Sunday, November 28, 2010

1900 - A Man Out Shopping

To the Editor of The New York Times:

For the first time in many years I have had imposed upon me the responsibility of Christmas shopping, and which I regret to say has proved to be anything but complimentary to the women of this city. A more brazen, impudent, uncouth, ill-bred, and indecent specimen of womanhood has never before been on public exhibition, than those I came in contact with at ----'s. In walking from one department to another, I was pushed, shoved, and knocked about like a rubber ball, being nearly thrown upon the floor on one occasion and trampled upon. At the elevator I tried Chesterfieldian mannerisms by waiting until three elevators had filled, and then on trying to get on to the fourth, the rush act was tried, and when I stood my ground I was assailed by a storm of uncomplimentary epithets. At one department one of these impudent vixens actually snatched a piece of goods out of my hands, and then proceeded to knock me away from the counter by punches in the ribs with her elbow under full swing from a pair of big shoulders.

At No. 2 there was simply a mob of women pulling, hauling, and crowding, affording just the kind of opportunity sought by thieves and pickpockets. My watch was touched twice in going half way through the ground floor. On the ---- Street entrance the mod was even worse, making pedestrianism impossible. The only policeman in sight was one on the avenue at the crossing helping to swell the mob. Pickpockets and thieves had their own way. It occurred to me as well as to many others, whose expressions were public, that if the Captain of the police of this precinct was in the recent shake-up it would be well for the Chief to make another shake and get rid of him.

At No. 3, the crowd was largely from the country, consequently it was more orderly and decent, but at No. 4 it was similar to that at ----'s, besides some of the clerks showed more impudence than a grass-fed mule.

This experience, however, is well worth the expense and discomfort attending it, for it fairly demonstrated that a man has no rights which a woman respects in a department store, and therefore hereafter he cannot be expect to make Christmas presents. The only unfortunate coincidence in connection with it is that it has established a fact that the women of this city, for brazen effrontery, selfishness, and bad manners, are simply matchless and without a peer in any other of the cities of the world.

It would be well for the Committee of Fifteen, after reforming the slums, to extend their philanthropic movement to the higher classes and reform some of these women until they understand the common amenities due to the public, and especially in department stores.


The New York Times
New York, New York
December 22, 1900