Richard Savage with his bright scarlet coat and torn boots is a picture we seldom see now literally. But substantially, the streets of our cities abound in just such reckless incongruity. Many a man drinks and smokes the money he owes other people. Many a woman will put up with a shabby home to avoid a shabby wardrobe. All these evidences of maladmin istration are symptoms of trying to keep up some appearance by concealing others. The man whose foolish pride buys an automobile at the cost of a chattel mortgage, sports the machine in the eyes of his neighbors but he hides the mortgage for a while. His friends may envy him the luxury of a car, but he feels no comfort when he stops seriously to consider that its cost is reckoned in the terms of the family furniture.
A man can be sent to prison for the wrong use of the funds of other people, but he can misappropriate his own funds in countless ways, and escape the law of the land.
But he does not escape the law of retribu tive justice. This generally catches him when he is not expecting it, and it grips hard and unrelentingly.
Waste is an insidious disease. It creeps not only into the daily run of money, but into business and all that concerns it.
A well-known business agency makes the statement that the majority of failures are due not to hard times, competitive conditions, or the general state of trade, but to the men them selves who run the business.
A merchant to whom this statement was submitted said this : It is probably true that most business fail ures lie at the door of the men themselves. In my experience, he continued, the com mon causes of failure are these : First, on starting a new business the founder does not look far enough ahead. The consequence is he runs out of money almost as soon as he begins. It is easy to get a new business under way, hard to keep it going until it is es tablished.
Next : The man himself must not be a general supervisor alone, but this and a hard worker as well. He must positively know every detail of all operations that go toward bringing in money.
The young man going into business for him self must be an economist. And in two ways. Not only must every operation of his work be performed at the lowest possible cost, but he must be willing HIMSELF to economize in his private affairs. The non-observance of this single rule has bankrupted many a good beginning. Then again, let the young man go ing into business for himself keep his mind forever intent on his health, his credit, his reliability and his word.
Health undermined by foolish habits kills industry.
Credit is established on character—let him build character as hard as he tries to build business.
Reliability means promptness, satisfaction to the customer, honest product and fair price.
A man's word when it is not equivalent to a signed bond, is a house built on sand instead of on a rock.
The newspapers have done and are con tinuing to do a great service in warning the public of fake investments. No one knows how many people have bought building lots in swamps full of alligators; or shares in mines located two thousand miles away, mere holes in the ground, as Mark Twain has said, that are owned by a liar.
There is no distance that lends more en chantment than that of an investment far away. They are always far away, always offered to people who cannot afford to inves tigate them, always expensively advertised and always full of promises that are entertaining to read. Never buy, says a writer, what you cannot see or investigate, particularly lands and mining stock. There is plenty of good land and some good mines, but they are never advertised by a man who walks the streets with a bell; nor by the man who assures you that he is "letting you in on this as a personal favor." The chances are he is letting you in on a big and sorrowful surprise.
This is one form of Waste that is unlaw ful in the eyes of both State and Federal governments. The law punishes men who receive money under false pretences, but it cannot get the money back for you.