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Unformatted text preview: or a lot of cheating of various kinds, some of which has persisted as part of
the practice of at least many merchants up to this day. Cheating in weight or quantity led to laws; and there
cannot be any relaxation in these laws, or false scales and measures immediately appear. Cheating in quality
led to adulterations in food stuffs which were veritably poisonous, so that it became necessary for each great
nation to pass stringent laws to prevent very respectable and very rich men from poisoning their customers.
Cheating in fabrics still flourishes and in unsuspected quarters, not always those of the small dealer. And,
misrepresentation flourished in advertising openly and blatantly until very recently. It is true that advertising
has changed its tastes and uses dignified and high-flown language, protesting the abnormally virtuous ideal of
service of the article advertised; but can it be true that the makers of every car believe it to be so remarkable in
performance and appearance?
To the credit of American merchants let it be stated that a widespread improvement has taken place in these
matters, and that on the whole there never was a more unanimous determination to render service as at
present. Yet while the goal of business is profit, and the goal of the buyer is the bargain, so long will there be
a mutual over-reaching that does not fall far short of dishonesty.
There are types that are scrupulously honest in that they will not take a penny of value not obtained in the
orthodox way of buying, trading or earning, who will take advantage of necessity, whose moral code does not
include that fine sense of honor that spurns taking advantage of adversity. These are the real profiteers, and in
the last analysis they add to their dishonesty an essential cruelty, though often they are pillars of the church.
I have dwelt on the dishonest; the types of honest men and women who give full value in work and goods to
all whom they deal with are of course more numerous. The industrial world revolves aroun...
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- Spring '11