This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Selling goods is something like making a speech. Both depend upon how you begin and how you end. First impressions are always lasting. In your first minute with a customer you give her an impression, not of yourself but of the house, which is liable to determine whether she buys of you or not, and also whether she becomes a customer of the house or a talker against it. If you are indifferent she will detect it before you see her, and the first impression is made before you have uttered a word. At the outset you have to guess what grade of goods she wants, high priced or low priced. Guess low enough. If you do not guess low enough be quick to discover your error and right yourself instantly. It is impertinent to insist on showing goods not wanted; it is delicately polite to get to exactly what is wanted adroitly and on the slightest hint. Do not try to change a buyer's choice except to this extent; always use your knowledge of goods to her advantage if she wavers or indicates a desire for your advice. The worst blunder you can make—the most offensive to her and injurous to the house - is to intimate in as upercilious manner that we do not keep as low a grade of goods as she asks for. Show goods freely to all customers; be painstaking to match samples; be as serviceable as you can be to all, whether buyers or not. In speaking of goods use correct names; say what they are made of, if you have occasion; if you do not know and cannot find out, consult the Dictionary of Dry Goods. Sell nothing on a misunderstanding if you know it exists; make no promises that you have any doubt about the fulfillment of; and having made a promise, do more than your own share toward its fulfillment.
Place three broad strips, say four inches wide, at equal distances apart in front, and four of the same width back, and five back of these, providing there is room. Lay the handkerchiefs flat on the strips, either in quarter or half dozens. Each side is filled in with the goods doubled over arm-brackets. The ceiling should be dressed over wires or rods, as shown in the illustration. The floor should be dressed lightly, with full dozens, with here and there a few fine handkerchiefs folded in four corners and a few pyramids dressed similar to the posts. Particular care must be used in pinning the handkerchiefs to the upright posts. The least uneveness will spoil the entire effect.