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How to Use
the Readings


Inquiry Question

Historical Context


Reading 1
Reading 2
Reading 3
Document 1



Table of

Determining the Facts

Document 2: Advertisement for the Golden Rule Store, 1908.

[Document 2] with link to higher quality document.

Partial transcript of advertisement

We are at home here. We are here to stay; we like the country—its people; we believe in selling you good dependable goods on a Small Margin of Profit Only. We will supply you with durable and comfortable wearing apparel cheaper than ever before. You will get BIG VALUES for your money at this store. Let competition say what she will. A comparison of values is all we ask. We have grown—Are growing, like no other store in the country. For your own sake we should have your business.

A WORD ABOUT PRICES: Our reputation for good value giving is known throughout the West where are located 12 of our stores, each being a phenomenal business. Our system about which you are familiar consists of buying goods right. With the experience of men of 20 years of successful merchandising to give us, all guess work is eliminated. They Know How to Buy. When to Buy. Where to Buy. We offer you the benefit of their wide experience in selecting Fall Clothes.

Our reputation as a house for giving values has become a national one. Many factories knowing the immense outlet we have are anxious for our business. They know they must give us the Right Price or they cannot expect our business. Our customers know the advantages we enjoy, for every article in our store shows the result of careful and painstaking buying. The people appreciate our efforts as is evidenced in ours being the Busiest Store in this locality.

We absolutely defy any competitor to offer better values than those by quoted by us.

The facts herein stated can not be disputed. There are reasons for everything. Our growth has not been chance. It is the result of an adopted policy of giving more for the money than can be had elsewhere. "Cheap Goods" are dear at any price. Our aim is to sell you Reliable, Staple, Dependable Merchandise at a less price than any other house in the country.

ISN'T RIGHT NOW a time when you simply cannot afford to miss a chance to SAVE.

Questions for Document 2

Study the advertisement and then refer to the partial transcript to answer the following questions.

1. Who did Penney expect to read this ad? What did he mean when he wrote, "You are invited to become a member of our large Golden Rule family." What adjectives can you use to describe this section of the advertisement?

2. What did Penney mean by saying that "cheap goods" are expensive at any price? How did he assure the customer that there were no "cheap goods" at Penney stores?

3. How would you compare Penney's advertisement with contemporary ads?

Document 2 was provided courtesy of the J.C. Penney Archives, Dallas, TX.

* The image on the screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Document 2, but be aware that the file will take about one minute to load with a 28.8K modem.


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