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Professional "deadbeats."

Professional "deadbeats." image
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"Are yon aovare that many men n Brooklyn livc wholly by their wits?"' asked an ap-town grooor of a irooklyn Eagít reporter. "No? I could name a dozen heads of families who fof yesera liave not bad a dollar which thoy coukl cali their own, but yet they live in brown-stone houses and on the best the land affords. When I say tttat tho class of men I mention l.vo by their wits I don't mean that tliey are ganiblers or sharpers, as the term implies. They are men who, havin'g geen better days and become reduced, tli.nk tliat the world owes tliem a living and mean to get it. 1 have roierence to that class who move yearly, if not oftener, and strike all trftdesmen in their neSgkborhood for aniouuts ranging from $25 to $300. Would jou beiieve that a man could support a faniily of live for six years wholly on credit? l know such a case, and have reason to regret niy acquaintanue wilh the individual to the tune of $200. About a year Rgó there entered my storo a gentlemtth; well dressed, and seetnlng'lj respectable. He bought a small bill of (joods, pftyinr cash, and continued to parchase daily for a week. Finally, one day he said it was a bore to pay each time, and would I allow hini to run a weekly bill? I readily cpnsenked to this arrangement, and, strange to s.-iy. at tlie end of the first week ewrvlli Dg was settled ju'omptly. lam now roming to the interesting part of my .-ton. On semtng in a bill for the groeeries furnished during the second werk 1 was asked f 1 could not let the account run by the month. Again I consenled, to obligc my customei-. I Irave mv business at certain periods of the month entirely in the hands of my cleik, and as he knew I had conáented to run a monthly account with my respeotable customer he thouglit nolhiiig of the fact that that individual had in three weeks ordeied three barrels of flour, and other grocories in propórtion. At tli e end of the month 1 presen led my bill of $200, but was put off froiii t}me to time, and, becoming tired, entered suit torecover the amouut." "You received a verJict, of course?" "Yes, but tho exeeut on was returnad unsatisfied. My customer owned nothing. Kvery stick of furniture in his eleganlly-appointtíd house was in the name of his wife. Two weeks ago I had the pleasureof seeingtwo barrels of my best flour, throe or iour bands of potatoes, and manv other artieles wuicn originnuy ueioneu io rae loaoeu on a truck in front of iny late customer's house. Ho liad neojïected to pay the landlord four months rent and was required to get out. On nqniry I learned that the same aged and respcctable gentleman had fleeced other tradesmen in the vii'inity for amounta somewhat smaller than mine. On pursuing the Lavestigation turther I loarned that my late customi r had moved live times in throc yeare, and had Id't large bilU in each neighborhood in which lie had lived. I have only mentionecl the oase to illnstrate luw systematically the deadbeat, works. " "Is thera no way in which tradesmen can ayoid baing beaten?" was asked. "Yes; but one - the cash system. But still it is itnpossiblo to makë Overyono pay Many of mv old cQStomcrs would bc highly indignant if tlieir lionesty was questiotted and I would lose tho large'r part of my business. O. no; the cash system is impracticable, for 'many roas jus. There are black lists, but when deadbeats cliange tlieir names what is a man todo? Icontend that if a man is thorouglily dishonest lie will have ampie opporUmity to practice his wiles." "Are not many honest customers who pay obliged to suffer for the shortcomings of dcadbeats?" "In a measure, yes. If everybody paid 1 have ao doubt but that groceries would be cheapér. Grocers must make up their bad debts in sorae way, and the honest customer in the end is obliged to su lier."


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat