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BY MABEL POWERS
(YEH SEN NOH WEHS)
Now this is the appointed time. Now we give thanks to our Creator.
May little children continue to creep and run about ! We thank Him that He has made for them the Earth, our mother from whose breast
all things spring and grow. We thank Him that He thought there should be forests for the people and that He filled
them with game. We thank Him for the animals that give us food to eat and skins to wear. We thank Him for the birds that fly in the air, and for the songs they sing. We thank Him for the herbs that heal and that make the sick well. We thank Him for the grasses, the fruits, and the flowers, for Di-o-he-ko, “those we
live by”—the three sisters, the corn, the bean, and the squash. For all these good gifts of life we offer thanks to the Great Spirit in song and dance.
May we again see the season of growing things ! Continue to listen. Now again the smoke rises. Now again the incense ascends. It
lifts our words to the Great Spirit. Now the whole people are giving thanks. We thank Him for all the waters, the springs, the streams, the rivers, and the lakes. We thank Him for the creatures that live in the waters. We thank Him for the Thunderers that feed the springs and make the waters to flow,
for the rains that bring the harvest. We thank Him for the sky and for all the lights He has placed in it. We thank Him for the Sun, our brother, that he looks in on us by day. We thank Him for the Moon, our grandmother ; may she continue to light the night! We thank Him for the stars that guide men-beings, and for all the bright fires in the
Happy Hunting-Grounds. We thank Him for the winds—for the north wind that brings our winters, for the south
wind that brings our summers, for the east wind that brings our sun-risings, for
the west wind that brings our sunsets. We thank Him for the gift of the fire that warms us and cooks our food by day and
protects us by night. We thank Him that all things are doing that for which they were created. From the low earth upward to the great sky where He is living, with all their strength
the people thank Him in song and dance.
1 The paleface has one festival of Thanksgiving, the Iroquois four. In the spring he gives thanks for the sweet waters of the maple. The Strawberry Feast follows at the time of the “ Berry moon. Then comes the Green Corn Dance, which requires three days to name all the gifts of the Great Spirit to the Red Children. In midwinter, the Indian New Year, than re again offered for five for the gifts of the entire year.
Iroquois also never plucks a flower or bit of fruit without silently giving thanks, and he always leaves something of everything that grows for his little brothers of the wood.
WHOLESALE PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1890 TO 1915
BIG BUSINESS JUNIOR
THE CHAIN GROCERY STORE
BY THEODORE H. PRICE
HE two diagrams on the opposite Department of Labor, we find that the rela
page are reproduced from a bulletin tive value of the various staples of consump
upon wholesale prices prepared by tion that are included under the food group the United States Department of Labor. In is as follows : graphic form they present the most important Beans......
1.15 economic problem now confronting the peo- Butter and oleomargarine.
7.35 ple of the United States. It is the increasing Canned goods..
1.07 cost of living
1.19 The relative value in the year 1915 of the
1.81 various commodities considered in ascertain
5.34 Salt and canned fish.
.89 ing the cost of living as indicated in the dia
Flour, all kinds,wheat, rye, and buckgrams is thus stated in the text of the bulletin
15.66 from which they are taken :
Dried and fresh fruit..
4.78 Food ..... 35.80 Sugar and glucose.
16.89 Cloths and clothing... 15.88 Lard.......
2.74 Fuel and lighting... 13.21 Corn meal..
2.16 Metals and metal products.. 10.19 Bacon....
1.98 Lumber and building materials.. 14.32 Hams, smoked.
2.83 Drugs and chemicals..... 1.85 Molasses.....
.61 House-furnishing goods... .27 Olive and oleo oil..
.61 Miscellaneous, including paper, soap, Rice. beer, whisky, and tobacco.... 8.48 Salt..
.33 This calculation does not include rent,
.64 taxes, transportation, or ice, which vary so
.26 widely that it is impossible to make a statis
Total dry groceries...
69.72 tical average of them, though they are all im
Fresh meat and poultry, including portant items in the cost of city life.
19.20 Rent and transportation are, however,
6.63 indirectly represented by the allowances
4.45 made for fuel, lighting, metals, lumber, and building materials, and we shall probably be Total perishable food products 30.28 well within the mark in assuming that out of
100.00 every dollar spent for necessaries in the United States twenty-five cents goes for food. On this basis the dry grocery trade of the We have a total population of about United States distributes about seventy per 100,000,000 souls.
cent of the food consumed in the country Estimating the average expenditure at and does a business of some $6,300,000,000 $1 a day for men, women, and children a year. alike, our total necessary cost of living is These figures have been laboriously assem$36,500,000,000 a year.
bled to show the importance of the grocery Of this one-fourth, or, say, nine billion business in our social economy. dollars, is spent for food. This is twenty- We usually speak of the “corner grocery five cents a day per capita, which about in a contemptuous tone. It is, in reality, the squares with the experience of the establish- most important establishment with which we ments or institutions in which the cost of have to deal. In it we spend at least onefeeding men, women, or children in large sixth of our income. numbers has been accurately ascertained. In the aggregate, the business done by
Returning again to the figures of the the groceryman is the largest in the country, and he supplies the most imperative need of advertising, cartage and delivery charges, life-food.
packing, depreciation, interest, taxes, and inConsidered in this aspect, his vocation rises surance. to a dignity that is not generally accorded it, The expense and profit of the old-fashioned which is perhaps one of the reasons why the independent retail grocery have been even problems of food distribution have not re- more difficult to ascertain.
A year ago the ceived the scientific attention to which they Graduate School of Business Administration are entitled.
of Harvard University made an exhaustive The chain grocery store is, in fact, almost investigation into the expense of operating the first attempt that has been made to apply retail grocery stores, not including “ chain the methods of scientific commerce to the stores, department stores, mail-order stores, retail business in dry groceries.
or fancy grocery stores.” It represents a new application of an old It is admitted that inadequate bookkeeping principle, made possible largely by that hand- made a precise report impossible, but the maid of modern administrative efficiency, the result of the investigation is set forth in the telephone, and born of the necessity for table on the next page. economy created by the increased cost of While my own inquiries would lead me to commodities, especially foodstuffs.
conclude that the average retail grocery store Under the old system, the grocery business is compelled to make a gross profit of more was unorganized. The stores were, for the than twenty-one per cent on sales in order most part, small affairs. Each one was a to net a gain of four per cent on its stock separate commercial integer presided over by turned seven times a year, I am content to its own proprietor, who did his own buying accept the “common " experience as shown and was generally his own salesman.
in the table quoted. On that basis an article In order to meet the somewhat capricious sold by the jobber to the retailer at $1.1242 demand of a comparatively small clientele he would have to be resold at $1.427/2 in order was compelled to carry a wastefully large to realize a profit of twenty-one per cent on stock. If he miscalculated his demand, the the selling price. unsold remnant was subject to rapid deterio- As this article originally cost the jobber $1, ration. Most of his business was done on we are probably well within the mark in credit. Collections were costly and slow and assuming that the average cost of distributing bad debts were numerous.
groceries in the United States under the old Unless his capital was unusually large he method is at least forty-two and one-half per had to buy on credit because he sold on cent, and that the consumer pays $1.4272 credit, and the jobbers or wholesalers who for what the manufacturer sells for $1. gave him financial accommodation were able From the figures furnished by the proprieto control and delimit his selection of goods. tors of several chain-store systems and veri
The quality and assortment of his stock fied by comparison, I conclude that their were often poor, and trade was therefore dif- gross profit on sales does not average over ficult to retain. The credit he extended fifteen per cent. Of this about four per cent made his customers extravagant, and the is net and eleven per cent represents the credit he was forced to ask often proved to overhead cost of doing business. As they be his own undoing.
generally buy from the manufacturer direct It has been impossible to get at the exact for cash, this means that their price would cost of distributing dry groceries under the be $1.17% for an article which the so-called old system. As a rough approximation, based independent retailer must sell at $1.4272 if upon the experience of the few jobbers and he is to make an equal profit. wholesalers who were willing to be communi- The fact that $1.17% will go as far and cative, we may assume that goods bought by buy as much in a chain store as $1.4272 will them from the manufacturer for $1 are sold in a retail store of the old type is of course to the retailer for $1.1272.
mainly responsible for the rapid growth of Of this 12% cents 212 cents is net profit, the chain system, but the proprietors of the and the remaining ten cents represents the chain stores claim that they reduce the cost “ overhead” costs of doing business, includ- and raise the standard of living in other ways. ing rent, heat, light, cold storage, buying and Because they sell only for cash, it is main'ling expense (including the expense of tained that they induce economy in buying.
eling salesmen), bad debts, clerk hire, This is probably true, for the man or woman
BIG BUSINESS JUNIOR
who pays actual money at the time of purchase is generally a more careful buyer than the person who says, “ Charge it," and must ultimately pay bills the verification of which either as to price or quantity is practically impossible.
It is also claimed that the chain stores are able to offer a wider assortment and fresher goods than the ordinary retailer.
Because their business runs into the millions they are able to turn their stock more rapidly and renew it oftener than the small retailer. They claim also that a grocer having several hundred points of contact with the public instead of one can buy more intelligently and less wastefully, and so minimize the loss that accrues from the deterioration of shop-worn goods. All this seems reasonable enough
and is sustained by the rapid growth of the chain-store grocery business in the United States.
Fifteen years ago there were comparatively few chain stores. Now there are about twenty different concerns each of which operates over one hundred stores. One of them is supposed to have over one thousand stores, and there are several with from two to three hundred different establishments.
In some cases a system will include only one city and its suburbs.
In others a single system will have stores in several different States. There are many smaller concerns operating from ten to fifty stores. Nearly all these are growing rapidly. In most cases the owners of these systems are practical retail grocers who commenced
SUMMARY TABLE OF PERCENTAGES AND OTHER FIGURES FOR RETAIL GROCERY STORES'
Gross profit on merchandise...
Groceries and meats and provisions..
Standards attained by a
more effiCommon. cient stores. Per cent. Per cent. 210 0.5 0.02 0.5 6.5 5.0 0.1
0.3 7.0 5.5 1.5
2.4 106 1.8
1.4 10.8 3.5 3.4 5.9 3.8 0.4 4.0 4.1 0.8 0.5 0.5 1.4 0.9 56 0.6
0.3 0.01 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.03 0.01 0.01 0.03 0.8 0.04
Number of stock turns a year :
Groceries and meats and provisions. Average annual sales per sales person.
1 This summary includes stores which sell groceries only, and also stores which sell both groceries and meats and provisions.