Cash And Charge Credits
( Originally Published 1912 )
What if the customer, instead of writing or telephoning to the store to have the driver call and get the goods, should bring the goods back herself to the store and want credit for them? How would you handle that?
Three Ways of Handling Credits
There are three ways of handling these credits.
1. Through a credit desk.
2. Through the floor walker.
3. Through department where purchased.
Under the first way the store must be large enough to have a regular credit desk which is stationed in a convenient and practical part of the store. This desk makes use of two books, one called a "Cash Credit" and the other called "Charge Credit."
The "Cash Credit" book is in duplicate, with six or eight small coupons to the page, or may be used in one single store check similar to a bank check, which serves as an order on the cashier to pay out the money. Of course the person in charge of the credit desk will have the goods taken back to the counter where purchased and the return to stock approved by the head of the department or some-body authorized to make such an approval. In some stores, also, the floor walker in that division countersigns the approval.
The "Charge Credit" book is very much like the cash credit, only that it does not warrant the paying out of money. The credit only serves as an ex-change, which goes to the accounting department, and is deducted from the next monthly bill, providing the goods have been returned in good condition.
Floor Walker's Credit Book
This is the second way of giving credits referred to above. It applies only to cash credits.
When a woman brings back goods which she wishes to return, the floor walker goes with her to the counter where the goods were purchased; the salesman who sold the goods verifies them and the customer. She then signs a credit check which the floor walker makes out. The head of the stock also signs it. Then the floor walker signs it.
Tricks to Defraud
Does the floor walker give this check to the customer for her to go to the cashier and get the money, or does the floor walker himself take it to the cashier's desk? Now that is a very interesting question suggesting several very clever tricks used to de-fraud the store.
The usual practice is for the check to be turned over to the customer, who goes to the cashier's desk and gets the money. But when this practice was first started, some customers found that they could write a figure one before the fifty cents, and get one dollar fifty, instead of fifty cents, or they could write eleven dollars, and get eleven fifty, or if they needed the money very badly they could write twenty-one, or forty-one, and still get the money.
So in some stores the floor walker puts a blind memo on the check which means the amount, just as some price tickets are written with letters which tell their selling price where that price is not written in plain figures.
Amount Written "in Reverse"
In other stores the floor walker uses a double-faced carbon so that when the price is written it gives him a duplicate on the carbon copy in his book, and also writes "in reverse" on the back side of the original check which the customer carries to the cashier.
Many a "green" crook has been caught in this way. She did not think to look on the back of the check before she raised the front. The cashier would flip the check over, hold it before a mirror, and read the correct amount on the back.
Still another way to prevent raising or changing the check in any way is to have cents and dollars printed along the edge, in which the floor walker punches the correct amount with a regular railroad conductor's punch, which he carries for that purpose.
A general plan and a good one is to have whoever writes the Credit Check write the amount out in long hand.
Name Not on Credits
Some stores do not have their name printed on any credit slips used inside the store. They claim that there is no need to have any name on these slips, since such slips need not go out of the store. Some say there is an advantage in not having the name on, because if a customer should drop one of these slips and somebody else picked it up, the finder could not prove that the slip belonged in that store, whereas the loser could very easily go back to the floor walker, explain her dilemma, identify herself and get a duplicate credit made out.
Charge Credit Book Kept in Department
This is the third way of handling credits referred to above. Each department has a triplicating charge credit book. When goods are returned by a charge customer, the head of the department fills out a charge credit check in triplicate. This is signed by the floor walker, by the clerk who makes the sale, and by the head of the department. One check goes to the customer, one check remains in the book, and the third remains with the goods to identify them until they are properly credited in the stock book of that department and receipted for, whereupon that check goes to the main office for accounting.
Mail Order Refunds and Credits
These follow the "Charge Credit Book Kept in Department," outlined above, but are kept in the Mail Order department.
Autographic Register Shipping Forms
The shipping department has a triplicate book or uses the forms prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission and operated in Autographic Registers. The three copies are used as follows : The firm making the shipment sends the original B/L and one carbon copy to the transportation company which signs both, keeps the carbon copy as a shipping order and returns the original B/L to the shipper who retains it. The third copy is used as a memorandum acknowledgment of shipment and is forwarded by the shipper, together with invoice, to the customer.