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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (May 7, 1911)
TTTEOMAnA SUNDAY BEE: MAY 7. 1011.
Handling Retail Orders of Omaha Housewives a Big Chore
Waiting for Zoa& at 3randtU
, Order Exzxzs
"URLY, th Crackerbox Kid, as his asso
I (T I clat8 "on the line" called him, was la
I I g00d humor as he sorted the packages
oui i a Dig truck Into the back of his
wagon. He was singing, he t&rght,
and his strain ran thun:
"Oh, the butcher boy Is the boy for me. I
He stolo away my llbertee; '-
toK!t.ry wlth a rlght Kod wl11.
But the butcher boy, I love him still."
Curly's singing had peculiar accents, of the ancient
fashion, long drawn and lingering, and at certain
points his face seemed to be hurting him.
"Soy, Curly, ef yu don't let up on dat growlln
111 soak yu wld dls turnip," ejaculated a brawny
driver who was fussing with a load of heavy veg
etables. "Soak yourself, you mut," said Curly, with a trucu
lent mien. "You frow anythln' at me an' you'll
As Curly weighs about 101 pounds and the "mut"
breaks the scale with a blow of his fist, something
had to give. It was the tension on the blg-'man's
mind, for he let off a largesmlle, threw his arm up
as If to ward off a blow, and retorted, "Aw, take
someone your size, an don't try to scare me to deaf
all th time."
"Well, 'tend to your own buzness, den I'm goln
to-slng as much as I want to."
"Sure,sln all you want to, but don't put the
flat wheel on de music so much," retorted the big
lellow. "Wen a boy has a nice Job like you got,
calUn on th best people, wit' cards already writ and
everything packed shipshape, he oughter feel like
alngln' If he has a trained Vice like yours."
"It's as good as your old voice, anvwav." qm
Curly, as he Jumped onto the seat and took the lines,
an' don't ferget, I kin put a stick In yu're wheel ef
X wanter. You're not the white man's hope, yet."
A Curly drove away, grinning disdainfully, the
tig trucker turned to the man wrestling with the
spotted mules, backing In alongside. "Look at that
now. Dere's a kid I've helped ev'ry way I could, an'
he. gives me Up like dat w'enever I open me head
"Aw,. Curly's all right, all right." said the mule
tamer. "He's a good kid, on'y his tongue's a little
loose. He's got a goyl now, too, an' he's dreamy."
Taking Out the City's Supplies.
Then the conversation gave way to hustling work,
as the drivers began to gather their consignments
of orders and load them In the wagons. It was the
early morning loading hour at one of the big retail
stores, and two or three dozen double and single de
livery wagons were lined up, stretching almost the full
length of the block. The sidewalk was littered with
boxes, barrels, packages, rolls and bags, ticketed wtia
names and numbers of houses, representing customers
from the Sarpy county line almost to Blair
The delivery boys-a goodly proportion being
husky men, by the way were chaffing and Joking, as
ttey made ready to pick up their loads. .A small
nuinber of wagons were drawn by one horse, but most
of them were taking on piles of merchandise that
would require a long day's work to place in the homes
from which the orders came:
At first glance, it would appear a hopeless task
to sort out and direct to their exact destination the
fast numbers of bundles and parcels of varying kinds
that the shipping clerk had sent to the sidewalk. But
before one had been viewing the scene very long he
firas made to realize that In the midst of the ap
parent confusion, system, that savior of modern busi
ness, reigned, fiot only was every driver's special
load placed handy to his wagon, but every package
ras put into the wagon In approximately the order In
irhlch it would come out. Those to be delivered first
ffcere the last to go onto the load or Into the covered
Assembling the Orders After Sale.
But let us begin with the sale, In one of the de
partment stores. Jinks buys a bedtlck or a piece of
.furniture, then he buys a dollar's worth of sugar, and
maybe a package of gents' furnBhlngs. His neighbor.
-1 ' h
Tv - it-
at the same time, may be buying potatoes or meat, or
a pianola, mayhap a Persian rug. Each department
has attached a busy inldvidual known as an order
clerk. He knows when the wagons leave for any
particular section of the city or surrounding territory,
among other scraps of knowledge. So he alms to get
the various packages down to the shipping room In
time to catch the earliest delivery possible after
This shipping room is down In the basement, as a
rule, and Is capable of holding almost a storeful of
goods. "Good shipping clerks are generally born that
way," says Superintendent Qulnlan of Hayden's, when
asked about that part of the establishment' "I be
lieve the shipping clerks of the big stores la this city
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are as good as can be found anywhere, because they
are a hustling example of the survival of the fit, In
that particular line' of work. They have to be re
sponsible men, naturally, but the most ponderous
sense of responsibility wouldn't be worth much in a
shlppng room unless it Is coupled with a keen sense
of order and quickness of mind that cannot be easily
Shippers' Room Has System of Its Own.
Going Into the shipping room of any of the large
stores, the point of Mr. Qutnlan's remarks becomes
quickly apparent The order clerks are continually
carrying or wheeling In small and large packages of
goods, and when they deliver them to the shipping
clerk he signs a book, to prove he got the goods.
Ranged along the walls are capacious bins or boxes,
numbered consecutively. Every driver of a wagon
has his own bin, and as fast as the goods are received
Mr. Shipping Clerk and his assistants distribute them
into the bins. As each driver's route is carefully
marked out for him, the address on any package in
dicates who Is to deliver it Like the mail clerk, the
Bhlpping clerk must know his boxes without stopping
too long to figure out which one takes any package.
At each bin hangs a tab of paper and a pencil.
As each piece Is placed therein It Is entered on the
tab, whether it be a pound of sugar or a roll of carpet
Under the top sheet Is a carbon, ana when the driver
signs for what he took from the bin he leaves with
the shipping clerk a duplicate list of the stuff he
took out. Hence, he must deliver every package or
bundle'; or, if a complaint comes In of non-delivery
and the driver cannot account for the goods he took
out. he is under the necessity of paying for the same.
Hence also, every driver sees to It pretty carefully
that he gets everything his list calls for.
These bins containing the made up orders are all
on wheels, bo that they can be shoved onto an elevator
and taken to the loading place. Then it Is up to the
driver to sort them out and place them on his wagon
in the handiest way for quick delivery as he passes
over his route; and he must pile and secure his load
in a manner to prevent losses as he travels along.
Routes Are Carefully Laid Out.
Some of the wagons leaving the Omaha depart
ment stores are scheduled for only one trip a day,
while some others are continually going and coming.
There are two-trip routes, four-trip routes, and the
quick order wagons. Every one of the larger con
cerns has a rig which makes dally trips to Council
Bluffs, and none of them make less than fifty stops
a day in the town across the river. Which would In
dicate that the housewives of Council Bluffs know a
good prospect, even at some distance.
Benson, Florence, South Omaha, Albright Avery,
Ralston, and every other group of residences, large
or small, within a wide radius have special wagons
assigned to carry to them the Roods boueht In Omaha
They get almost as quick a service as do the outlying
portions of Omaha. And the country homes scattered I ! . . d U 0n DurD08e'" Ba,(l driver who has
all over the hills and dales on every side of Omaha-. been W,th one houBe for rear8- "If the the right
and a while creeps into their day's work. "Lots of
places are hard to get at," said one, "and some people
don't seem to have any notion of how a delivery man
has to hustle. Most folks treat us right, though, and
get to' be real friendly, and I often wonder what the
kickers think they gain by telling their troubles to
the driver, when they ought to hand them over to
Late Deliveries Not Popular.
About every driver talked to had one pet kick.
They felt that when patrons of the stores did not
know Just what they were talking about they ought
to keep still. For Instance, while the routes are laid
out with the idea that the men can cover them be
tween 8:30 In the morning and 6 o'clock at night, yet
accidents happen, and circumstances sometimes arise
which make it impossible for all the deliveries to be
made within that time. The driver, of course, want
to finish their work as soon as possible, but they are
under strict instructions to finish their deliveries be
fore "turning In."
"Some people act as if they thought we like to be
out late, and do it on purpose," said a driver who has
all over the hills and dales on every side of Omaha'.
twenty-four square miles of territory get the benefit
of the highly organized system of delivery of the
"We go almost to Blair sometimes." said one
driver, "and as far in other directions. It's all right
In nice sunny weather, with good roads, but when a
wet spell comes, or a sleet storm or a blizzard Bay,
mister, then I'd rather, be beside the warm stove
This man and others intimated that trouble once
hunch they would sympathize a little, maybe, with
the delayed driver. He runs against' snags on his wsy
Just the same as anybody else, and there might be
a dozen reasons why he don't get around on the exact
time he should. Bad roads, breakdowns, some little
accident to horse or wagon, all these things are liable
to happen, and then we are delayed in spite of all
we can 'do. People should keep in mind that the
dellveryman Is human and subject to all the chances
that others are. We aim to do our work as rapidly
and as well as we can, and customers ought to keep
In mind that we wut xo finish the route in as short
a time as we can."
Another word that can be said for the drivers of
the delivery wagons of Omaha Is that they are, as a
class, reliable men. Every day the most valuable,
classes of goods are entrusted to their care in large
quantities, and the record shows few or no breaches
of trust. The careless, irresponsible man on a de
livery wagon is tho very rare exception, and through
out the ranks of the deliverymen there prevails a
tfpirit of faithfulness that can well be praised. In
the handling of the various classes of merchandise,
too, the men have to and do exercise care. They will,
as a rule, stand up for their "house" against all
comers, and evidence an interest in their work that is
more than perfunctory.
' In the shipping rooms of each of the department
stores an average of 1,500 orders a day packed and
handled would be a very moderate estimate. The
goods range from the lightest to the very heaviest, and .
the amount handled throughout the city stores every
twenty-four hours would reach a very large aggregate '
In tonnage and have a value running far Into th
thousands. Thst so little of the merchandise bought
and ordered sent by delivery wagon is lost an al
most infinitessimal per cent certainly goes to Indi
cate that the Omaha stores have got that end of their
business most excellently organized.
Delivery by motoro'f.Ja and by bicycle messengers
Is now an established -.utom with many of the retail
concerns of Omaha, fcfome of the firms keep several
boys on the go continually, while others, in various
lines, call boys from the messenger companies to take
out their goods. This is quck delivery with a ven
geance, for some of the motorcycle messengers travel
at a gait calculated to make pedestrians watch the
corners with some care. Here, too, the trust re
posed in the messengers, and the faithfulness with
which It Is kept has a tendency to make the pessimist
lose his temper. The boys do their work rapidly
Central City Business Men and Merrick County Farmers in Good Roads Work
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