March 12, 1902
I have many customers who were unfortunate, inasmuch as they failed to pay up their last year’s accounts, but they are just as welcome in my store as if they didn’t owe me a cent. I have no dislike for the man who fell behind. Of course, I disagree with a man who fell behind on account of lack of diligence, but that does not warrant my disliking him. The man who owes me is the very man whom I like to call on me, not that I want to press him for his account without hunting him up, but that I know by his calling on me that he appreciates the fact that he has bought my goods and used my money and failed to pay it back.
Some people stay away from a store because they owe a little account; I don’t want people to do me that way. That is not right. I want a man to come on and spend his dimes with me if he is bound to have something right then in return for what money he has. Merchants never fell inclined to press a man who comes to see them when he is in debt and when he is out of debt.
If I were to come to you and hire your horse, or buy a bushel of corn, and failed to pay at the time agreed upon, and then never come to see you about it, but ever afterwards went somewhere else to hire a horse and buy corn when I had the money to pay for it, wouldn’t you think I was mistreating you? Of course you would, and I would be. So, come to see me whether you owe me or not; whether you are a regular customer, or whether you never saw me or spent a dime in my store. I am going to make things pleasant and profitable for you.
Awaiting your valued commands, and hoping I may have the pleasure of seeing you regularly this year, I am wishing that the year may unfold many joys and much prosperity for us all.
J. D. Baughman