This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
In ordering goods, state very explicitly the amount, kind, quality, color, shape, size, etc., and on what terms wanted. Whether you wish the same sent by freight or express, and what express. Much inconvenience is experienced among business men because of a neglect to designate explicitly what is wanted.
Should the writer wish to make suggestions, ask questions, or add other matter to the letter, which is foreign to the subject, such words should be placed entirely separate from the order. Of fifty or a hundred letters received to-day by the merchant, that one which is mixed up with complaints, enquiries, etc., will probably be laid over till to-morrow, or until time can be spared to read it through. Had the order been explicitly stated, and the suggestions placed elsewhere, the goods would have been forwarded immediately. It is, in fact, better to write the order on a separate sheet from the other matter.
Send your order, also, early enough to give yourself plenty of time in which to receive the goods before they are needed.
Books, being a common article ordered, may be taken as an example showing the importance of giving a careful description of the goods wanted. To illustrate: be explicit in giving name of book, name of author, by whom published, style of binding, price at which it is advertised, etc. Thus, a careless person, ordering of Harper & Brothers a United States History, will say, "Send me a United States History." Of course the first query of the shipping-clerk is, "Whose history?" There are many histories of the United States, published by as many different authors, and the clerk is liable to send the one not wanted; in which case the person ordering is very likely to unjustly blame Harper & Brothers.
If the writer should say, "Send me a copy of Willard's History of the United States, by Emma Willard, published by A. S. Barnes & Co., bound in cloth," there would be no liability to mistake. The following will serve as sample forms:
Rockford, ILL., March 1,18-. Messrs. Jansen, McClurg & Co.,
Chicago, 111. Bear Sirs :
Enclosed find draft for $48.75, for which please send, by American Express,
Tennyson's Poems. Published by Harper & Bros.
Thirty Years in the Harem. " " " "
Literature and Art, by M. Fuller. " Fowler & Wells.
Getting on in the World, Mathews. S. C. Griggs & Co.
Thanking you for the promptitude with which you have filled my orders heretofore, I am,
Form of an Order to a Dry-Goods Merchant.
April 5,18-. Messrs. A. T. Stewart & Co.,
New York. Bear Sirs:
Enclosed find Post Office Order for $25, for which please send, by American Express, the following goods:
Lancaster Table Spreads ($3.50),
prs. Alexandre Kid Gloves ($2.50), No. 6½, Brown, Green, Yellow, Black,
yds. Calico, Brown, with small figure (25c),
" White, " " pink dot"
Linen Handkerchiefs (50c),
prs. Ladies1 Cotton Hose (50c), No. 9,
Mrs. MARY WILSON,
From a Young Man Commencing Business, to a Wholesale House, with Order.
Racine, Wis., Aug. 10, 18 - .
Messrs. Field, Letter & Co.,
Chicago, Ill. Bear Sirs:
Having recently commenced business for myself, with fair prospects of success, I shall be pleased to open an account with your house, and trust it will be to our mutual advantage. Should you think favorably of the matter, you will please fill the accompanying order with the least possible delay, and on your best terms.
For testimonials, I refer you to Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co., of your city, by whom I have been, until recently, employed; but, as this is my first transaction with your house, upon forwarding me an invoice of goods, and deducting your usual discount for cash, I will remit a sight draft on the First National Bank of your city, for the amount, by return mail. Expecting your usual prompt attention, I am, Yours Respectfully,
Chicago, Aug. 12,18 - . Mr. Henry Maynard,
Bear Sir :
We take pleasure in sending this day, by your order, the enclosed invoice of goods, amounting to $1,400, subject to 5 per cent discount for prompt cash.
Your references being entirely satisfactory, we have no hesitation in opening an account and allowing you our best terms. Trusting that the goods, which are shipped by express, will arrive safely and meet your favor, we are,
FIELD, LEITER & CO.
Boston, Mass., Sept. 18,18 - . Chas. H. Williams, Esq.,
Bear Sir :
My partner and myself being desirous of establishing a branch store in the clothing trade, I take the privilege of a friend in asking you to send me the number of clothing stores already in your village, and such other information as may be necessary, concerning the feasibility of establishing our business in your place. An early reply will greatly oblige,
Yours, Very Truly,
WM. B. HOPKINS.
Bennington, Vt., Sept. 20, 18 - .
Mr. Wm. B. Hopkins,
I have taken occasion to enquire in relation to the extent and number of clothing stores in this place, and am happy to inform you that, while that department of trade is very fairly represented, there seems to be a good opening for a first-class store, such as your house would undoubtedly establish.
There is also a large store just vacated, in the center of the village, one of the best locations in the town, which can be had at reasonable rent. Hoping that you may carry out your design of locating here, and trusting that you may realize your expectations, I am,
CHAS. H. WILLIAMS.
Springlake, Mich., Sept. 4, 18 - . Messrs. S. Town & Son,
Having heard much said in praise of your beautiful city, particularly concerning railroad privileges, church and educational advantages, I have concluded to make your town my permanent place of abode, if I can locate myself aright, inasmuch as I have a large family of children to educate, and the numerous lines of railway radiating from your city will afford me the desired accommodations in my traveling agency.