This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol3", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Almost everyone who goes to market makes out a list of the goods he is taking or sending up, stating the exact quantities of each. This information is generally in a narrow book that fits easily into the breast pocket, and is always ready for use. The goods taken to market are entered on the left-hand side, and the sales are entered on the right-hand side on each market day. The prices recorded vary a good deal even for the same article on the same morning. Those recorded at first are better than those near the close of the market, as it is well known that the best buyers and the best payers are always amongst the earliest customers; whereas the "costers", who come later, are always on the lookout for bargains, and endeavour to get produce as cheaply as possible. They clear up what the trade does not require.
In sending goods to market the grower would do well to check the quantities sent with those recorded in the book, as it is not unknown that some employees engaged to help as salesmen occasionally forget to enter up all the goods taken to market. They are, however, sold in due course, and the cash received may not always find its way to the employer's pocket through some accident or another. Where the grower attends to these details himself he is placing temptation out of the way of others, and at the same time his receipts will be in accordance with the supplies of stuff marketed.
If an employee acts as salesman it should be insisted that he should enter up every item sold, and the price obtained for it, at once in the book. When the market is over, or as soon as possible afterwards, the employer should check and initial the accounts and take the cash received.
Some employers are very lax in this respect with their salesmen. Instead of checking and settling up each day, they leave this important matter till the end of the week, when there is probably insufficient time to attend to matters properly. The salesman very often, instead of paying up the cash actually received day by day, averages the prices obtained during the week, and pays in on that basis. This is one of the most ludicrous and unbusinesslike arrangements any employer could permit. It is a direct encouragement to pilfering and robbery, and, in not a few cases, those who have been foolish enough to allow such a system to prevail have found themselves in the unpleasant predicament of being much worse off financially than their own salesmen. The "average" system once a week for market takings is not in the interests of the employer. It is not unnatural that the lowest prices will be taken each day, and the average of these is what an unscrupulous salesman would unblushingly hand over to his employer.
The market book is of the utmost value to the grower if carefully kept. It shows what goods sell first and best if the items are recorded in rotation, and it gives him a clue to the class of stuff which is mostly in demand. Where these books have been kept for years, they are also of interest to show the difference in prices ruling at one period and another, and also the changes that have taken place in the class of produce sold at the different epochs.