A Look Back at Shopping

   While last Friday was designated as “Buy Nothing Day” by those who feel that Christmas has become too commercialized, today has been identified as “Stay Home Because You’re Well Day.” Neither “holiday” would be appreciated by merchants who depend very heavily on Christmas shoppers to make sure that they are in the black rather than in the red when they balance their books at the end of the year. (Of course, shopping is a year round activity, not just at holiday time)

Jan. 16, 1886—Mrs. Sim Orr, a most excellent lady of Danville, was in town today, spending some of her Christmas cash at local stores.

Feb. 10, 1886—Several leading Hartselle merchants have adopted the plan of cutting off their customers when they fail to settle their bills at the end of each month, and are making it a cardinal rule not to sell them any more goods on credit until they have settled their old bills, many of which were required during the Christmas season. This would keep many people from running into debt and buying many things for the holidays that they could not ever pay for. People who buy for “spot cash” are more provident than those who run their bills on time.

Feb. 25, 1886—People bought more on time during the December Christmas shopping season late last year than they could pay for, and, as a result, now have no money to spend for what they need in the way of clothing during the remaining cold days which are sure to come before spring arrives. This thing you call credit is ruining our country.

Dec. 31, 1897—There are at present 35 stores and shops in Hartselle. Almost all of them experienced a brisk Christmas-related trade.

Sept. 12, 1902–Hartselle merchants are getting in their fall goods and they must be the best ever marketed here. The newspaper writer says, “That fact cannot be doubted when one counts the ladies going shopping.”

December 14, 1903–The mayor and council of Decatur have raised the saloon license from $500 to a $1,000 a year. They have also placed a license of $50 on the sale of morphine and cocaine unless it is purchased on a physician’s prescription. There are now eight saloons in Decatur and two others have made arrangements to open up soon. Many husbands like to escape from having to accompany their wives on Christmas shopping expeditions and find the saloons to be convenient places to hide.

February 7, 1906—A romantic wedding in which objecting parents were cleverly foiled, took place at Moulton, the county seat of Lawrence County, the county which joins this on the west. Yesterday Mr. And Mrs. Taylor M. McMillian came to Decatur to do some shopping and during their absence their daughter, Miss Josie McMillian, eloped to Moulton with her lover, Earl Crow, where they were married. Miss McMillian is only 16 years old, and her parents regarded this as too young to marry.

April 23, 1907–Some of the rural mail carriers from this area are currently shopping for automobiles to carry the mail. This will be a new feature in the mail business of this section of the state, if not the entire state.

May 12, 1919–Zonia Shaneyfelt, who lives with her husband L. A. on Danville Route 2, is the proud owner of a new S. E. Stewart sewing machine purchased in Hartselle today.

July 11, 1919–W. F. Townsend of Hartselle Route 1 purchased a new American Carriage single-harness, rubber-tire vehicle while in town today.

September 25, 1919–Train travelers to Decatur are advised that on arrival they should expect to pay a 7c streetcar fare to get to the shopping district. Children will pay 5c.

May 2, 1919–Beautiful music will be coming from the Hartselle home of J. M. Vest as the result of their purchase today of a new Peerless organ.

May 9, 1923—Alabama liquor dealers and makers have been hard hit by the activities of federal and state enforcement agents recently. It is becoming increasingly difficult to buy moonshine whiskey in any city in the state .

Dec. 26, 1924–Christmas was generally observed here and all stores were closed for the day. Notwithstanding the cold rain all day Wednesday, the streets were crowded with shoppers, and business was reported good.

 

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