On That Date. No. 1

The job of selling farm products, wrote an analyst for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has become a matter of “art and psychology” because Americans, increasingly city born and raised, know nothing about “the origin and real character of food and food products . . . .”

These days, consumers are “especially susceptible to suggestion; they are governed largely by appearances in their selection of farm products and are easily deceived by the trick of a false name or a false ingredient in a prepared food.”

Slap the word “Canada” on a package of lamb, for example, and a butcher can earn “2 cents more per pound for it,” paid out by “customers who act under the delusion that they are getting something unusual for their money. In certainly 95 per cent of the cases they are getting plain domestic ‘lamb,’ and about 50 times out of 100 are not getting lamb at all, but mere mutton.’ (423) So, too, sausage makers: slap the words “country sausage” on the package, and customers will pay more. (423) “The fictions seem to sell the product, and the eating public appears to be satisfied.”(423)

“Farmers should learn [these] whims and fancies of the markets . . . . By so doing the highest prices and the largest profits may be obtained.” (433)

________________________

“Consumers’ Fancies,” by George K. Holmes, from U.S. Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 1904, pp. 423, 433.

COMMENT

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s