Monday, August 4, 2014

The Wringer Washer

Today whenever you wash clothes all you have to do is open the washer load up the tub, add the detergent and select the wash setting and let it go and you can go and do something else.

Well before all of this you had wringer washers.

We sold a many wringer washers out of the Mrs. P.Y. Waters Grocery as well in the early days of Waters Bros. Furniture and Appliances.

Whenever we delivered them to the customers they were either trading from one wringer washer or they were trading up from the boiling pot and rub board. It was these customers that had just gotten electricity that were now able to have an electric wringer washer. We explained to the customer how to fill the tub with fresh water and plug it in to their electric socket and turn the washer on and it would wash the clothes for them. You could run the clothes thru the wringers on top of the washer to get the water out of the clothes, but be careful it could catch your fingers and hands thing they were clothes. This is when you had to be quick and hit the reverse on the rollers by twisting the side of the ringers to reverse them. Once the washing was done you dropped down the hose on the side of the washer and let it drain into the yard or a bucket. Once it was drained you could add clean water back into the tub so that you could rinse your clothes. Then use the wringers to ring out the water from the clothes so that you could hang them on the clothes line.

Someone had to stay close to the washer whenever it was running, because they had wheels on the bottom and when ever it was washing they had a tendency to move around on the porch or floor. Some have been know to roll off of the porch.

We loved to use the old lids on trade in wringer washers to sit in to slide down a steep grassy hill in the summer and fall and in the winter we used them as a sled. Some kids would take out the agitator and use it as a megaphone. It worked real well for this because it was cone shaped.

Some people used the wash water from the washer to bath in before throwing the water out. And used the rinse water to water their flowers.

Palmer Waters

Anything But White

For years, whenever you purchased new appliances all that you could get were white appliances. If your walls were white you had a very bland kitchen and the only way you could brighten it up was with accessories.

Well in the late fifties and early sixties we started to get calls for some appliances on other colors. We would relay this information on to the manufacturer and they must have listened to their customers because we got some new colors. The new colors in the late fifties were, Petal Pink, Turquoise Green, Statford Yellow, Cadet Blue, Canary Yellow and Red that were offered to the customers.

We never sold any red that I know of but we sold a few of the pink, but more of the yellow and turquoise. What a difference this made in the kitchen. Cadet Blue proved to be unpopular and so it was discontinued.

In the sixties we had Coppertone, Harvest Gold and  Avocado Green. These were the popular colors for that remainder of the sixties and mid seventies.

In the late 70's the color Bright Poppy Red made another appearance but it didn't last long. In the late seventies to the early eighties new colors arrived on the scene. These colors were, Natural colors that better suited the kitchens of the seventies and the eighties. Harvest Wheat, Onyx Black, Coffee, Fresh Avocado and Almond were introduced with Almond and Harvest Gold definitely taking the lead. The 80’s saw Coppertone and Avocado fade away.

From the pastels of the fifties, the earth tones of the sixties and the off-whites and return the whites in the eighties and ninties, today kitchen designers often choose stainless steel for an efficient utilitarian look or black for sleek sophistication.

White still remains popular and is still the most popular choice among home owners today.

Who would ever thought in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's that they would sell refrigerators with a bumpy texture under the paint. Or even sell them with computers or even tv's.

We have come a long way over the years, and even with all of the choices that are available for the kitchen most still choose white appliances.

Palmer Waters 

Walking Home From School Break

Many days after school I would walk home, but I would stop many days at the store before going on home.

This way I got to spend some "special time" with my dad and get some money for a snack before walking on home.

Every evening whenever I went to the store after school, my dad would ask me how school was that day. Some days he would be sitting at a floor model dinette table with a factory sales representative who was trying to sell him some new merchandise. I believe sometimes he was looking for a way to get out of being hassled to buy more than he wanted to buy from them and by talking to me it broke the tension. I would always take this time to ask for a quarter so I could buy a coke and some candy to eat on my way home.

The Sales Representative would usually give me fifty cents and sometimes a dollar just so he could get back to making a sale. I loved this because I usually got more than my dad would ever give me.

I would take the money and go quickly to Charlie Beard's Grocery just around the corner from the store and get me some candy and a coke and then get a coke for my dad and the Sales Rep. before continuing my walk home.

I guess the moral to this story was: You never know what you'll get until you ask.

Palmer Waters

The Sofa In Question

We had a customer who purchased a naugahyde living room group. It was a beautiful sectional set and it looked great in their living room.

Several months after they purchased the sofa, the lady of the house called and said that she had a problem with the front of the sofa just below the arm. She said that the material was separating and that she was afraid that it would soon tear open.

I went out and looked at the sofa and just like she had said on the phone, the material was separating. It looked like an animal had scratched it but she said that she didn't have a cat or a dog. I said I would call the factory and then get back with her.

When I called the factory and explained the problem they said that they would remake a new sofa and exchange it with the one with the problem. I relayed this to our customer and she was very happy and said that she would wait to hear from us when it came in.

Several weeks later I called her and let her know that her new sofa was in and when would be a convenient time to exchange it and she said, Come out tomorrow before noon. We went the next morning and exchanged it and everyone was happy once again.

About three months later another call from the same customer, with the same problem on the same area on the new sofa. I said that I would call the manufacturer and see what they would do about it this time.

After talking with the manufacturer, I relayed the answer to our customer. The said that they would replace it again, but when they had ran a test on the other sofa they had found animal hairs imbedded in the Naugahyde and that some animal was tearing the material.

We delivered the third sofa to our customer when the third sofa came in. We had the customer sign and agreement where this would be the last sofa that the manufacturer would replace because of the finding of animal fibers.

A few months later my dad was walking down the sidewalk to the bank when he passed our customer and her son walking up the street. On her son's shoulder was a pet monkey. My dad just nodded and said, "Good Morning," as he walked on to the bank.

When he came back to the store he told us about the monkey and we all had a good laugh. Then my dad said, we just didn't ask the right questions.

I think we all learned a lesson that day.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pay Up Or Give It Up

There are many hats that you wear when you work for a family business. Some of the jobs you do are simple and some are complex, but each job has to be completed so that you thrive and prosper.

We went to some of our customers homes and collected their payments on the weekend (Saturday) as well as early morning and evenings. Some customers worked during the day and we made it easier for them to pay by coming to them to collect their payments.

I enjoyed meeting the same customers every month and talking with them. You would hear some amazing stories as well as excuses as to why they didn't have their money.

This was easy compared to repossessing the merchandise when they would get behind several months on their payments.

One particular story is on my mind today;

It was a Monday and my cousin (Doug W.) and I went to this customers house to either get all of the back payments or the merchandise. The ladies car was in the yard near the back door and you could smell lunch cooking on the stove as we walked up to the front door. Doug knocked several times on the door and then hollered is any body home, there was no answer.

Doug looked over at me and said, "would your mother leave the house with the front door open and the screen door unlocked and food cooking on the stove." I laughed and said, "no, but then thought about my mother leaving things on the stove cooking when we went to Sunday service." Then he said, "but it's lunch time and I know someone is at home, so he opened the door and walked over to the sofa that was in the living room and pulled it out from the wall and there was the lady of the house hiding behind it." Then Doug said to her, "Are you just resting, or hiding." Then he turned to me and said, "grab the other end and we will put this on the truck and then get the stove and we can be on our way." I looked at him and said, but she has lunch cooking on the stove." He said, but we have orders to get the sofa and chair and the stove and refrigerator and unless they pay the back payments we will have to take it with us. The lady came up with two of the payments and promised to have the other payment on Friday of that week.

We took the two payments and let her know that we would be back Friday for the other payment or the merchandise, and when we knocked that she needed to answer the door.

I went back on Friday and she had the payment and  also the payment for the next month as well. I was glad that we didn't have to take back their merchandise.

P. Waters