( Originally Published 1924 )
It might be well to say a word here concerning shopping manners, since, after all, they have a certain bearing upon one's efficiency in buying. Clerks are very human. While the reputable stores are improving working conditions by giving to the employees rest-rooms, roof gardens, summer camps, and other means for recreation and happiness, the fact still remains that the clerk's life is very monotonous. A thoughtful person always shows courtesy and consideration to the clerk, even tho the latter seems distraught and stupid. She often expresses her appreciation to one who serves her efficiently.
The shopper's free use of the privilege of having goods sent on approval is increasing the cost of service. Every time you carry home a package, you are decreasing the cost of service and helping the one who serves.
There are a few women whose chief diversion is to shop by "just looking." If the "just looking" without reason or intent to buy consumes the time of the clerk, she may be missing a chance to make a sale, and every sale she makes helps her to her quota—and in many places if she goes over her quota, she gets a bonus. A bonus may mean for her a vacation, a course of lectures, or lessons in music. Merchants are anxious to have goods shown to those who are interested, and no sales-woman will resent such a waste of her time; but if the hour of the day is a busy one, the shopper should be considerately quick in her decisions. If she can not decide within a reasonable time, she should release the clerk and take her own time to "think it over."
HOME-MADE VERSUS READY-MADE
"Shall I wear home-made or ready-to-wear clothing?" is a question that often comes to the mind of those in whose budget economy must rule The points to be considered in comparing the garments made by a tailor or modiste with ready-to-wear apparel are, in the latter, the quality of material, the cost, workmanship, and consideration from an artistic standpoint; also style and general becomingness as well. The factors which should determine whether the garment shall be made or bought are the amount of time one has for sewing and the value of that time, the ability to make or have made garments which are satisfactory, and an appreciation of what is good taste in dress. Whether one can do the work herself or must hire it done, should determine whether ready-to-wear garments are better than home-made, and vice versa.
If one is not certain of the outcome, expensive materials should never be speculated with. It is better to economize, if one must, by making one's summer clothes. Coats and suits are a big risk.
One can always be certain how a ready-to-wear garment is going to appear. There is no gamble. And few women have not had clothes made at home which turned out to be utter failures and, there-fore, poor investments.
When buying ready-to-wear clothing, keep in mind that a beautiful design does not just happen, but may be the result of years of study. The "servant is worthy of his hire," and if one can afford to pay for unusual and beautifully conceived ideas, she will feel that design should be as much valued as fabric and workmanship. If a garment shows the result of skilled labor, a natural accompaniment is a price commensurate with the time spent.