The Company Store

This particular post prompted by ~

My brain having once again been 'running the rabbit trails' of my mind, like an exuberant Beagle out having a great time exploring and following the all the scents and wondering if it will 'trip across' a rabbit. My brain 'tripped across' a big rabbit~ The 'real challenge' was in how to share this exploration with YOU!

Image credit: Bing and Brandywine Beagle Club

MEMORY  ~  My brain had a childhood memory, a vision picture of our village market which was our version of "The Company Store."  It was owned by the family that owned our mill and operated by folks they specifically hired that knew how to run a market, grocery store, general store. I was a little girl. There is much about it all I didn't know and then some things I do know. 

Most of the families had a monthly account with "The Company Store".  To the best of my knowledge they were supposed to pay that account up in full one time each month. If three consecutive months passed with the account not paid in full, that account was switched over to be regularly deducted from their mill paychecks.  "The Company Store" had a "cannot charge" alcohol policy.  I remember this policy applied to beer, frankly I can't remember if the store even had wine. Regarding hard liquor, our state had licensed liquor stores for those products and in our village the liquor store was completely separate, although close to the market. Purchases at that liquor store had to be bought with cash.

I don't remember "The Company Store" policy regarding tobacco products. 

My own Daddy did not have an account with "The Company Store" nor did he even want an account. We lived out of the village, but close by and Daddy had left his mill job behind to work mostly industrial construction jobs in various parts of the state and North into the state above ours. It was quite more dangerous work with incredible pay <---way more money than the mill could pay for the era along with substantial benefits. (Daddy did eventually die in an industrial construction accident. He left his family provided for.  Daddy was hugely missed.) 

Prior to Daddy's death, I have memory of several conversations between him and all his various brother-in-laws (my Uncles by marriage) about this whole "The Company Store" business. The Uncles would moan and groan about how their wives (my Aunties) were 'killing them' with "The Company Store" bill.  It was 'more than they could do' to keep it 'paid up' and 'word' would get out if that bill was sent to the mill office to be paid directly from their paychecks.  In a small town 'confidentiality' at the work place was pretty much non-existent and 'gossip' was the 'norm'. Having your paycheck 'docked' to pay your bill, would be a point of quite some 'humiliation'.

I remember Daddy telling them, if they were going to make ONE purchase on credit to buy a freezer. Make sure all the kids filled their deer tags and get that venison processed and into the freezer.  I remember Daddy telling them while it's a good thing to provide for the family, the running up of "The Company Store" bill is too easy to do and it meant they were living on money they hadn't yet earned. I really think my Daddy recognized it was like putting oneself  into a critter cage on that wheel that endlessly goes around and around. 

ALL of those folks, everyone of them have passed away. Imagine, if they could see how it is now!

Credit cards and credit card debt is a 'societal norm' that has put people not only into that 'critter cage running the wheel endlessly around and around' but has actually picked up that entire cage with the people in it and placed it into a pressure cooking pot.

This is all far worse that what the Uncles ever experienced.  It's put people in financial danger, it's still putting people in financial danger,  it's stressing families out trying to 'keep up' a standard of living that is never actually paid for. 

THIS IS AMERICA ~ yes, I know you have the right to want what you want.
I'm not saying, "You are baaaaad."
I'm saying, "Please think about this, because you may be wanting and buying too much, too fast on credit." 

Does anyone remember the song SIXTEEN TONS as sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford?

"dear St. Peter you know I can't go.... I owe my soul to the company store"

Today's "The Company Store" is plastic and may just be in your wallet or your handbag!

Remember one definition of  "austerity" is "enforced or extreme economy" as it relates to your personal fiscal responsibility. I wish you all  to 'be well' and to 'live well' and to think wisely and smartly about your personal spending. "At all times, THINK before you would make a credit/credit card purchase."

This post actually evolved into two other blog posts:  Austerity Evolution and Austerity Evolution II

You are sure welcome to leave a comment and you can find me @grammakaye on twitter.


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