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Mail Order Buying - Seven Persons

Seven Persons
Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream

Chapter 19

At one time it seemed that Eaton's, Simpson's and Christie Grant's mail order houses built this settlement. "Look what's in the mail today. It's the Eaton's catalogue. I was hoping it would come soon," said the father. "Were you? I was too. Let's sit down and look at it right away. I want to see the new coats and dresses, and the children's clothing. I sew most of their clothes and without the help of patterns, I need the pictures in the catalogue to guide me," replied his wife.

"I want to look at the men's coats. Can I afford to buy a new one this fall? Then, too, I do need another set of harnesses and I'd like to see if I can get a better buy from the catalogue than from a local store."

The children were excited about the new book too. "Mother, may we have the old catalogue now. We like to cut out the pictures for our play families. Sometimes I can find five dresses to fit one lady. I'd like the Eaton's, and Alice would like the Simpson's."

"I'd like to see the toy section in that there catalogue what comed in the mail. It's like Christmas again to look at all those pretty toys. I want to see the dolls," exclaimed the youngest.

The mail order houses displayed such a variety of home and farm necessities. A few of these were: coats, dresses, hats, shoes, stockings, socks, suits, shirts, underwear, children's wear, beds, bedding, furniture, harnesses, sleighs, buggies, wagons, fur lap robes, foot warmers, nails, tools, dishes, cookware, lumber, shingles, salted fish, prunes, coffee, and books.

Everyone bought from these companies. Homes were completely furnished, families entirely clothed and all paid for before delivery. There was no credit system. When orders were sent in with the required remittance, the goods were shipped immediately, usually without shipping costs and with a guarantee of money to be refunded if the customer was dissatisfied. Even from Winnipeg, the requisition seldom took more than a week to arrive.

When catalogues were of no further use they were taken out to "Mrs. Murphy's" to be used as toilet tissue.

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Mary Tollestrup