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yielded them a small margin. If their percent- of profit. It doesn't make any difference if it age of expense was 30, and the article only turns over a thousand times a year-it must paid them a gross profit of 10 per cent, say, every time have charged against it the proper they argued that they lost 20 per cent on every ratio of expense, and must be made to earn sale.
the proper ratio of profit. “This is true,” explained Mr. Walton, "pro- The one penalty attaching to slow stock vided the article 'turns over' only once a year. turnovers is merely this: You lose interest on But if, satisfying yourself with a small profit, the money invested—that's all. If you pay $1 you carry a small stock, sell the article fre- for an article now, and keep it a year from quently, and turn over your investment twelve now, it has cost you $1.06. If you sell it as times a year, you will make a very handsome quickly as you buy it, you save the extra six profit. Your profit is 10 per cent on every
cents—and that's all you do save. turnover; on twelve turnovers it is 120 per In addition, if an article can be handled very cent; and if you deduct from this your 30 per quickly by the clerk, with little loss of time, cent of expense, you still have left a net.profit there is less expense for labor, but the transacof 90 per cent !"
tion must still bear the same percentage of Is it necessary, we wonder, to show that this overhead expense that every last sale in the reasoning is perfectly childish? Doesn't every- store must bear. There is positively no escape. body see through it at once?
But let's consider the question seriously for just a minute or two. If you turn over your
THE DRUGGIST HAS COMPANY. stock twelve times a year, we may assume "Since the outbreak of the European war, that you turn it over regularly once every
bottles have advanced about 25 per cent, corks month. Now Mr. Walton asserts that your
about 15 per cent, the paper on which our percentage of expense is to be charged up only
labels are printed about 50 per cent, the boxonce a year. What, then, is the inference?
board of which cartons are made about 25 per Simply this: that during eleven months of the
cent, and the finishing and packing expense year no expense is chargeable against your
(labor) about 50 per cent. business. You have no rent to pay, no light,
“One of our packaged cough remedies conno heat, you need no clerks to sell the goods,
tains ammonium chloride, American cannabis, and it costs you nothing to transact your busi- squill, gelsemium, senna, chloroform, and alconess. There is no expense until you reach the hol. The first-mentioned ingredient has adtwelfth month of the year, when your stock is vanced 75 per cent, the second 300 per cent, turned over the twelfth time!
the third 400 per cent, the fourth 25 per cent, Is this an unfair interpretation of Mr. Wal- the fifth 500 per cent, the sixth 150 per cent, ton's reasoning? It does not seem to us to be and the alcohol about 10 per cent. Another so. It is the only possible explanation of this cough preparation contains horehound, which startling and unique presentation of a piece of has advanced 300 per cent, and hyoscyamus, plain mathematics.
which has advanced more than 1000 per cent.” We have no grievance against Mr. Walton The foregoing is taken from a recent anpersonally. He happens to be a friend of the
nouncement of a well-known manufacturer. present writer. He is a mighty good man in On the one hand the manufacturer is conhis field-one of the leaders, as has already fronted by advanced costs all along the line, been stated. But he is evidently not a very and on the other hand a loss of business stares good mathematician, and the reason that we him in the face if he raises his prices. He is have devoted this editorial to him is because between the imp of darkness and the habitat we want to use him as an illustration. Many of the submarine. other men are advancing the same arguments It is true that it often happens that those and presenting the same object-lessons. The ingredients on which there has been the greatwoods seem to be full these days of faulty rea- est advance in cost are those which enter into soning on this subject of stock turnovers. the preparation in the smallest quantities, so As a matter of fact, you cannot escape the
the final score—the mean average of the perconclusion that every single time your stock centage of advance—isn't nearly so bad as it turns over, it must yield a satisfactory measure sounds when each ingredient with its corre
sponding figure is sung off separately. But upon in any old order—the man that hollered even after granting this, it must be admitted the loudest got served first. that the cost of turning out a product of the I saw one dispenser who couldn't find a character under discussion has advanced very scoop handy by take up some chopped nuts markedly.
with his fingers and sprinkle a sundae. The truth is that in many instances this ad- another pick up a piece of ice that had fallen vance is so marked that the product is put out on the floor and put it without rinsing in a by the manufacturer at a margin so slight that drink he was mixing. it does not fall short, very much, of being an I saw enough. actual loss.
My order was for ginger ale served in the Straight "patent medicines,” possibly, are original bottle. not affected to the extent above outlined. The
Four other equally large stores that I tried lines which have been hit the hardest, doubt- were just as bad. The dishes were filthy; less, are those which may, for want of a better drinks weren't mixed — they were simply name, be termed "non-secrets."
thrown together; and the customer who hesiIf there is any truth in a certain trite old
tated ever so slightly in stating his choice was adage, the druggist may soften his discom- passed by to be served five or ten minutes later. fiture, when he faces rising costs, by the Dirty dishes were piled everywhere, particuthought that he isn't alone in his troubles. The larly favored places being those where the unmanufacturer has his, also.
clean glasses could be seen, and smelled, by the greatest number of patrons.
Of course the weather was hot, the rush of THE SAUNTERER
customers was almost overwhelming, and it was impossible to practice the little niceties
that appeal to fastidious people. Last month I had occasion to comment on
Even all these excuses, however, can hardly the excellence of the service at soda fountains
be expected to condone unwashed glasses and where women dispensers are employed. This
spoons, syrup-encrusted counter slabs, and immonth I have something to say about man-run
pertinent clerks. fountains, and the comments are going to be
I'll wager that for every dime taken in over anything but complimentary.
these five fountains during the day I visited During the past few weeks we have had
them, one dollar in lost sales will be the result. some unusually-insufferably—hot weather,
The customers who were lost to the stores beand in the midst of the heated spell my duties
cause of the miserable service afforded will took me to a good-sized Western city. Upon
take their trade to fountains where cleanliness arriving in the place after an all-night Pullman
and courtesy are placed before a desire to see ride my first desire was for something cool.
how many drinks can be slopped out-or else Accordingly, I entered a drug store where a
they will cut out patronizing soda fountains sign announced the recent installation of a
altogether. thirty-foot, $10,000 soda fountain. The outfit was a beautiful one, the dispensers were attired in natty coats and caps, and the crowd of about
Rates to the A. Ph. A. convention at Attwo-score waiting customers convinced me lantic City, round trip: Portland, Me., $21.82; that I had struck a "regular" fountain.
Boston, $16.50; Hartford, Conn., $11.36; New After purchasing a check and crowding up
Haven, Conn., $9.54; New York City, $6; to the counter, however, I found that my judg- Cleveland, $24.10 or $23.60; Cincinnati, $29; ment was ill-advised.
Chicago, $34.50; St. Louis, $37; New Orleans, There was about half an inch of syrup, going and returning same route, $53.05; Atcrushed fruit, and other slop on the marble lanta, $36.05; Minneapolis and St. Paul, slab. The dispensers were washing the dishes
$53.50. From California common points goby giving them one dip in cold water; two ing and returning by direct routes to New York glasses that had contained lemon phosphate- and Philadelphia, $110.70. To come East by a clear drink-were refilled without even a direct routes and return by Northern route via pretense of washing. Customers were waited Portland, Ore., $17.50 must be added.
I went into a bank the other day.
It was one of those banks where they have three receiving windows. The first clerk takes people whose names begin with "A," and so on up to "I"; the second clerk runs from “J” to “P”; and the third clerk monopolizes the rest of the alphabet.
Of course I walked up to the J-P window. Unfortunately, however, eight or ten people were waiting in line ahead of me, and as I was in something of a hurry I felt rather impatient.
The floor officer, sensing the situation, whispered to me that I had better take the A-I window, where there happened to be nobody in line at all. I did so—but with consequences which furnish the basis of this tale of woe.
The clerk, glancing at my deposit book, noticed at once that my name began with “M," and asserted somewhat petulantly:
"You belong at the next window."
"I know it,” said I, “but there are a lot of people standing in line there, and the officer suggested that I come here.”
Whereupon a frown settled heavily on the clerk's countenance and he called out loudly and snappishly to the officer:
"Say, Mac, I wish you would send people over to the third window if there are too many of them at the second. I'm busy."
This was about as direct an affront as could possibly be given to a customer. It pretty nearly amounted to a slap in the face.
A realization of this fact finally dawned on the haughty young man's mind, and he sought to fix it up, but in doing so he made things a lot worse.
"I certainly hope,” he said, “that we don't have many more rushes like we've had to-day, but I'm afraid we'll have another one the day before the 4th.”
This was intended to have a mollifying effect, but can you imagine anything worse than such an attitude on the part of a clerk in a bank, a department store, a drug store, or any other institution on the face of the earth!
Here was a bank, for instance, with a young, virile, ambitious president endeavoring to build up a great enterprise. It has gone ahead by leaps and bounds. Every year it has made itself bigger and better.
And yet this clerk didn't want more business—he resented having too many customers—he was satisfied only when things were dull!
Ye gods, isn't it terrible!
I might preach a little sermon on loyalty, but what's the use? The incident points its own moral.
Elbert Hubbard was eternally right when he gave this advice: “Get in line or get out.” The clerk who doesn't work faithfully for his boss, who doesn't religiously carry out the spirit of the institution, who isn't just as much interested as his employer is in building up and promoting the enterprise—such a clerk is an absolute drag. The quicker he is out, the better.
And then think of the other side of the question for a minute.
Why under heaven doesn't a normal young man want to develop himself and improve his opportunities? If he is a clerk in a bank, why doesn't he look ahead to being assistant cashier, cashier, vice-president, president? How can he hope to rise to any of these positions higher up unless he makes good in the positions lower down?
I have already referred to the president of this particular bank. He started in as an errand boy, and now he runs the entire show with consummate ease and ability.
Did he drive customers away when he served behind the grating as a receiving clerk, or did he smile a big smile and tell them to come on as fast as they liked—the more the merrier ? You have only one guess.
H. B. M.