Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, December 29, 2018

A Little Progress

One and one-half hours from the Stringam ranch is the city of Lethbridge, Alberta.
When the Stringams really needed to shop, that was the place to go.
There were tons of great stores . . .
Eaton’s.
Woolworth’s.
Kresge’s.
Hoyt’s.
Woolco.
But, if one wanted a bit of adventure, the best was Progress Clothing.
Progress was our favourite place to shop.
It wasn’t what you would call a ‘high-end’ store.
It catered more to the farmers and ranchers in the area.
The people needing sturdy, serviceable, work apparel.
Tough boots.
Heavy leather gloves.
Progress consisted of a long, open room with thick windows facing the street.
Dangling fluorescent light fixtures.
And huge tables set evenly about the old-wood flooring.
Great piles of clothing were stacked on every available surface.
More or less grouped together according to type and size.
Colours were limited. Most articles were blue, green, black or tan.
But choosing pants, shirts or one of the myriad other items that went with working on a ranch was only the first (and less exciting) part.
The true fun of Progress Clothing began when one was holding one’s prospective purchase.
And a salesman approached.
Because the ‘suggested retail price’ on the tag was just that.
A suggestion.
From there, the haggling commenced.
“How much for these pants?”
“The tag says $7.00.”
“But I’m buying four pairs.”
“Hmm . . . okay, $6.00.”
“Really? That’s the best you can do?”
“Hey, I’m trying to feed my family!”
“And I’m trying to feed mine!”
“Okay. Okay. $5.00. But that’s my last offer.”
“$4.50?”
And so it went. It was . . . fun.
If you were lucky, you would pay half of what the original sticker stated . . .
I hadn’t been to Progress in quite a while.
I had discovered some of the specialty ‘Western’ shops.
With their high-priced ‘stylish’ western clothes.
And I had my own money.
And no encumbrances.
Then, shortly after I was married, my Husby (a newly acquired encumbrance) and I, feeling both the need to be economical and the desire for some adventure, stopped at the great old store.
I found a pair of warm, winter boots.
Practical boots.
My Husby held them up to the salesman. “How much?” he asked.
The salesman stared at him.
“How much?” he repeated.
The salesman leaned forward and touched the tag. “$8.00,” he said.
“Will you take six?” my Husby asked.
The salesman frowned. “The tag says $8.00,” he repeated.
“Oh. So . . . $8.00?”
“Yes.”
“Oh.”
The store and the clothes were the same.
And the prices.
But the important stuff was different.

11 comments:

  1. Sigh.
    Though my partner often bargains in our big stores. And is surprisingly successful. How I wish he could bargain over groceries.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a shame my mother never passed on her bargaining skills to me. Or that Progress Clothing gave it up. It's a lost art - but I work with someone who still bargains in stores, and is successful some of the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Husby taught the kids. Our youngest daughter always asks if this is the best price. And usually gets at least 10% off!

      Delete
  3. I am bad at bargaining because I don't like doing it. I figure I either pay the sticker price or I don't pay anything -- and leave! Take that, all you over-pricers of the world! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I'm in your came, Jenny! Mostly, I don't shop at all! :)

      Delete
  4. I've never been able to haggle any price down from what the ticket states unless there is something wrong with the item, like missing buttons and even then they only knock off a dollar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the same. There has to be something wrong with the item!

      Delete
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