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EARLY CLOSING., Issue 8014, 17 September 1889
TO THB EDITOR. Sir,—Mr Braithwaite accuses me in your issue of Wednesday last of being unfaithful to my promise to close at 6.30 p.m. I emphatically deny the allegation, admitting, at the same time, being open one night until 6.45 o'clock, which I could not possibly avoid, having had delivered late in the afternoon a quantity of goods. lam not, and do not profess to be, as self-sacrificing as my friend Mr Braithwaite, otherwise I should have had to leave them out on the street all night. Then, again, two customers came into the shop during the taking in of the goods, and I was only too happy to attend to their requirements. According to Mr Braithwaite, I ought to have ordered them out of my shop. I do not see the meaning of Mr Braithwaite's remarks in reference to clergymen being required, unless he means that myself and countryman mentioned in his letter should be taken in hand and taught the errors of our way, as, strange to say, we two appear to require to be personally named, while the real offenders are merely spoken of as person?. In regard to the question of early closing my experience is certainly a loss. No doubt goods of our description—namely, fancy goods—are much sought after at night, especially by working people, which fact is not to be wondered at, when during the daytime they are otherwise engaged. However, if those employing labpr are really in earnest, the matter could easily be arranged. Why should young girls be kept in shops from early morning until late at night ? Fix the number of hours to be worked, say eight or nine, as the case may be ; it is unjust to keep them twelve and sometimes longer. Those commencing at S a.m. could easily leave at four, and let others supply their places until closing time. At any rate we must, as shopkeepers, study the public convenience. If they wish to buy at night I do not see why we should refuse to serve them. For my part, in future I shall be happy to do so, employing no labor—unfortunately not requiring to do so. If I did I should certainly carry out the suggestion here mentioned and let them away at an early hour.—l am, etc., Lo Keong. Dunedin, September 16.
TO THE EDITOR. Sir, —Your correspondent, Thomas Escott, jumps at the slightest excuse for opening again. Be imputes unworthy motives to me ; but let that pass. The agreement convicts him of a deliberate misstatement I when he says " his signature was obtained through a misrepresentation that ' nearly every shopkeeper had signed the agreement.' " Of the sixty-three who signed hia is the sixth on the list, and the first in his line in George street. He said he would close if everybody near him did; in proof of which the following words, written at the time, appear after his signature: "If J others near me do the same." To show his letter does not square with the facts, I enclose the agreement. Mr Escott says: "I did not think it (early closing) would answer." Then why did he sign ? The fact is he fell into his own trap. Everybody, without exception, was told that unless all in his particular line closed he was absolved from the agreement. Mr Escott felt sure neither Messrs Davey nor Pauli would sign, and thought that this would quash the thing so far as he was concerned. But they did sign, and immediately Mr Escott knew it he said he was sorry he signed—another illustration of "running with the hare and hunting with the hounds."
Mr Escott next shields himself by saying : "Ma Hoon broke the agreement first." Ma Hoon is unfortunately situated. He is more of a draper (and sells a better class of fancy goods) than a toyseller like Mr Escott. Now, the drapers did not close. This put Ma Hoon in a corner, but he promised me to close the fancy goods side of his premises —a difficult matter. I don't know whether he did, but I am sure he would close altogether if the drapers did. It is a scandalous shame thatonehosiershould keep twenty-one other drapers and hosiers open. The best proof that Mr Escott neither intended to carry out his promise nor give the thing a fair trial is that he opened the second night, and when I remonstrated with him upon Mr Pauli's complaint he deliberately said he intended to open and advertise the fact. He conveniently forgot to do the latter. Messrs Pauli and Davey religiously kept the agreement till Mr Escott released them.
The importance of the subject is my excuse for troubling you with personal matters. It is galling to think the thing should fall through when so many favor it. Those who have reopened blame the public, and particularly working men. They say the latter will buy at night. Surely the public will not rest under such a stigma. I again appeal to them not to buy anything whatever from anyDody after 6 30 from "Monday to Friday and ten on Saturdays. This is the way to help the cause. Surely the public do not wish to deprive business people from all family and social intercourse. I ask them to help us to look forward to something better than this. A great social wrong exists, and I appeal to ministers and clergymen of all denominations, to the Tailoresses' Union and similar unions, and even to Parliament to help us to remedy it. A strong pull and a long pull will do it. In reference to Mr Cottrell my manager was told by a gentleman that he opened, and I recorded what I thought was a fact. His denial is sufficient, and I gladly make him the amende honorable.— I am, etc., Joseph Braithwaite. Dunedin, September 14.
EARLY CLOSING., Issue 8014, 17 September 1889
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