Monday, November 29, 2010


I came across the article below a day or two ago. I had just received the magazine in the mail (I am a collector of Farmer's Wife magazines) and was struck when I noticed that the issue was 100 years, and one month old (October 1910.) Just a few hours before, I had been looking at a Christmas flier from a local store. There I saw advertised a hot dog cooker. For those of you who have not seen this new, and I believe ridiculous invention, I will describe it. It appeared to be about the size of a large toaster, with hot dogs and buns sticking out of the top as you would see bread sticking out of the top of a toaster. It "only" costs $17.99! What a bargain!! As you will see in the following article, our buying habits have changed much in the last 100 years. I will leave it for you to decide if it has been an improvement or not.

"A finicky public has become accustomed to buying all kinds of food products put up in tasty, neat packages. All kinds of grocery store products now go to the consumer in attractive cartons or packages where formerly they were bought in bulk. This is, of course, an expensive way to buy, for the consumer has to pay for the extra trimmings, but if we are to get the high price we must observe the demand.

In years gone by, butter was sold by the jar, or dished out by the grocer in wooden parchment saucers. Nowadays the high-priced butter comes in neat cartons stamped with the producer's name, the butter itself being wrapped in parchment paper. In city stores, butter so handled often brings five to ten cents per pound more than the same quality of butter sold in jars.

Housewives who pride themselves on superior butter, might well take a suggestion along this line; namely, giving the public what it wants. First, get a mould that will make just a pound brick of butter. Then secure parchment paper and wrap each brick after wetting the paper in cold water. Then if you want to go still farther, get pasteboard cartons holding a pound brick, and on the carton let it be known the kind of butter you are selling and the name of the maker. The whole outfit will cost but two or three dollars, but it will all come back in a month or two.

If you are in shape to make first-class butter and want to sell it for a good price, try this suggestion. Your grocer will be glad to have your consignment so he can sell it out by the pound without handling it. The consumer will be glad to get it without having people handle or muss over it. The first thing you know, you will have quite a reputation for the quality of your product and will have trouble in supplying the demand. If the public is willing to pay for attentions of this kind, you can well afford to go to the extra trouble. Successful salesmen today are those who anticipate and supply the demands of the market."