Joseph Maier writes Montgomery Ward

Joseph Maier ordered some supplies from Montgomery Ward & Co. in 1903, as his house had burned down and he was rebuilding and refurnishing it. At the end of November, Mr. Maier wrote the company with a concern.

Aaron Montgomery Ward, the originator of ordering goods by mail, had worked as a traveling salesman in rural areas for several years. Mr. Ward thought he could lower costs by cutting out the middle man and started his mail order business in 1872. Rural customers ordered by mail from a wide variety of merchandise and picked them up at the nearest train station.

Ward’s catalog, known as the Wish Book, offered 10,000 items in 1883. Richard W. Sears offered some serious competition with his first general catalog in 1896. In 1875 Ward had offered a policy of “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.”—

That could be the reason for the letters that Joseph Maier wrote to the Montgomery Ward & Co. in 1903–4.

Joseph Maier, Eldred, to Montgomery Ward & Co., Chicago, Ill.
November 27, 1903
Order no. 19344
Dear Sirs:
I write you these few lines to let you know that the goods arrived safe, with the exception of the Sewing Machine which has not yet arrived at this writing; also the crank to the grindstone was not with the frame. Either you failed to pack same with frame or it got lost on the R.R.

Am very sorry it happened. I also want to remark to you that the freight charged on the grindstone and frame and saw and one box was $1.13 which I think is too much. If you think it is too much, I wish you would try to look this matter up and besides I will have some freight to pay on the machine which will make goods come rather high.

I intend to give you another order later on. By looking into this matter for me you will oblige me very much. Truly yours, Joseph Maier

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