Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sign me up (but not over $100)

This is doing the rounds of the internet. Interesting stuff, and reminds me, most yearningly, of the old blue-splashy watercolor Dick and Jane illustrations of my childhood (though that was much later, of course).

1934 Montgomery Ward Catalogue

If you convert the prices to pound value at the time the prices are not so cheap.  But more importantly consider the rise in the cost of living in such a short period of time, 78 years is not much in the context of history!

Amazing prices! Check the style of ladies dresses and shoes, but wait, check the order blank at the bottom of the page and see what it says about if you are married and the total is over $100.

1934 Catalog

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"If customer is married and order totals more than $100, both husband and wife must sign, otherwise one signature only is required".

This is automatically interpreted as "oh, if the wife buys anything expensive her hubby has to approve it". But this could go the other way: it does say if "customer" is married, then says "both husband and wife" must sign. The customer might be the husband, after all.

Thus one partner can't go on a wild spending spree (coils of barbed wire, 74-cent shirts, day-old chicks) without the other one knowing about it. A practical arrangement, and probably a necessity during the privation of the 1930s. If we brought it back, it might just reduce the debt that destroys marriages more surely than infidelity.

Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press