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the part of the workers and no great
change in wages.
Also, Basch gave the commission
the interesting information that
"there are no empty stomachs in
Chicago," a thing those with what
they thought were empty stomachs
doubtless will be glad to learn.
But where Basch got himself all
into a tangle was in trying to explain
how foolish a minimum wage law
"You must take into account the
apprentices and the idle and shift
less," he said. "I am very earnest
now ; very sincere. A minimum wage
law might be good for some, but it
would be bad for the 40 per cent of
employes who are idle and shiftless."
"Hm," said O'Hara, "what do you
do with girls whom you employ and
who prove tb be 'idle and shiftless?' "
"Why, we ah put ginger into
them," said Basch.
"Quite so," said O'Hara, "and how
do you put the 'ginger into them?
I ask because we found one factory
where they put 'ginger' into girl em
ployes by-throwing them on the floor
and things like that."
"Why, we have a school." said
Basch, "which is under our super
intendent and a number of verj
capable women. By precept and ex
ample, we teach the girl. Possibly
the girl is not fitted for work in a
store. We find that out."
The more Basch talked along this
line, the more apparent it became
that no "idle or shiftless" girl was al
lowed to hang around Siegel, Cooper
& Co.'s, and Basch's 40 per cent of
employes dwindled to 0 per cent
"But I can assure ou that the
young girls, are very glad to come
to work for us for carfare or some
thing like that," said Basch. "So
are their mothers. They are very
glad to have their girls learn how to
work with us, and quite satisfied with
Basch then made the rather
Startling statement that $5 a week is
the lowest wage paid any girl in
Siegel, Cooper & Co.'s now.
Ed Lehman, with his too carefully
brushed hair, and too carefully press
ed clothes, and too carefull ytied tie,
sleek and smiling, was even worse
O'Hara asked him if it were nota
fact that the average man who went
to work for The Fair stood little or
no chance of ever rising above $17 a
"Why, no," said Lehmann. "I have
known young fellows who began
with us at $6 a week and who now
are making good money, very good
"Yes, I know there are exceptions,!!
said O'Hara. "But I'm talking about
"Oh, of course, there are men
whose intelligence is too low ever
to be worth any more than $15 a
week or so, men of the lower class,
who really belong to the laboring
class. They haven't got the intelli
gence to be worth more than a small
"I am talking about the average
man," said O'Hara. "You told the
commission a few minutes ago that
the average salary paid your men em
ployes is $17.39 a week. Isn't it true
the average man has no chance for
Lehmann floundered hopelessly.
"Well, you see," he said, at last, "in
a big store everyone can't rise."
"How about a minimum wage,
law ? " asked O'Hara.
Lehmann started the old song and
dance about how a minimum wage
law would be all right if it were na
tional, ljut unfair if only state. Then
he wandered on about how hard it
wasxfor millionaire merchants to
make both ends meet, and what a lot
of money they had to pay for adver
tising. "I don't want to knock the news
papers," said O'Hara, "but I believe
that the best advertisement any
store on State street could get would