Advertising Requisition Blanks
( Originally Published 1912 )
When a department wishes to advertise, it makes out a requisition blank and sends it to the advertising department, keeping the duplicate of this requisition for its own use. Usually the department head has a talk with the advertising manager and the two work up some kind of special advertising for that department. The department head can make a requisition for a certain amount of advertising to be spent in a week or a month, at the discretion of the advertising manager. The head of department has one of his helpers measure the ad so that when it is charged against him he will he in a position to know that he got what he ordered, and will know what he will have to pay for.
Advertising Form Orders
The Advertising Department usually has a formal order very much like the Merchandise Manager's purchase order referred to in the earlier part of this chapter. This order goes to each newspaper, or other publication, for each insertion, telling just what amount of space is to be used. If there is not a definite record made of this kind, some papers have a very exasperating custom of spreading the space to what they say the copy requires for a good set up. In this way, when the advertising manager orders a 10-inch three-column advertisement, the pa-per may spread it to 14 inches, three column, by using big headlines, displays and leading all of the wording. In that way they gain 12 inches of space on that one advertisement. If the advertising manager has a formal order in, he will let the paper spread the ad all it wants to; but at the end of the month he pays according to his formal orders. In the case cited above, he would get the 42 inches of space but would have to pay only for 30 inches. After the first month such papers would stop spreading. Certain space, such as that occupied by the general talk referring to the general policies of the store, is charged to general expenses.
Variety of Department Store Books
The variety of books required indicates the range of dealings of a modern big store.
The Grocery Book
This sales book is usually larger than the regular sales book in the other departments. This is not peculiar to a department store grocery department. All grocery stores have large books because there is such a long list of items to be written on one sales check.
A record is kept of the boxes, baskets, jugs, cans, etc., in which groceries are delivered and their re-turn watched by means of the Driver's Credit Book referred to on an earlier page of this chapter.
This book usually has four copies. One copy goes to the customer, one copy stays in the book, one copy goes to the office and the fourth copy goes to the warehouse, since most of the goods in the furniture department are only samples, orders being filled from the warehouse.
Rug and Carpet Books
The above two books are very much like the Furniture Book. They are made usually with four copies, because a fourth copy is required as a matter of record in the cutting and making department.
The Carpet Layer's Book
In this the workman keeps his time, the amount of carpet used, the amount of other materials, such as tape, tacks, paper, padding, etc., including car-fare and any other expenses.
Glove Cleaning Book
The glove department also has to have a special book to handle the gloves which are left it to be cleaned and repaired, since most of this work, especially the cleaning, is done outside the store at a regular cleaner's.
The millinery department has a number of special books of its own.
Trimmed Hat Book
The hat department sells a customer a hat. That is one sale. Then the trimming department charges a certain price—that is, makes a certain "Sale" of its trimming which includes material, labor and profit. A customer might be required to pay for the hat but need not be required to pay for the trimming until after the hat was completed.
Memo Charge Book
In this connection many stores have a special sales book for dealing with dressmakers. It is called the "Memo Charge Book."
Dressmakers are constantly buying in such large quantities and are getting either a special discount from most stores, or paying special low prices, that the stores like to keep this business separate from the ordinary sales over the counter. They regard it more as a wholesale trade. A great many of the goods purchased by dressmakers are returned. These Memo Charge Books are worked in much the same manner as the C. O. D. charges referred to elsewhere in this chapter. That is—the Memo Charge is held up for a limited time so that the dressmaker can return all of the goods that she doesn't use, and in that way be actually charged on the ledger with only the goods which she keeps. In other words, it is a charge without an immediate entry of the charge. In some stores anybody who is making a dress, whether she is a regular dress-maker or not, can state that she does not know how much lace, etc., she will require and can take home an extra quantity, returning what she does not use.
A Cleaning and Dyeing Book
This book can be used in the millinery department for the cleaning of hats, trimmings, etc., or it may be used in the dressmaking department, or in the tailoring department. Some stores have several of these books all put under one form, which is called "Department Workroom Book."
Department Workroom or "Piece" Book
Another name for this book is "The Piece Book." This book can be used in the millinery department, dressmaking department, cloak and suit making and sometimes in the jewelry department. Usually, how-ever, the jewelry department has a book known as the "Jewelry Repair Book."
Jewelry Repair Book
This is the same kind of a duplicate book as is used in the smaller stores throughout the country.
The stationery department uses a special book for placing orders for engraving wedding invitations, calling cards, reception and at home cards and fine stationery. This should be a triplicate book so that one copy can go to the customer, one copy stay in the department as a record, and one go to the per-son or firm which does the engraving.
A similar book is used for engraving silverware and jewelry.
This is used for keeping records of goods sent "On Approval." Buying "On Approval" is a privilege that has been so greatly abused that most big stores are trying to cut it out. Those that still continue the practice of course require a manifold book which will give them an accurate follow-up of customers who order in this way.
"P. M." Books
If certain goods in a department do not sell well, the manager has three distinct courses open to him. He can advertise them, and of course the cost of that advertising will be charged against him, and he will charge it against those goods. Second, he can sell the goods by displaying some signs in the department regarding them. Or, he can give the salesmen a commission for selling those goods. This commission is known generally as a "P. M." In some places as a "Spiff." All three of these ways are virtually a cutting of the price. They are artificial means used for moving slow goods. The "P. M." method allows clerks to make more money and may work both ways. It may induce the clerks to hold back on salable goods until they are "P. M.'d," or it may make them so interested in the whole department by reason of the extra money that they make that they are better clerks in every way. Whether this works as a good or evil depends upon the particular skill with which the head of department operates it.
Restaurant Check Systems
Some stores do a very large business in their restaurants. They run them so well that they draw not only the trade of the women shoppers in the store, but the men as well in their locality. These restaurant check systems are similar to the Tell-Tale, Cafeteria, and others, described in the chapter en-titled "Hotels, Cafes and Restaurants."
Soda Check Pads
Since so many of the department stores have soda fountains, they run them in ways that have proven to be the most economical and expeditious. For this purpose they use various forms of "continuous" or "perpetual" or "block and stub" checks.
There is still a different class of books in quite a large variety, used in every big store. They have to do with the management of the store itself. For example, in a store employing five, six or eight thousand people, there is an endless string of employees coming and going all the time. Take up a daily newspaper and see the number of "Help Wanted" ads for the various departments of a big store.
Application for Position Book
First of all comes a book for keeping record of all applications for positions. Each store has its own idea of the information which it wants. When an applicant has been passed upon favorably—that is, has been hired—she steps over the line into another class. She is then an actual employee.
Employees' Record Book
As to an employee the store must keep her full name and address and all of the other information which it deems necessary. It is very important that a store knows all about each employee, particularly where she lives and with whom. Such information may be useful in case of accident, or for the use of the store detective.
Employees' Instruction Books
In an organization as complicated as a big store, how could you expect any employee to even "turn around" without doing the wrong thing? You couldn't. Hence, every big store has a printed book entitled "INSTRUCTIONS TO EMPLOYEES." This book tells the employees about the entrance, exits, opening time, lunch time, closing hours and where to keep their hats and wraps; how to notify the timekeeper of change of address, how to make their own purchases, how to handle their own pack-ages, what to do when they lose or find anything, in-formation regarding fines, their personal mail, their behavior toward other employees, their personal appearance and conduct, their dress or costume, visits from outside friends. Such a book also gives general instruction regarding transferring employees from one department to another, about selling goods, stock keeping, the privilege of returning goods, how to speak to customers, how to act toward customers, what to do when goods are not in stock, what promises to make and what promises not to make. How to handle money, sales books, transfers, etc. What to do in case of errors. How to receive complaints. How deliveries are made. How to make a personal complaint to the head of the store if treated unjustly by a superior. Various stores include other instructions which they think will be helpful to employees.
Advertising to Employees
A new idea is now coming into vogue with certain stores. They are addressing bulletins or announcements regularly to their employees at the employee's home address with a view to enthusing them in regard to coming events in the store. This is a form of advertising to their own employees for the purpose of getting their employees to talking to their own friends and thus start the ball a-rolling through the five or six thousand "living" advertisements. This is not a new idea but one susceptible of great possibilities. Some of the most successful automobile concerns have made enormous successes by constantly issuing instructive and inspiring bulletins to owners of their own cars. Bulletins to employees also serve to make the employees buy the goods themselves. One dollar is as good as another, whether it belongs to a cash girl, a cashier or a customer with millions of cash.
Salary Check Books
Of course, there must be a system for keeping an accurate record of the salary or wages due each employee on each pay day. This book records the hours absent, times late, fines imposed, the rate due per week, the total amount due, and a voucher or ticket, to be torn off, stating the amount due. This ticket can be handed to the regular salary paying cashier and the money drawn.
Salary Deduction Book
Where there are so many different kinds and grades of employees, all in one establishment, there are different practices pertaining to each class. A salary deduction book is not used the same as the change of salary book. It is used for indicating to the paying cashier or to the department which keeps charge of the salary check book, that a certain employee, for example, has made certain purchases in the store which are to be deducted from the salary on pay day. It may seem like an extra expense to the store to have to use a book of this kind, but the stores know by experience that if they did not allow their employees to buy in advance, but made them wait until they got the money, that their employees might take that money and go into some other store and make their purchases. They are willing to let the employees buy in advance up to the full limit of their salaries due at the time of the buying. Some stores even go so far as to give them time off, during slack hours, and allow a special employees' discount, so that they can spend their money which they have not yet drawn.
One of the things which every big store is most careful about, is the employees that stay after hours, or return to the store in the evening. The entrance door is guarded like the door of a money vault.
Night Work Book
For this purpose there is a night work book which the superintendent must sign, giving the name or number of the person who is going to work over-time and the department in which he or she must work. Of course, that person would not be admitted to any other part of the store. This check will be signed by the head of the department, stating the amount of overtime and will be used as a salary voucher.
Employee's Pass Book
This book is used for just the opposite of the night-work book or overtime book. When anybody wants to go home early for any cause, she must have a pass before she can leave the store. This pass indicates the time that she leaves and the carbon copy in the office will indicate the amount of salary deduction to be made.
Cashier's Report Book
The handling of the money is a very exacting feature in every big store. Each cashier has a duplicate report book in which she makes a full report of her day's receipts. She keeps the carbon copy. The original goes with her receipts to the main office.
Cashier's Receipt Book
Each cashier, also, who is entitled to receive money on account, either in check or cash, has a receipt book for use in giving a receipt to the customer, which receipt acts as a check upon herself. One carbon copy goes to the auditing department and one stays with the cashier.
Remittance Voucher Book
The main office has a duplicate remittance voucher book for sending with each check to show the goods or the things for which the check is sent in payment. Some stores simply write a letter keeping a carbon copy of the letter, but other stores prefer to have all such payments kept together in a duplicating book.
These are two kinds. One is for use at the telephone for reporting complaints, and is called a "Telephone Complaint Book"; the other is for use in each department so that when a customer makes a complaint to a clerk or to a head of department, he can make a record of that complaint and send it to the Bureau of Adjustment, or the Complaint Department may hold this book and make its own en-tries, giving a history of the case. This is called a "General Complaint Book."
Credit Record Book
In the credit department, which of course is in the main office, a book is kept for keeping a record of each new application for credit. This book tells as much as possible about each application, what reference she gives in the way of other stores, where her husband or father is employed, bank references, and any other information that is useful and can be obtained.
Tracing a Missing Check
There are two very interesting books which are frequently accompanied by tears and hysterics. One is a book used for tracing missing checks, the other is a book for tracing lost goods.
In tracing a missing check, this is the usual procedure:
First, the tracer looks up the clerk's record card taken from the clerk's sales-check book.
Second, the tracer looks up the date, time of day and the character of the sale.
Third, the tracer consults the clerk who made the sale; then the wrapper who wrapped up the pack-age, then the delivery department, the cashier, the C. 0. D. clerk, and if necessary the charge office.
Of course, as soon as the tracer strikes the trail of the check, she then follows that trail until she finds the check. She might find it in any one of the places mentioned above. The main thing is to find it, be-cause the books cannot be balanced as long as there is a sales check missing.
Tracing Lost Goods
The second book mentioned above is used for tracing lost goods in the store. When the goods have been properly identified, a check or voucher is then issued from this book to the owner, showing that she is entitled to the goods.
Auditing the Big Store's Business
Now that you have sold the goods and delivered them, and credited some of them back to stock and found missing checks, and deducted certain purchases from employees' salaries, and transferred other employees, and given all the clerks the printed instructions, and issued passes for some to work at night, and straightened out your "P. M." system, and filled all of your applications for positions, and issued your piece-work and repair-work books, and gotten a nice line of requisition pads, and handled all of your marked down books and hold books and want books and mail orders, and transfers, who on earth straightens them all out and keeps them straight?