Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, March 23, 1913, PART FIVE SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION, Page 6, Image 40

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    THE SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION
EEAT STORE LUE
TON
How Trade is Made Held by the Big Shops that draw the Crowd
BY ARTHUR IRWIN
Illustrations - C. H .Mitchell
ES 5 LODES
fill'' J
.A, JIMMY'S SHOES are clear out, and
sister h gingham dress simply ain't lit
(o go to school in, and if I don't get
something new myself in place of these
rags, I'll simply fall to pieces, that's
all." t '
"All right, ma. I kin spare the
brown mare. You just git Jimmy to
hitch up and drive you to town, and you
buy what yon want from Andy Lewis.
' lie kin charge it, till the hay's cut." .
That's the way America used to go to tho store
when soino of us were children. In those days, tho
store's only aim was to supply its patron's needs.
Andy Lewis bought and sold gingham, becauso ho
knew ma and sister would have to have it; and,
for the samo reason, ho stocked up on good, tough
calfskin shoes for Jimmy and cowhide boots for pa.
Hut nowadays it's different. America goes to
any ono storo as it goes to a
circus or an exposition
because it is enticed there.
And the game of enticing
nmkes (he old circus look like
a three-quarter eclipse of the
moon. Tho circus, you re
member, used to come round
once or twice a year nnd put
us and tho kiddies in a wild
state of excitement for any
where from throo to six
weeks beforo thu show itself
blow in. Hut tho modern
store, the department store,
begins at us almost before
daylight every morning and
never lets up till the next
morning. It puts its offer
ings before us in tho daily
paper which wo read at break
fast; it displays its wares be
foro us as wo walk down the
street; it talks to us in the
"extras" of tho afternoons;
and it lights its windows for
our seduction as wo leavo the theater of an evening.
Regardless of season, weather, or circumstances,
tho department storo is always before us. If the
sun looks down with too favoring rays, the store
manages to confront us with the idea that we can
sco a cooler placo behind its windows. If winter
grips us in its annual shudders, tho storo gently
reminds us that furs and radiators and soft, thick
blankets and alluring fireplaces can be found just
beyond the revolving doors of Jones & Co. If there
has boon a
wreck or n tiro
that would
have kept the
circus away
C ;1
11
IrwL
There are women who aire
demonstrations
for a week or have ruined any other institution, the
store is on time next morning with a display of
"damaged goods" at unheard-of prices. There even
is on record a storo which, having been robbed of
nil its fancy silks on Saturday night, made a special
window display of plain silks on Monday morning,
with a sign attached saying that
it at least had these goods leit
and would sell them at a sac
rifice I
There is on the modern store
keeper's mind not so much the
supplying of our needs as the
creating of needs that we never
even dreamed of before. From
cellar to garret of his huge estab
lishment, he is at us hammer and
tongs, and perennially along this
one line. He holds exhibits,
otters bargains, adver
tises "white sales,"
"clearance sales," and
any number of other
kinds of sales to bring
us under his roof where
ho can play upon our
fancy and sell things to
us that wo previously
knew not of. If we are
reluctant, ho cuts a
gash in his prices that
fetches the flush of cu
riosity to our checks.
If wo do not yield to
prices and need educa
tion along other lines,
ho builds a suite of rooms, equipped like
those of a mansion nnd invites us in, with
out charge, to sco how the rich live and
how wo ought to live. If we aro plain,
plodding women who do our own house
work, he piles bis labor-saving devices in
the windows until, contemplating them, we
turn pale with envy and longing. If we
have habits and refuse to be budged, he
springs a sanitary object-lesson on us and
terrorizes us with tho dread of disease if we
do not speedily mend our ways.
Figuratively speaking, the department
storekeeper stands in front of our Desires
and Tastes liko a policeman in front of the
pushcart pedlar or the street crowd, and
exclaims:
"Move along, please! Keep moving!"
Ai we leave tho theater of an evening
for ingenuity, for cunniiif:
,. vHaaMKaSajatit.-
Salei that play upon
our fancy
A ND behind tho storekeeper is a bunch of
machinery calculated to keep almost any
thing moving. There is a storo building, for
instance, that costs anywhere from one hun
dred thousand to a million dollars and that
has to earn the interest on its investment.
There aro anywhere from five to fifteen acres
of floor space, chock full of stuff that has
to bo sold. There are a thousand to live
thousand clerks that have to bo paid. There
aro ten to a hundred horses that have to be
fed or auto trucks that have to be garaged.
There are factories that do nothing but make
goods for the individual store, and tho factories and
their hands have to be sustained.
More than that, there are buyers scouring the
country and crossing the ocean and invading the
wildernesses to find things that will sell. There arc
wholesalers working band in hand with jobbers,
nnd jobbers massing their forces to prevail upon
the retailer. There are designers utilizing their
ingenuity and nrtists exerting their genius. There
even aro men who plan floor spaces and make a
(specialty of arranging shelves. There are women
who give demonstrations and models who pose.
Manifestly, so vast a concern, instituted for
private profit, has no alternative but to stand like
the policeman in front of our Desires and Tastes and
to keep them moving. It has been estimated, for
example, by the proprietor of one big department
storo that to sustain a store employing 2,000 clerks,
a daily patronage of 20,000 to 25,000 persons is
indispensable; and that means in the course of a
week at least 100,000 to 150,000 persons. One hun
dred to one hundred and fifty thousand persons of
different f r a m o s of
mind, of different im
pulses, of different
tastes, and all to be led
to one storo and made
to buy I Is it any won
der that tho game of
enticing makes the old
time circus look like a
three - quarter lunar
eclipse? A circus comes
but once or twice a
vear, draws 10,000 to
12,000 visitors for two
or three evenings suc
cessively and then de
parts ; but a great mod
ern store has to have
twice that many every
day in the year, and it
never departs. Not only
that, but differing
further from 'the circus,
it has to have a new en
ticement for every day
in tho calendar. The
same show can not be
offered twice in succes
sion. A problem, isn't it,
, for resourcefulness, for
power? A problem that requires ability to get
goods which will sell, ability to sell them at a figure
that the public purse can stand, and ability to con
vince the public that the purse ought to stand it.
A problem that would stagger the shades of the
storekeepers of old
liS nnd nddle tho wits of
mosi oi mo living
ones, w ere t b e y
plunged into the midst
of it unprepared by
the course of evolu
tion. And what is the so
lution? Easy and sim
ple, ns usual. Just a
knowledge of human
n a t u r e, particularly
American nature, and
an adequate mercan
tile system to back it
up. Just a recollec
tion that most of us.
being descendants of
good old New England
stock, or having been
infiue need by New
England, lovo nothing
in the world so much
as a bargain, nnd that
that storo is our store
which gives us tho most perpetual, undying, and
matchless array of bargains. We may not all be
of tho same bargain mold. Some of us may be
more suspicious than others of the things offered
below price; but in one manner or other we all
eventually rise to the idea of getting something for
less than it appears to be worth. And day after
day, tho department store harps upon this one
string.
Often, tho things it presents appear alnio-i
unquestionably to bo somo manner of fraud; but it
is seldom that they are. A two-dollar to three
dollar white shoe offered 'for ninety-eight
looks impossible. Years ago, especially in the da
of the old-time store, most of us would have slu. ;.
(.Continued on Page S)
Tylcr'""
The clerk see it before he does