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SHOPPING IN PAEIS.

(BY MHS. JOHN VAN VORST, IN THE "PALL MALL

MAGAZINE.")

There is nothing haphazard about the dis- position of goods in the étalage of tho hum- blest Paris boutiquo Haberdasheis Ilka Charvet pay an Immense salary to the window decorator, who produces -voritable works of art in his harmonious combinations of scaivos and handkerchiefs and hosiery' The large plate-glass reflects each day a new scne.3 varying in hue from the boldness of tho mo- dern impressionists to the soft aesthetic tints of the renaissance palnteis

At the novelty stores, the 'artists,' as they are called, remain lato on Saturday nights, perfecting then exhibitions for Mon- day morning Even such dull and practical supplies as dog biscuit and gai don seeds aro made to pioduce their elfect in tho windows of tho shops where they are sold Somewhat Uko the prestidigitateur who foices cards on a determined victim, the I lench commis per- suades his customers that his will is theirs

This Insinuating skill is. Uko everything else in France, a mater ot tiadltion, handed down from father to son roi business in the Paris houses has been can led on in the samo families for generations Tho smart American, quite tho opposite of his French brothers, has but ono idea to ' get on ' to something bottei than keoping store," to ' boom ' the business by advertising, and When it is successful, to "sell out ' This Intontion takes irom his methods their per- sonal character His idea Is not to cajole a few individuals into forming a faithful cli- entele, but to attract the public at large, Lue great anonymous American public, whose ojes are ever uplifted scanning advertise- ments in search of something new '

After a shoit timo in business, the Ame- rican has either squaudcied his output or made a fortune rho Frenchman meanwhile goes on his quiet way Ho regards his shop as a hearthstone, the centro of his family Very often associated with hin? is his wife perhaps his daughtei-which feminine ele- ment also furthtis tho subtle duperie of too customoi lue woman has hei own especial way of divining the purchaser s deslíes and of urging upon him what ho wants-01 does not

want"

Lven in the largo stores, where the family methods cannot be applied tho personal in- terest of each clerk is enlisted by a system of rolling on conunlslson At the Louvre, the Printemps, tho i rois Quartiers the salesmen and women have a percentage given them on the total amount of trading done by them in a day This piorapts an assiduity which is markedly absent In the manners of the Amer- ican-at times scarcely polite-who work3 on a fixed salary

At tho Bon Marcho tho co-oporatlvo plan has been successfully carried out, tho em- ployees, after a numbei of 3 ears become Btockholdcis Tho foiemen, somo of them, receive as much .wages and revenue includod as two thousand pounds a jear

Theso magasins de nouveautés aro run on a cash basis Each object sold must bo paid for on delivery What the receipts are daily hourly, ono can imagine by considering an item such as this, In the yearly e\pcndltuio of the Bon Marche Fifty t îousand francs every twelve months for string to do up par-

cels!

Just how are the fashions set?

This is a question often put since the Re- public has done away with a Court Manj pretend that the stylos tome from England and are Parisianlsed in the Ruo do la Paix Certain it is that theio is no ono woman in Paris who, like a Queen or an Dmpress, eau take the lead in matters of mode So, in order that there may not bo a discord too disconcerting tho piincipal dressmakers bold half} early mootiugs at which, on general lines, the questions of fulness and length, colour and texture, aro determined tor the coming eeasou

Each house creates its "models," which are shown to the customers desh ing to buy

Tho stealing of models has become an occu- pation Float Germany and Switzerland wo- men, with every appcaianeo of being pros- perous gentlewomen, descend upon the shops in tho Rue de la Paix with no other idea than that of copying tho gowns which they ask to see, quito as though it were tholr in- tention to buy Theso clover "thieves" aie sometimes signalled at the frontier, and provonted from going as fur as Paris

An oven moro tragic form of dishonesty Is that whereby coi tain women (whoso dimin- ished fortunes make It Impossible for them to dress as their positions roquiio that they should) buy at Doucet s or Worth s a model which immediately they pass on to one of tho large stoies, whose directors pay the cost of tho gown in order to keep it a fovv hours as n copy This Insidious form of theft has been moro than once detected amongst women whom tho world would little suspect

Foi tho 'shopper," or Lven the weary slght-seer, afternoon tea, which a few yeurs ago was unknown in Pails, has come to bo a veritable function Iho quantities of cal

rlages lined up before Rnmploiuayor s, tho Rlt¿, or Colombln s, testify to this fact. But while the healthy mondaino can eat without risk the rieh patlsseiie tho lees, the sandwiches, the buns, so temptingly pro paicd, the moio unfortunate who aie vic- tims to dispepsia, or to the dread of In- creasing their avoirdupois, have found caro neccssjiy 'J bo I'aiis shopkeeper, over ready for the caprices of tho fashion, haB met this recent modern demand At Cuvllliers, In the Ruo do la Fait, between five and six, one meets a gioup of ascetics pal taking, at a soit of lady-Ill e bar, of dry port and biscuit . . sugarless mixtures which can com piomlso neither health nor Uguie1

Every Monday morning all tho year round there is a big sale at each of tho depart- ment stores Douutless the dlioctois of these corporations havo discovered that, deep rooted in a womans boul is the lovo of a bargain

How many things at theso sales aro bought merely because they aie cheap' It is im- possible to scan tho lists lu bund ty papers without at ouco cicating a number of ficti- tious needs which only theso advoitlscd bai galns can rnoet

Tho spirit of tho woman hunting bargains Is that of one out to buy ' The Btoro keopor faites full advantage of this fact To the casual obseivor nothing is noticoablo In the displays offered at the stores, oxcopt a general desire to make tho shop look attrac- tive To tell tho truth all la arranged with a dofinlto plan of campaign Near the door one finds the Irresistible articles of wear- ing apparel, such us scarves boas garden hats, embroidered collais, and the like, at a ridiculously low cost And so it goes, if you havo como in search of a useful object, a 'iit chen utensil, a trunk, a bed, or oven house- hold linen 5 ou are led into a thousand temp- tations befoio reaching tho topmost floor, wlioro the prnctlcal articles aio rolegati d And not only are thoy lologated to the top- most etage, but fiud if >ou can, tho lift or the stairway In tho Bon Maroho for oxamplo' Immense as Is this store, occupying an eiitlro block, thore aro hut threo small insignificant exltB and one Btaircaso' Tho unlnltlntod In nocontly mako a complete tour of oach floor, and sometimes redouble their steps, seeking escapo and being led Into new extravagances at every counter they pass

Thus while nominally tho ill st week in rebiiiry is/fmetho glove sale the secoud lor

linen and/tho\ third foi childi ens clothes, there ijsslj, wily intention on the pait of eacn storekeeper-1 to tillie advantage foi his goods in general of tile disposition to buy, created by his announcing in his catalogues a weekly aal* ot bargains I

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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