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Meade County news. [volume] (Meade, Kan.) 1900-1918, September 05, 1918, Image 7

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85030287/1918-09-05/ed-1/seq-7/

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Millions of Dollars Thrown Away
for Trifles That Ought to
Set Nation Thinking.
Postcard and Cheap Souvenir Take
Big Sum Every Year Billion
pent for Needles Telephone
Call and Telegrams.
It seems Incongruous that In till
rich and wonderful land of ours It
should be necessary to conduct mighty
selling and advertising campaigns in
order to raise money to crush our ene
miescruel and dangerous enemfes
who are bent on throttling the very lib
erty on which our country has been
built. If we really felt the Impulse,
we could raise six or eight billion dol
lars spontaneously and without the
blare of salesmanship and publicity;
and we would do It so easily that Ger
many and her allies would stand
aghast at our overwhelming resources
and purpose.
The trouble Is that even yet we do
not realize the tragedy that Is over
us. The war has not sunk Into the
American consciousness. With a mil
lion or more of our boys In France, and
tho casualty lists coming home every
day, we still lack the pulsating fervor
of Intrepid courage the courage that
wells within one and stirs the soul.
Fighting Impulse Needed.
The one unquestionable evidence of
courage Is the willingness to sacrifice.
A man who sees his child In deadly
peril Is Instantly ready to sacrifice
everything, even his life. It takes no
argument to "sell" to him the need of
courage. He gets It from within. The
fighting Impulse dominates his every
Instinct What we most need In
America today Is fighting impulse.
Once we get It the doom of Germany,
as a mennce to ourselves and to the
world, will be sealed. If we had this
valorous, undaunted determination we
could raise, this coming year, not mere
ly six or eight billion, but as many bil
lion as our country might need. Let
lis search our hearts, therefore, and
discover why It Is that brass-band
methods are needed to sell us Liberty
bonus. It seems all the more Incredi
ble that such should be the case when
the money we are asked to contribute
Is merely money saved for ourselves.
Indeed, we could put through this
fourth Liberty loan without even feel
ing it directly. I am not talking here
about great sacrifices. With merely triv
ial and passing inhibition we can make
this fourth loan a glorious manifesta
tion of Americanism.
Never was there such a nation of
spenders we literally throw money to
the winds. Cash runs out of our pock
ets Into a hundred channels of extrav
agance. Tempted at every turn by
something that appeals to our pleasure
saturated Instincts, we hand out the
' dimes, quarters and dollars. We work
hard, most of us, and we play hard.
Many of us ploy with on amazing
abandon that scarcely reckons the cost.
And we gratify ourselves not only at
plays, but we satisfy our luxury-loving
tendencies and our vanity In many of
the things that enter Into our dully
Let us consider here merely the mil
lions that go for trivial things that do
not count as permanent Investments
either for utility or luxury.
Million Spent for Cards.
For Instance, take our post card
mania. This habit, which perhaps we
would not criticize In times of peace,
, Is almost universal. A dealer esti
mates that 50,000,000 people spend an
average of a dollar a year on the
cheaper kinds of cards, and an addi
tional sum of a hundred million dol
lars on postage. But on the fancy cards
and more expensive sets, sold largely
to tourists, the estimate Is $200,000,000,
In addition to the postage. Including the
cards that are kept by the purchasers,
It Is probable that the total Is half a
billion dollars. Many men have made
fortunes In this business. I know of
one former valentine manufacturer
who retired with a lot of money.
It Is certainly Inconsistent that this
great sum should go for such a
trivial purpose when the nation Is In
volved In this mighty war that calls
for cash everlastingly. Here Is one
expenditure that could be eliminated
almost wholly until the war Is over.
Besides, this amount put Into Liberty
bonds might mean something worth
while to the people themselves.
Then there Is another class of sou
venirs that masquerade as merchan
dise and absorb an astonishing amount
of money. Travelers and tourists es
pecially waste their cash upon these
things, and Immense quantities are
sold to the people everywhere. The
balk of this stuff is useless Junk at
least In war time, when conservation
Is the high need. Why spend our money
these days for fancy baskets, card
trays, wooden claptrap articles, knick
knacks, trinkets, popguns, stuff and
whim whams? The souvenir stores In
Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Coney Is
land, Revere Beach near Boston, Ven
ice near Los Angeles, and similar es
tablishments take more than a hundred
million dollars out of our pockets
every summer. One small town con
cern In Atlantic City sells a hundred
thousand dollars worth, on which the
net profit Is over fifty thousand. There
are factories that turn out this sort
of product la vast quantities, and mucJi
tt It I fraud staff. Wooden articles
are reputed to be Made from trees that
grow on historic spots, but ra really
bogus. Strings of beads are manufac
tured by the mile and sold to the pub
lic as the work of Indians. The same
Is true of moccasins, toy canoes and
the like.
At best the bulk of these goods is
rubbish, and our outgo for this pur
pose might well be cut off entirely dur
ing the war. To do this requires ab
solutely no sacrifice. The people en
gaged in this business will simply have
to do what so many of us have already
done, adjust themselves to war.
Aside from souvenirs, we are wan
ton spenders for actual merchandise
that Is Inferior or worthless. . There is
a great class of people to whom cheap
ness or flashlness appeals, rather than
utility and economy. A dealer In cheap
goods told me that he netted $25,000 a
year from merchandise that was prac
tically worthless. He found it easy to
appeal to the spending Instincts of his
Unnecessary Phone Calls.
Not many of us ever stop to think
f the Immense amount of money that
's spent for unnecessary telephone
calls. Wherever you go the telephone
booths nre occupied, and when you
catch frngments of the conversations
you usually find thein unimportant.
Reginald calls up his best girl to tell
her he still loves her, Maude calls Al
gernon to thank him for the chocolates.
No matter how trivial the occasion,
our first Impulse Is to step Into a tele
phone booth.
If five million people would save one
five-cent call a day It would moan a
total of over ninety million dollars a
year. Doubtless several times this sum
could be waved very easily by the gen
eral public on local and long-distance
calls. We are lavishly extravagant In
the use of the telephone. I know of
business houses that talk several times
a day between New York nnd Chicago,
incurring tolls on each occasion that
run from five to forty dollars or more.
If there Is one thing that the Ameri
cans haven't learned It Is economy of
talk which In these days of war need
might well mean millions of dollars In
Liberty Bonds. The telephone wires'
are heavily overtaxed, anyhow.
Then there Is the telegraph. We
have this habit, too. With a little
planning we could commonly use a-three-cent
stamp lnstend of a ten-word
message. One large wholesale hous
requires all Its traveling men to re
port dally by telegram, an t expendi
ture that might be eliminated. The
telegraph tolls of some of the large In
dustrial and commercial establish
ments are so big that they seem In
credible. The night letter Is, In a measure, a
luxury, at least we could do away
with the social phase of it and
much of the domestic. I hap
pen to know one business man, who.
on his frequent and long absences
from home, gets a night letter from his
wife every morning and sends one each
night. Nor are these messages con
fined to fifty words, but often run sev
eral times that length. Baby had the
colic ; Freddy fell downstairs , and
skinned his knee, Jeannette had her
hair washed. '
I happen to be acquainted also with
with a young man who revels In night
letters to his fiancee. They are real let
ters, too, beginning like this: "Darl
ing Sue I love you more than ever.
I couldn't sleep last night thinking of
you. Do you love me still ? . . ."
A certain business man, the head of
a large concern, goes away at Intervals
to rest for n week or two, but Insists
on having n night letter every morn
ing, nnrratlng the substance of the
previous day's business. These mes
sages run Into hundreds of words every
I would not belittle the night letter:
but In the present stress we need to
curtail whntever part of this expense
may be unnecessary, and loan the
money to the government.
The Taxlcab Mania.
We Americans also have the taxi
cab mania. There Is a very large class
of men and women who ride in cabs
habitually, and let go Immense sums In
the aggregate. They take taxlcabs to
go a few blocks. In a group of twenty
leading cities there nre about four hun
dred thousand of these vehicles, and If
each of them absorbed ten dollars ev
ery day In unnecessary fore? the ng
gregate would be over fourteen million
dollars a year. What would be the
total for the whole United States? It
Is a luxury to Jump Into a cab when
ever ones wants to move about, but
these are stern times and we need to
be more Iron-minded. The boys In
France do not ride In cabs, and the
money we waste on this form of luxury
might better go Into gas masks for
We American men saturate ourselves
with many kinds of soft Indulgences
ns In the barber shops. These places
In the high class hotels, as well as the
better shops outside, take from us Im
mense sums for what? Here Is a
typical list: Shave, '25c; haircut, 50c;
shampoo, 85c ; bay rum, 15c ; face mas
sage, 35c; manicure, 50c; shine, 10c;
tips, 20c; total $2.40. It Is not un
common for men to go through the
whole list, and to pay additional money
.for hair tonics and other fancy frills.
When we analyze this list we find
that the only Item really necessary Is
the haircut and perhaps the shine.
Men can shave themselves at a cost of
two or three cents, and save perhitps
half an hour In time. Our soldier boys
cannot Indulge In these effeminacies.
Many of them, In those good old days
of peace, were In the class that patron
ized these shops, but today they are
made of more Draconian stuff. Why
should we ourselves Indulge In these
costly habits when the nation calls for
cannon to back our troops abroad?
If a million men spend en average of
50 cents a day unnecessarily bret
shops we have a total of $182,500,000.
under the actutl figures, taking lato
consideration all classes of people, la
the less exclusive barber shops one
finds a continual stream of men. of the
moderate salnry class, who Indulge In
the Items I have enumerated. We
might guess the total ought to be at
least half a billion dollars.
To have our shoes shined we spend
nt least $100,000,000 a year and a mil
lion more than the market price for
shoe laces because we wish to avoid
the trouble of putting them In our
selves. Some of this expense undoubt
edly Is necessary, but while the war
lasts we need not be ashamed of any
form of Spartan economy. We can be
tight handed and rigorous with our
nickels and dimes without being open
to the charge of stinginess provided
we use the money for government
needs. We can shine our own shoes
for a tenth of this hundred million dol
lars. There are In New York a number
of men who have grown very wealthy
from the shoe-shlnlng business. Among
them nre some large tenement owners
one reputed to be worth millions.
There are more than fifty thousand
bootblack places In the United States,
some of them employing a dozen or
more men. The mnjority of these
bootblacks are within the fighting age,
at least they ought to be doing some
sort of war service. Instead of shining
shoes while American blood runs so
freely on the other side.
Women Big Wasters.
But when It comes to this kind of
self-pnmperlng women spend far more
money thnn men. Figures secured from
one large department store give some
Interesting sidelights on possible eco
nomies. Its sales of toilet goods lust
year ran about 1.3 per cent of Its total
sales. Thus for every million dollars
In soles Its customers buy $13,000
worth of toilet articles. Apply this
rate to all the stores In the United
States and you have a total of unnum
bered millions. The term toilet goods
Is very elastic," Including both neces
sary and unnecessary articles, but the
conscientious war saver no doubt
would class one-third of these Items as
pnrtly dispensable, such ns perfumery,
certain soaps, powders, rouge, toilet
waters, so-called beauty compounds,
nnd the like.
America's women are highly scent
ed. We live In an atmosphere redol
ent with ambrosia. From almost every
woman one pnsses on the "parade"
streets of the cities there comes .an
aura of roses, or perhops violets. Our
girls demand scents, In Infinite variety,
not only In perfumery Itself, but In
hundreds of products. Merely to grati
fy our sense of olfactory luxury we
spend tens of millions of dollars an
nually. Yet In France the husbands,
brothers and sweethearts of our wom
en and girls are sweating and fighting
In noisome places amid the stench of
disease nnd death. The odors they get
are of gunpowder and blood. Surely
we ran spare some of our perfumery
money In the cause for which we sent
them abroad.
If It were possible to estimate the
money spent by women In New York
alone for hnlrdresslng and beauty cul
ture It would undoubtedly run Into the
tens of millions. One hairdresser In
the metropolitan district states that
within eighteen months, or since Amer
ica entered the war, he hns built up a
business that nets him seven hundred
dollars a month.
A woman proprietor of a so-called
beauty establishment says that fifty
customers bring her a revenue of $30,
000 n year, flint she realized a clear
profit of $20,000 on powders, creams
nnd perfumes, that she sold sets of
cosmetics nt seven hundred dollars
ench. Thousands of women pay fancy
fees for hair wnving,' tinting and
blenching. One concern announces
twelve colors, ranging from blnck to
golden blonde. Much money also goes
for removal of freckles, wrinkles treat
ment, fnce bleaching and so on. The
manicure bill In New York Is enor
mous, and the chiropody outgo large.
These places are furnished In the ut
most luxury. If only we cnld Im
press on women of this class the dread
ful hardships our American youths are
undergoing In the great cause I
The lesson ought to sink home to all
women In America, who In greater or
lesser degree, let their good money go
for such futile vanities.
It Is estimated that a million men
and women throughout the country are
giving to the Turkish baths an aver
uge of a dollar a day. Thus we have
a total of $305,000,000 a year. To this
we can add perhaps half as much tot
massage, attendant fees, special treat"
ment and Incidentals.
Bathing Is commended, but most o!
us, nt least those who have the Turk
ish hath habit, can take our ablutions
at home. The soldiers In Europe don't
have Turkish baths. We Imagine we
need them here. We eat big dinners
and fill ourselves with rheumatic de
posits, poison ourselves by gormandiz
ing. We contract colds because our
systems are too badly clogged to throw
olf the germs. It Is when we are stuf
fed with rich viands and all sorts ol
luxuries that we turn to the Turkish
both for relief. Why not discipline
ourselves during the war and transfer
all these millions of dollars Into the
fund that Is going to beat autocracy
and the German peril?
I have touched on merely a few of
the Items of unnecessary outgo. The
list might be extended Indefinitely. But
there ought to be enough here to set us
thinking, and we can make the ex
tensions ourselves. There Is no use
denying the fact that the people have
not yet put themselves on a war basis
financially. We are still wasting mil
lions on trifles. The war would be
over now If we had taken ourselves In
hand at the beginning.
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The arrival in Vladivostok of the Frontavlks (Russian soldiers who have served at th front and have been dis
charged by the bolshevlkl) to assist the Czocho-Slovuk nruiy to down the bolshevlsts. The crowds give thein an
American military police of the First division escorting the first botch of llun prisoners tuken by the Yan
kees In the Plcardy offensive.
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This Is the famous Hunger Stone
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Tetschen, Germany, which bears on Its face the Inscription : "When you gazo
upon me, then cry." The legend attached to It Is that when- the waters of the
Elbe foil away so the stone Is visible hardships are sure to follow, and In every
Instance since the date of the first Inscription, 1417, the prediction has been
found to be true. This yeor the .waters hove fallen to the lowest level reached
In over five hundred years.
This novel gun Is the French 155-millimeter trench mortar, sometimes
known as an accompaniment gun. It follows the Infantry everywhere. It has
net with great successes along the French front.
Chleflv for roofing automobiles an
Imitation glass that resembles cellu
loid has been Invented In Europe.
Many old-time knitting machines
have been dragged from the garret to
do duty In the present emergency.
Telenhone onerators In Egypt nre re
quired to speak five languages, English,
French, Italian, Greek and Arabic.
Th wases of able British seamen
are now $09 a month and food, as
against $25 before the opening of the
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of the Kibe, near the chain bridge nt
ir if km f irr-iiirirnTir
Bavaria has a suspension brlge with
but one tower, the cables at the other
end being anchored In a high rock bluff.
Doug Johnson of Providence, Ky.,
hod a sow which gave birth to eight
pigs, and not a pig In the Utter has on
It Is said that a pair of night hawks,
which have made the roof of a Bath
(Me.) bank building their summer
home for 30 years, are back again.
To Increase the volume of sound
from a phonograph a Purlslan has In
vented an Instrument that will play
three records simultaneously.
This big mine thrower, or mlne
werfer, as the Germans call It, was
captured from the Huns and Is a part
of the grent war exposition which th
United States 1ms been giving In va
rious parts of the country nnd which
will open In Chicago on September 2,
The "Minnie," as the British hav
rumed the weapon, Is shown In posi
tion with a big Mii'll set in the mu
zle reudy to be thrown Into the enemy
Hysterical Mutism In Ancient Time.
A case of Imagined Inability of
speech, one of the puzzles of today,
Is narrated by Herodutus, who tells
that 'Croesus hod a son who was
In other respects proper enough,
but dumb. When the city was taken,
one of the Persians, not knowing Croe
sus, wus about to kill him. Croe
sus, though he saw hlra approach,
from his present misfortune took no
heed of him, nor did he care about
dying of the blow; but this speech
less son1 of his, when he saw the Per
sian advancing toward him, through
dread nnd anguish burst Into speech
and said: 'Man, kill not Croesus!'
These were the first words he ever
uttered, but from thot time he con
tlnued to speak the remainder of his
Fire Barrage.
Barrage or dam, Is a new word la
the military vernacular specifically
the act of barring by artillery fire.
By exoct measurements a line of guns
Is brought to bear upon a certain ter
rain. The fire creates a complete)
screen of projectiles. Behind It a body
of troops Is safe ; through It no enemy
can advance. By moving barrage line
forward ("creeping" barrage) a detach
ment can advance with a minimum of
casualties. It Is controlled by observ
ers at the front, who find ranges and
direct artillery fire by telephone or
wireless, and It demolishes. In front
of the attacking force, wire entangle
ments, trenches and "pill-boxes.'
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