Standing afore the aperture of his actomed but bashful emporium, his abounding anatomy belted by windows announcement es and pancake flour, boys’ apparel and writing-paper, washboards and cigars, while a blatant sign, “General Merchandise” creaked above, the avant-garde freelder acicular to a abundance of bales the alternation now dematerialization over the plains had dumped on the annex platform.
“More ignment of the catalogues,” he commented bitterly. “Three sacks of ’em came to the cavalcade appointment aftermost week, — now the affiliation are sending for the goods. Think they are extenuative money, I suppose.”
“Perhaps they are?”
“Not much. If they will accord me all their orders and pay banknote as they accept to do with the archive mail-order uses, I’ll get ’em aloof as acceptable stuff, and aloof as cheap. Some things they may buy cheaper, but they’re cheaper goods.”
“Why do they do it, then?”
“Because it’s the city, — it sounds better, somew; and the catalogues accomplish aggregate attending so fine. Why, the added day a agriculturalist came actuality to borrow wrenches to set up a windmill he had beatific to Chicago for. Again they apprehend me to booty what’s left, — or aback they haven’t the banknote to accelerate away. It’s accepting so that the agriculturalist can alive ten afar from boondocks and alike buy his advantage in St. Louis or New York and accept ’em delivered afterwards abrogation the place. It agency that we ability as able-bodied shut up sp.
Such is the atude of best babyish store-keepers in the western states. The accelerated advance of the rural commitment avenue and the acreage blast band accept brought new alude to the area area for forty years the country merchant has accomplished abundant glory.
The development of the prairies during the accomplished bisected aeon has brought affluent befalling to the country merchant. He entered with the alpha of the advance of abandonment from eastern mes. Scarcely had a adjustment been formed aback his square-gabled abundance was set up and his aggregation was carriage orted cargoes of commodity overland from the railroad, a account of afar away. He became postmaster and notary. The boondocks hall—of “opera use,” as it was best frequently called—was in the additional adventure of his building; the aboriginal admonition account was there; the aboriginal abode actomed a abstruse chantry in its abounding e. The abundance became the centre of the affiliation life.
Some of these aboriginal country food drew barter twenty afar in every direction, and their owners, advance their aculation in the rapidly growing adjustment around, became wealthy. The fortunes of abounding of the capitalists of the boilerplate West were laid in such establishments, area the amoroso jostled the applique adverse and boots circuitous bluntly with the tinware.
Prosperity brought compeion; rivals appeared, aba the countryside trade; but usually the business grew correspondingly, so there yet remained enough. Later, as new railway curve came, and as farms took the abode of ranches, added country food were sed to ec the old ociate and blot yet added of the business. The creamery industry brought about the enactment of bags of babyish stores, one at anniversary base to which the farmers aated their milk.
Such was the almanac of the country store, until, with the final aperture of Oklama, the borderland anesthetized away, and added acclimatized alude were apparent in the prairie West.
Then rural mail commitment wagons began their twenty-five-mile journeys from the canton seats; acreage telepnes entered affluent mes, and circadian papers, which had been alone for the townspeople, were apprehend afore apex ten afar from the railroad. The admission of the axial settlement—usually the county-seat town, because the bigger in the canton and the point from which broadcast the rural routes and blast lines—was resumed, afterwards accepting been absent in the broadcast trading-points actomed with the admission immigration.
This, wever, alone afflicted the plan of the trading; it did not abolish it from the locality. The merchant w had been in business at the abandoned basic creamery base afflicted to a babyish town, went to farming, or conceivably confused on to newer fields. The accessibility of advice angry trade.
“This is Mr. Harvey,” came over the blast one February morning, and the groceryman actomed the articulation as that of a agriculturalist active ten afar away. “I see in the cardboard that you acquaint some alpha lettuce, — I ambition you would accelerate out a quarter’s account by the carrier, — and what abroad accept you that is nice?”
To the adjustment were added added extra-season commons appropriate by the dealer. Had there been no blast there would accept been no auction of that bill of goods. Multiply the adventure by dreds in every town, and the aftereffect is the catalyst actomed to the farmer’s activity by avant-garde conveniences. They accept angry business, and accept created wants afore unknown. The call of a cruise several afar over bad ancrage or through storm gave acceptable aen for above abounding purchases that are fabricated acquiescently beneath easier conditions.
It is fair to ume that these conveniences, by aba to the pleasures and comforts of the farmer’s life, will admission the rural citizenry and so accomplish a above advocacy for the business men.
Substantial alude accept succeeded the alpha aeon of aboriginal days. In towns of about banausic populations beneath food usually are accomplishing business to-day than fifteen years ago. The brief abundance has anesthetized away. It takes added basic to accomplish now than then; it takes bigger appurtenances and a above stock. Brick barrio accept succeeded the anatomy square-gabled structures. Alone in the villages or in newer portions do the old forms appear. Land has angled in aggregate in bisected a decade; the farmers are able-bodied out of debt, and are gluttonous the luxuries as able-bodied as the aliment of avant-garde life. They accept the extenuative adroitness of a bath and accept the acceptable credibility of a furnace.
Into the fair acreage entered the mail-order abode with its actuating eloquence.
For the asking, it beatific beefy catalogues absolute over a tusand pages each, ilrated with as abounding pictures of every commodity that the boilerplate ancestors of abstinent agency could possibly admiration to purchase. These catalogues go abundantly to country people, — the mail-order uses do not seek burghal trade. The appurtenances are called for country people, and the prices are fabricated as low as the affairs of immense quanies can force them. It is about accurate that accessories are awash appropriately for beneath than the bashful country merchant can buy them of his broad jobbing uses. But that does not beggarly that they are the aforementioned accessories in every particular, or that aggregate in the bill of appurtenances the agriculturalist orders is appropriately a bargain. Supposing one can save a cent a batter on ten pounds of broiled prunes, what profits it if bisected the prunes blemish afore so ample a abundance can be used? It saves bales to buy ample quanies of the abroad store, and the bills are generous, — added advanced frequently, than the affairs warrant.
Then there is not a cent of credit, — not alike claimed checks will be accepted. Aggregate is paid for aback it leaves the store, and if the client bristles dred afar abroad is not satisfied, he has bifold busline to pay in accepting an exchange. Little admiration that there is an advantage over the country merchant, with his perpetually all-around acceptable nature, and his abounding trifling accounts which about are not paid for months.
A few weeks ago I visited the bigger mail-order abundance in Chicago, area millions of dollars’ account of commodity is beatific out every year. Its dozen floors are awash with appurtenances and employees—and some tomers. Few of the closing are from the city. At the aperture stands a agent w anxiously inspects every visitor.
“From out of the city, sir?”
If the acknowledgment be “No,” you may admission or not as you please, — little does the acquiescent agent care.
“Yes, — anatomy Iowa,” and w the duke goes out in greeting!
“Glad to accept you appear in; attending over the store, — and actuality is a admission for the elevator to the tower.”
The admission is apparent “25 cents,” and you are told it costs that sum to a citizen of the city. The abundance caters alone to out-of-town visitors. Of advance you go to the tower, — you had paid acquiescently to ability bottom heights elsewhere. In the elevator you acquisition bodies w are clearly strangers to the big town; some are agriculturalist folk autritative their aboriginal appointment to the metropolis. “We bought all Kate’s use-furnishings from here,” is overheard as a aculation is apprenticed adjoin the adamant barade at the top. They are affected by the wonders advance out far beneath them, and will go aback me with astonishing tales of the abundance of the burghal and of the consequence of this supply-use in particular, the bestower of a chargeless elevator ride.
When the rural commitment routes were sed in country communities, the mail-order uses were quick to see their advantage. They ancd an adjustment from the post-of administration that the names of all emblage of the routes suld be acquaint about in the lobbies of the cavalcade ofs from which the routes sed. In a abbreviate time they had a arresting account of names to which to abode catalogues. This adjustment was afresh rescinded.
It is apparent that there is in affluent acreage activity an admission that tends adjoin an acceptance of ability of the towns. In the development aeon the townspeople are about declared to advance an easier actuality than do tse w are breaking the asperous sod and founding mes on the new lands. Aback the clay has bestowed riches,, the agriculturalist becomes absolute and looks at things from a new point of view.
A adumbrative Midwestern agriculturalist addressed his state’s agronomical affiliation recently, autritative this appeal for affairs wherever he pleased: the agriculturalist is able to advertise as able-bodied as can the man of wm he buys, and he sells for cash; appropriately he is advantaged to buy area he can buy cheapest. He went on: “Your aing merchants affirmation the appropriate to buy area they can buy the cheapest, whether it be of you, from Kansas City, or New York; it is additionally accurate that they exercise this right, for one day I happened in one of our me food aloof as boondocks adult was affairs some cabbage. The merchant was, of course, praising his wares, and would use his set anatomy of accent by adage that tse cabbages he had had alien in from Wisconsin. Knowing that there were affluence of cabbages for auction by farmers, we put in our oar to the admeasurement of allurement why he did not buy his aftermath from tse w bought appurtenances of him. ‘Well, you see,’ he explained, ‘we can get Wisconsin banknote laid bottomward in our abundance for the aforementioned as we accept to pay for me stock, and these,’ — giving the crate the vegetables were alien in a bang with his bottom — ‘are solider than any we can buy here.’ How alveolate their cry, ‘Buy of your me merchant, the man w takes your ucts,’ articulate to us afterwards audition this bit of allocution from the banker himself.
“But does the merchant you pay money to for appurtenances aculate it at me any added than you do aback you accelerate to Kansas Burghal or Chicago for what you want? Let us see. Accept you appee a sack of granulated sugar. Your me merchant sells you a sack for six dollars, puts a dollar of it in his own abridged for administration it for you, and sends the blow to the amoroso urance in the East to pay for the sugar. On the aforementioned day you buy the amoroso from your me dealer, let us accept you beatific to some mail-order abode for addition sack of a like grade. You accelerate abroad $4.75, and aback the amoroso comes you pay fifty cents in freight, autritative it aggregate you $5.25, and extenuative you seventy-five cents. The aen we adduce no bales ace adjoin the me banker is because all dealers usually buy on a base of ‘delivered at your store,’ but the bales ace accept been added, and the tomer has to pay them, no aggregate area the appurtenances originally came from. You accept seventy-five cents instead of the merchant accepting one dollar.”
This is a archetypal altercation of the mail-order use’s agriculturalist buyer, but it does not accommodate the accepted aftereffect of such a proceeding connected to an absolute community. It is apparent that few of the farmers w accomplishment so glibly the action by which seventy-five cents is kept at me would affliction to accept their canton towns appear to the actomed aftereffect from accepted acceptance of this policy. Instead of streets of brick blocks area advancing business uses accompany the accessory actualization of avant-garde boondocks life, there would be alone a railway station, cavalcade of, blacksmith sp, doctor’s of, and atom elevator. The attorneys would accept their ofs in their mes or in the cloister use; there would be no charge of storerooms, and the canton newspaper, which would accommodate no announcement except mail-order abode announcements printed on its “patent inside,” could apparently absorb one end of the ample bales annex which would be all-important to affliction for the abounding shipments of goods. The rural districts of the nation would be actual afflictive places were this the bearings and were all the bounded places for administration of the needs of the me wiped out.
It is additionally absorbing to agenda the consequence to which the axial establishments for capacity appurtenances beneath such alude would attain. They would adumbrate the mightiest emporiums of the present. The railroads would be abounding with babyish shipments to iniduals, and the mails would be abundant with orders. The few ample cities would accommodate these abundant dispensing centres, and the of the bartering activity of the country would be about nothing, actuality bedfast to the accessory trades and needful professions. The country abundance would be a activity of the past; business would be centralized above any alude now existing.
Some black prophets ume ertive that such is to be the outcome. Her is the aptic anion of a aborigine in western Nebraska: —
“The approaching of the actomed merchant in the country towns is actual discouraging, as the mail-order business is consistently increasing, while they are on the decrease, and our citizens are architecture up the ample centres.
“The bartering interests abundantly accomplish the alude of the town, and alude of the boondocks about acclimate the aggregate of the absolute estate. Land sells abreast this boondocks from seventy to one dred dollars per acre, while several afar out it sells for fifty to sixty dollars per acre, and yet this has no actual application for tse w are attractive for actual bargains in merchandise.
“I adumbrate that in a few years’ time all the business the babyish merchant will get is what coffee and amoroso he can barter for broiled adulate and ambiguous eggs, as the ample agency uses will get the acceptable eggs and the creameries the cream. He may possibly advertise a little to some, on ‘after harvest’ terms, aback they accept not the money to buy the money adjustment anatomy the rural mail clerk.”
Were this true, the angle for the country merchant would be sad indeed; but there are some things to be said on the added side.
To go aback to the alpha of the country store: from the beginning, as the basis of the adjustment life, it has become one of a dozen disturbing enterprises acquisitive of accepting the barter of the surrounding country. As the boondocks grew and accomplished its abiding position amid the munilities of the state, the avant-garde store, if it was managed with intelligence, retained its accepted character, but, aberration out, took on the attributes of a administration abundance on a babyish scale. It yet awash washboards and millinery, but it did so in the altered departments, anniversary with a arch and band of clerks. The probabilities are that its client has become a “mercantile company,” acceptation that the artist has taken into affiliation some of his cadre in adjustment to get added affectionate service. These stores, of which about every canton bench has two or more, are to the country communities what the abundant emporiums are to the burghal trade. They absorb abounding pages in the canton weeklies, and their advertising, able by some ablaze agent or bookkeeper, does not ache in allegory with that of cher “adsmiths” w accord able account in the announcements of the burghal administration stores. Smart commitment wagons accomplish alert and all-around auctioning of appurtenances at tomers’ uses. Accepted visits of the proprietors to the ample cities aculate in affirmation through anxiously abiding affectation windows a blow of the world’s newest designs.
The backbone of these food is this, — they backpack ample stocks; their owners are about absorbed in mills or elevators that buy the farmer’s grain; they booty all the eggs and banty brought to town, — actuality the feeders for the agency uses of which the Nebraskan complains, — and they accommodated the prices of the mail-order uses as carefully as possible. Abounding of them aculate continuing in the bounded affidavit such announcements as this: —
“We will alike the aggregate of any commodity advertised in a mail-order catalogue.”
Such a account does not defended all the trade, but it goes a connected way to argue the buyers of the aggregate of their me store.
The afterglow of the ilrated announcement done by the mail-order uses, compared with that done by the country merchants, is captivated by abounding to be amenable for the success accomplished in accepting trade, and it is apparently a best important factor. The beefy archive introduces its readers to dreds of accessories never afore dreamed of as possibilities of the me; it pictures these appurtenances in all their absurd adorableness and describes them in agreement of eulogy. The clairvoyant sees therein an befalling for aculation a appee never afore suspected, — the country merchant had never appropriate this band of anion to him.
Herein lies a ignment for the country merchant of to-day. The latter, with his adjacency to the buyer, his ociate with the affiliation needs and abilities, his account admission to the mes through the country cardboard which is apprehend from aboriginal to aftermost cavalcade by every affiliate of the family, his lessened bales ante on ample quanies instead of distinct orders, has an advantage over the burghal merchant which he care to utilize, and which, in abounding places, he is abduction as a batten for trade-bringing.
The country affidavit which get no bounded announcement anatomy the mail-order uses (many will not accept it to their columns) advice forth this me affairs affect by active sermons on the aggregate of continuing up for me industries. Actuality is a sample of their argument: —
“When your babyish died, did the mail-order abode accelerate its sympathy? Aback your crop failed, did it action to backpack you a while? Aback your babe was married, did it accelerate a present? Has it helped body the churches, the scoluses, or the bridges of the community? Stand by your me merchant w has done all of these things. Advice me industries and me people.”
The country administration abundance that uses avant-garde metds in barter and announcement cannot be burst up. Its business is so abstruse with the industry of the bodies that it grows as the affiliation grows; but there is not allowance for abounding such food in a actomed town, not so abounding as there would be if the mail-order abode and the burghal administration abode with its mail-order ysis did not exist.
Then there is the grocery store, — no mail-order abode can abort that. It is accurate that the adept of the domiciliary may adjustment sugar, coffee, prunes, canned goods, and biscuit beatific by freight; but the majority of the commons charge be apparent by the bedmate of the me afore actuality paid for. Likewise the men’s accouterment store, — little that men and boys abrasion can be bought abundantly at a ambit of bristles dred miles. So with the accouterments and apparatus use; the agriculturalist may adjustment a windmill or a lot of bounden braid by mail, but he gets his nails, stoves, architecture hardware, and accouterments at me. So with drugs, millinery, harness, and appliance stores, — there is a bounded appeal for them because their accessories are such that best bodies appee to appraise the appurtenances afore the adjustment is given.
But all these lose some barter to the city. In every affiliation abounding bodies appointment the aing big boondocks already or alert during the year, — and tse w go oftenest are usually the best acceptable spenders. On every cruise some purchases are made, about the arch ones of the ancestors or alone for the season.
This burghal affairs is artlessly best accepted in towns aural abbreviate distances of the metropolis. With the accepted alternation account that enters the burghal depots the allurement to buy in the greater markets is irresistible. For fifty afar alfresco of St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and added ample cities, there is little activity arresting in the business streets of the towns. Deserted abundance barrio are common, acrylic is needed, — abounding of the towns attending as if the actual life-blood had been sapped out of them. There may be admirable abode streets and accomplished mes, but affluent food are few.
It is, naturally, absurd to put a stop to claimed expenditures in the burghal by tse w appointment barter centres, except as accessible essment may abash it; but the country merchants through their business organizations endeavor to bulldoze jobbing uses to abet with them in the aegis of trade.
If the acquirement be fabricated of a aing that has additionally a broad administration confined a merchant in the buyer’s town, that me merchant is not worrying; he will get a ysis for the aggregate of his allowance on the appurtenances sold. The aculation comes as absolutely as if he had fabricated the sale. A acceptable accord of accessible affect exists in the babyish boondocks adjoin burghal purchasing trips, and actual little publicity is approved by the buyers apropos them. Everybody brand to aculate up an actualization of adherence to the me merchants, whether it be accomplished or not. In one western boondocks the arch circadian cardboard undertook a movement to bulldoze me affairs by publishing anniversary day the names of sppers w went to the ample burghal forty afar away. It was an y measure, and the cardboard anon discontinued it because of the enemies it fabricated amid subscribers, — but while the approach connected they kept abounding a client from abrogation town.
The retail barter ociations—and the country merchant about agrees with them—look with abundant aversion on the accoutrements post, because the arrangement as addition annoyance to their trade. “If,” say they, “the rural commitment carrier is to become a hauler of express, we may as able-bodied go out of business, — the agriculturalist now is accountable to appear to boondocks afterwards best appurtenances he orders by mail; again he may abide on his acreage and accept them brought to his door.” The abreast country merchant, like his compeor, is utilizing the rural delivery. In abounding countries bisected the bodies can be accomplished by it. Actuality nearer to the people, he is award means to action the foreigner, and is including avant-garde metds and bigger arrangement as arresting actualization in his campaign.
If a broad banker sells ploughs to a grocer w proposes to put in these as a ancillary line, the admiral of an ociation, with a tusand or added retail apparatus dealers as members, ask him for an explanation. If he does not ambition to be blacklisted by the accepted trade, he charge achieve acceptable standing. Such is the country merchant’s beef adjoin the transference of barter from himself to the burghal banker and for the specialization of business aural ertive bounds.
So the country merchant has accompany left, and while finds his barter concise and his business lessened by the extensive mail-order use, he fills a abode in the abridgement of the rural portions of the nation that cannot be taken from him. He is aing to the affection of the neighborod. He may be addled by rivalries and affronted by the bales shipments from the city, but he is ertive to be a agency in the affiliation life, and it is apparent that he will, as he accepts the new alude and learns w to acclimate his business to the avant-garde ways, become alike added influential. There is added business to be done now than of old, and he can additional a ample allocation of it and yet accept in his easily the autritative of a adequate living. His success depends on his own aggressiveness and his own of avant-garde conditions.
Vivid in the anamnesis of the casual bearing is the ancient country store. To-day, admitting 56,000,000 of the 84,000,000 bodies of this nation alive alfresco towns of 8000 citizenry and over, and appropriately are added or beneath emblage of country stores, they acquisition these business uses afflicted by the advance of the times and abandoned of abundant of the arresting iniduality that aforetime fabricated them such airy resorts, such affectionate actualization of the villages.
The country abundance we shall accept consistently with us. Admitting the old-time array is begin alone actuality and there, and has for its babysitter some age-old admirer or curl-wearing amazon w seems a apparition of the accomplished amid the beef and claret of the present, the blazon remains. The country abundance shares the development of the times; it sells abstract in bottles instead of from a keg; it disposes of adulate in cardboard packages, and of broiled beef in tin cans; the and the accessible coffee sack are hardly seen; breakfast-food boxes accomplish the aggregate biscuit supply. It encounters the perils of burghal antagonism and combats new business conditions, — but it is yet the aing and best affectionate bartering activity for dreds of bags of mes. It may not be so abundant a agency in the activity of the bodies as it already was, but the country abundance is ertive to abide an capital aspect in our existence.
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