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How shopping was back in 1888

March 4, 2011

victorian era, fashion, style, etiquette, lifestyle, ladies

As I’ve said before, I am someone who’d feel completely at home if a time warp somehow transported us to the 19th century. For me, pearls, lace, ruffles, tea parties et al are wonderful. The ladies, gentlemen, ball dances, orchestras, the sheer elegance and luxury of the era never fail to impress me. So, to share my love for all that is Victorian with you, here is an excerpt from an etiquette book on how shopping interactions must be.

A Salesman Should:                                                                                                                Be patient, cheerful, and obliging. 

Advise a customer, or assist her in making a choice, if asked to do so.           

Be as polite to a poor customer as to a rich one.

Remember that customers cannot always know just what they want until they have seen the new fabrics of the season, and that a customer has a right to walk through a shop looking at articles for a reasonable length of time, without being compelled to purchase anything.            

A Salesman Should Not:

Be impertinent to customers, or to make remarks upon them in the hearing of other customers.

Advise a customer when he has not been asked to do so.

A Customer Should:

Know beforehand as nearly as possible what she wishes to buy.

Look at articles, and not to buy until another day, to say so in the first instance.

If one wish to see a piece of goods nearer the light, to ask the clerk politely if he cannot bring or send the material to the desired spot.

A Customer Should Not:

(For gentlemen) to try to flirt with saleswomen and annoy them with foolish speeches.

Expect to be allowed to carry valuable dress-goods or other articles to the door of a shop, or to scold and make an outcry because such an unreasonable request is refused.

Did you like reading how things were in the olden times? Would you like to hear more? I’d love to know what you think!

One Comment leave one →
  1. lifewith4cats permalink
    March 5, 2011 8:19 am

    some of these rules could be useful in todays world. If you ever do get to time warp, take me with you… I would Love to go to a ball and waltz on the arm of a gentleman in tails.
    p.s. I recently told a guy (who dresses very smartly) he would look sexy in suspenders. He said NO way! I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said it. He said they are definitly NOT. What do you say? Am I nuts?

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