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Canceled Orders
by [?]

“Do I like cancellations? Well, I guess not!” said a furnishing goods friend, straightening up a little and lighting his cigar as a group of us sat around the radiator after supper one night in the Hoffman House. “I’ll tell you, boys, I’d rather keep company with a hobo, than with a merchant who will place an order and then cancel it without just cause. I can stand it all right if I call on a man for a quarter of a century and don’t sell him a sou, but when I once make a sale, I want it to stick. This selling business isn’t such a snap as most of our employers think. It takes a whole lot of hard knocking; the easy push-over days are all over. When a man lands a good order now it makes the blood rush all over his veins; and when an order it cut out it is like getting separated from a wisdom tooth. Of course you can’t blame a Kansas merchant for going back on his orders in a grasshopper year; but it is the fellow who has half a notion of canceling when he buys and afterwards really does cancel, that I carry a club for.

“Usually a fellow who does this sort of funny work comes to grief. I know I once had the satisfaction of playing even with a smart buyer who canceled on me.

“I was down in California. I was put onto a fellow named Johnson up in Humboldt County, who wanted some plunder in my line–the boys, you know, are pretty good to each other in tipping a good chance off to one another. I couldn’t very well run up to the place–it was a two- day town–so I wrote Johnson to meet me at ‘Frisco at my expense. He came down, bought his bill all right, and I paid him his expense. Luckily, I put a clothing man on and we ‘divied’ the expense. We treated that fellow white as chalk; we gave him a good time–took him to the show and put before him a good spread.

“Do you know that fellow just simply worked us. He wanted to come to ‘Frisco, anyhow, and just thought he’d let me foot the bill. How do I know it? Because he wrote the house canceling the order before he started back home. I figured up how long it would take to get a letter to Chicago and back; and he couldn’t have gone home and written the firm so that I could get the notification as soon as I did unless he wrote the cancellation the very night we took him to the theater. I never had a man do me such dirt. I felt like I’d love to give him just one more swell dinner, and use a stomach pump on him.

“But didn’t I get beautifully even with Brother Johnson!

“The next season, as a drawing card, I had my packer carry on the side, in his name, a greatly advertised line of shoes. It didn’t pay a long commission, but everybody wanted it; and it enabled me to get people into my big towns so that I did not have to beat the brush.

“I had failed to scratch Johnson from my mailing list, so he got a card from my packer–as well as a letter from myself–that if he would meet him in San Francisco his expenses would be paid. He did not know that my packer and myself were really the same man.

“Johnson jumped at the advertised shoe line like a rainbow trout at a ‘royal coachman.’ It’s funny how some merchants get daffy over a little printer’s ink, but it does the work and the man who advertises his goods is the boy who gets the fat envelopes. I’d rather go on the road to-day with a line of shoes made out of soft blotting paper, if they had good things said about them in the magazines and if flaming posters went with them than to try to dish out oak-tanned soles with prime calf uppers at half price and with a good line of palaver. It’s the lad who sticks type that, when you get right down to it, does the biz.