Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Business Booming Despite War

Sunday Morning Observer, December 23, 1917

Shoppers Crowding Stores Show Tendency To Concentrate On Gifts To Soldiers And Children.

Mariettans are crowding the shops just as in the piping days of peace, though this is the first Christmas with the United States at war since 1864.

Business is actually better than usual, and all indications point to a really lavish celebration of the Yuletide.  Yet the people as a whole are by no means reckless in their expenditures.  There is a tendency to concentrate on the children and the soldiers.

More toys are being sold this year than ever in the history of the Marietta stores. Everybody seems bent on "keeping the kiddies out of the war," and the youngsters are certainly in for a glorious time.

Then, too, all hearts have gone out to the soldiers, not only the boys in France, but the young rookies in the National Army training camps.  Thousands of gifts have been sent to the men of General Pershing's Army, and to the cantonments where the selected service men are learning to fight the Hun.

Besides sweaters, warm flannels, military greatcoats, wrist watches, rubber boots, rubber ponchos, and fur-lined corduroy coats, there have been plenty of miscellaneous gifts sent. Of course tobacco in every form, pins, candy, jams, jellies and marmalade and fruit cakes have been sent by the thousands.

Banjos, ukuleles, phonographs, and other musical instruments have moved out of the shops in a steady stream, headed for the training camps.  Big boxes of books have also been forwarded to the Y.M.C.A., Knights of Columbus and other organizations working to keep the new soldiers amused.

Efforts to send inappropriate gifts have been discouraged by the stores. For instance, few people know that sailors, soldiers, and marines are forbidden to carry umbrellas.  It's true, though. The regulations put a ban on them. So it was necessary to persuade many loving relatives that it would be much better to send Johnny a pipe or a poncho.

They tell a tale in the Army of a young officer who came into the service from civil life, and was appointed to a certain famous regiment. A day or so after he arrived, being off duty that morning, he strolled over to watch guard mount, sheltering himself from a gentle shower under a large umbrella.

Even afterward that regiment was known as the "Umpty-third Umbrellas," instead of by its real designation, and the unfortunate young officer was never allowed to forget the disgrace he had brought upon his fellow officers.

Among the other things to which the general public has been treating itself this year are jewels, furs and pianos.  Of course such articles are really an investment, for the chances are that the cost of all three will go jumping within the next six or eight months.

Christmas shopping began earlier than usual this year.  And the daily volume of business has been increasing steadily, reaching the proportions of a rush last Saturday,  and keeping up the pace this week. The indications are that the final rush will be a record breaker.

No comments: