Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
RAW METHODS OF HARTMAN
FURNITURE CO. SHOWN UP
People in tightened financial cir
cumstances have only the choice of
two evils as a means of escape the
loan shark or the instalment house.
Both take advantage of a person
who isn't able to fight back. Both
operate in about the same manner.
The system by which the- instal
ment liouse traps its victims is illus
trated in the experience of D. R. Mac
Donell, 1006 Leland avenue, and the
Hartman Furniture Company.
MacDonell, through the press of
circumstances, was driven to the
Hartman store in June, 1912. Mac
Donell is a young man. He had just
been"married' and he took the instal
ment means' of furnishing his little
He selected some furniture. It
came to $350. MacDonell hesitated.
It seemed such an enormous debt for
a young man, just married, to incur.
There was the possibility of sickness,
of lac'x of employment, staring him
But the shrewd clerk who was sell
ing him the furniture knew the in
stalment game. He assured Mac
Donell that the Hartman people were
very sympathetic in time of trouble.
"Don't you read our ad in the daily
papers?" the clerk asked MacDonell.
"That's our boast, when sick or out
of work payments are, suspended."
This reassured MacDonell and he
made the purchase. He paid. $32 down
and agreed to pay $15 a month.
When the furniture arrived at Mac
Donell's flat he found that it was not
the same that he had selected at the
store. It was a load of fixed over
stuff. Many of the pieces had been
scratched and then revarnished.
MacDonell refused to pay for the
junk and insisted on the furniture he
had ordered. The company raved and
threatened, but the man stood firm.
Finally, probably fearing they would
lose a sale, they agreed to take the
stuff back and send what 4he ordered.
For several months MacDonell paid
the instalments promptly. But then
misfortune stepped in and he lost his
job. He soon was oyer $100 in ar
rears. The Hartman Company laid'
back and said nothing.
MacDonell secured another posi
tion. He kept that until he had paid
over $200 on the furniture. Then
another reversal and he found him
self once more out of work.
MacDonell and his wife went to'
Ottawa, Canada, where he secured' a
position. He wired to his mother-in-law
to place the furniture in storage
as he wanted to return to Chicago
in the future and start housekeeping
He then sent a check for $37.50 to
the Hartman Company and a letter in
which he said he would try and clean
up all his arrears the following
But bad luck interfered with Mac
Donell's plans and he was unable to
pay when the next month came
He asked for more time. The Hart
man Company did not answer.
But while the MacDonells remain
ed in Canada the Hartman people got
busy. There had been over $250 paid
on the furniture, but the company
backed its vans up to the storage
house and grabbed the entire lot.
"When the MacDonells returned to
Chicago a short time later they found
their furniture gone and went to
Hartman's and demanded an expla
nation. "Why, you were back in your pay
ments and we 30ld it for $93," was
the answer he received.
"But I only had it a year and paid
over $250 on it," McDonell told
"Well, we sold it," was all they
They refused to say to whom they
had sold it
And MacDonell is out his $250
and has nothing to show for it
List of Christmas gifts received by
Huerta has not as yet been received.