be able to listen as well as talk,
aggressiveness. to suggest and reason when necessary; and
I put tact first, because it seems to me the
most important. First impressions go a long must possess a fund of general information, and take a genuine interest in the customer and
way. Many clerks do not seem to know how the store.
to approach a customer. They either intimiTact is the faculty to do or say the right date him into repressing his desires or else they thing in the right place; it is an all-embracing put him so much on the defensive that they term which includes the affability, cheerful
cannot regain his confidence. A tactful clerk,
though, by a proper approach wins confidence ness, courtesy, self-control, and sense of
for himself and for the merchandise at his dishumor needed by the clerk in dealing with the
posal. patrons of the store.
If a misunderstanding arises the clerk with
tact can almost invariably not only appease an The final, almost the supreme, quality is hon- irate customer, but can even send him away esty–honesty toward self, employers, and cus- pleased. The tactless clerk, on the contrary, tomers. It necessitates avoiding duplicity in only increases the breach between the customer thought, action, and in speech, and a strict and the store and sends the customer away to application of the Golden Rule; to-day hon- tell his or her grievances to whoever will lend esty is the only policy.
The particular manager in the drug store of Affability is also a to-be-attained quality. the present carefully studies the qualities No one loves a grouch. The affable clerk need exhibited by the clerks under him. He appre- not be a hail-fellow-well-met; just a little huciates the clerk who can see things to do and man interest is all that is required. To be able
THE ONLY POLICY.
to show customers that the store and its clerks ployer who does not trust his clerk cannot are concerned in their interest pans out well in expect customers to place confidence in the dollars and cents.
clerk either. Enthusiasm is the fuel that runs a business. The final qualification is that of aggressiveIt is the white heat of belief. If a clerk does
ness, or, to lapse into the vernacular, “pep." not believe in his boss or in the merchandise It's the man who has the ways of a fighter, that he is handling, he cannot instil belief in
who, when a customer has blocked his sale the mind of his customer.
with one line of argument, sticks to his guns ENTHUSIASM DRAWS DOLLARS.
and calls on tact for reënforcement. A hard When a clerk really acquires enthusiasm combination to beat—tact and aggressiveness. then he does not believe in the business but To indulge in simile, let us compare these rather that he is the business. He can state
five desirable qualities to an automobile. Tact and with conviction not “They say this is” but will be our steering gear, enthusiasm the gaso“I know this is.” He stakes his personal rep- line, affability the cylinder oil, aggressiveness utation because he wants to justify his belief. the magneto, and then with honesty for the
Honesty needs no commendation. That driver our car will have a good show in the quality is supposed to be present, for an em- race of Business toward the prize of Success.
GETTING AT FACTS IN
By SELDEN O. MARTIN, Director of the Harvard Bureau of Business Research
The Harvard Bureau of Business Research about 7 to 9, and with a possibiilty of reaching has a distinctly confidential position. It col
12 to 14 turns per year. lects and receives from the books of businesses figures of sales, profit, and expense. No name
THE ANNUAL SALES. appears on this material, not even the name of It states, also, that the average annual sale the city in which the business is located. No per salesperson (one of the first tests of effiinformation is furnished either in the School ciency of a retail business) ranges from $5000 (Harvard College), or in its publications as to to $16,500 in shoes, and from $5000 to what it costs John Doe to sell shoes, or Rich- $20,000 in groceries, and centers about $10,
$,ard Roe to sell groceries.
000 in both. But the Bureau does state that based on sev- In concrete form this means that in retail eral hundred sets of figures of stores located in shoe stores and grocery stores positively, and at least twenty-eight States, the expense of probably in other retail stores, the amount of operating a retail shoe store ranges from 18 annual sales should at least equal the number to 35 per cent of the net sales; that the expense of salespersons multiplied by $10,000, with
$ of operating a retail grocery store varies from
drugs perhaps running a little less. We regard 10.4 to 25.2 per cent of net sales; and that in
this as one of the most important contributions the retail shoe business the number of stock- that the Bureau of Business Research has turns per year ranges from 1 to 3.6, 1.8 being made to the business of retailing.
1 normal, with a standard entirely possible of
The question might now be asked, What is. being realized of 2.5 stock-turns per year
the good of all this? This is all very interestwhile in the retail grocery business the figures ing from a scientific point of view, it might be corresponding are from 3.5 to 26.4, centering said, but what is the practical advantage of it
to any individual retailer?
The answer is that a standard is given to a.
*Extracts from an address delivered at College of Pharmacy in Boston.
retailer to gauge his business by. His account- in connection with the figures collected by ing system may have been excellent, so that he
graduate students in this vicinity, and both always knew where he stood, but he now has sets are practically harmonious. a basis of more exact knowledge of where he This agreement has corroborative value, but ought to stand.
it should be clear that neither Mr. Mason's fig
ures, collected by mail, nor those collected by THE DRUG BUSINESS.
students (both from concerns with accounting As you are doubtless aware, along with the
systems that are different and often defective movements for better methods in other busi
or lacking) can be classed with the figures of ness has come such a movement in the drug
the Harvard Bureau of Business Research business. Especially notable has been the work
actually taken off the books of shoe retailers of Mr. Harry B. Mason, Editor of the BULLETIN OF PHARMACY, who has done pioneer and retail grocers by agents of the Bureau.
Gross profit on total business ranges from work in obtaining actual records of operation
25 per cent to 50 per cent, with a normal gross for retail druggists, and drawing conclusions
profit of about 35 per cent of the net sales. On therefrom. His recent book, “The Druggist
some lines or departments the range is differand His Profits,” will improve the business of
ent, tobacco, for example, running low, and any retail druggist who studies it carefully. In the line of this movement, in the spring
drugs high. It might well be stated here that
in accord with the best business practice all of 1914, in the Harvard Business School a
percentages are based on the selling price, and very cursory inspection was made of the retail
not on the cost. Net sales is the 100 per cent drug business along the lines of the Bureau's
on which cost, profit, and expense is calculated. shoe study, and in the fall and winter of 191415 this work was somewhat more extended.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. Two students in one of the courses aided in Total expense, or "cost of doing business, obtaining information in Boston and vicinity, ranges from 20 per cent to 35 per cent, with a and, with the help of a member of the Bureau, normal expense of about 25 per cent. One a typed schedule for retail druggists was de- store claimed an expense of 14.6 per cent, but vised. However, these figures are of an en- we were not permitted to verify the accuracy tirely local and peculiarly tentative character, of that percentage. not to be compared in authoritativeness with Mr. Mason has a total expense as low as 15 the results of the Bureau's nation-wide studies per cent. It is probable that for total expense of shoes and groceries.
percentages under 20 in the retail drug busiWe communicated by mail and personal in- ness, an especially careful inspection is warterview with about 89 drug stores in Boston
ranted to make certain that an adequate charge and outlying cities. Usable information was is made for the proprietor's time and for rent, obtained from thirty stores whose annual sales
if the store is owned. range from $10,000 to $120,000, the typical Salesforce expense is probably even less sales being between $15,000 and $20,000. accurate than the figures already given, beFrom such a narrow basis of data, and not cause of the variety of charges made to it. fully comparable data, it would be a mistake The range I have here is from 6 to 17 per to try to set any standards, and none will be cent, with a normal percentage of from 8 to attempted. Furthermore, the range and nor
10. Probably 8 to 9 as a normal percentage mal figures are only approximate, though prob
would be found not far wrong. ably they are not far from the facts.
Rent varied from a low of 2.1 to a high of THE BULLETIN'S WORK COMMENDED.
7.5 per cent, centering about 5 per cent, as in
shoes. Mr. Mason of the BULLETIN OF PHARMACY
The number of stock-turns a year ranged, has published some figures collected by mail
in the figures collected, from 1.5 to 4.8, centerfrom as many as 216 drug stores, and others ing at about 3. The variation is great of from as many as 50, in various parts of the course for the different lines or departments, United States.* His figures have been studied
running as high as 50 on soda fountain sup
plies, and as low as 1 on drugs, with confec*BULLETIN OF PHARMACY, March, 1914, p. 117; and Harry B. Mason, “The Druggist and His Profits," pp. 82, 12:5-1 7.
tionery running high and toilet articles low.