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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It Cost How Much!! by Linda Broday

Good Morning! Hope everyone is warm and happy and safe.

I think everyone will agree that grocery and dry goods stores are the lifeblood of a town now just as mercantiles were back in the 1800s. I won't say that it's impossible to survive without them because people can, but it's extremely rough. Especially for this girl!!

Every town on the frontier had a mercantile. Not only were they important places in which to buy things, they were a social gathering place. Most had a potbellied stove where people could gather around, get a cup of coffee and talk or play dominoes.

Many of these general stores also doubled as post offices, dental offices, saloons.

In my latest book TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE, Delta Dandridge travels to Battle Creek, Texas to marry rancher Cooper Thorne. But after learning she'd been duped and Cooper has no plans to marry anyone, she gathers her tattered pride and gets a job working in the mercantile. Because returning to Georgia is not an option.

She has much to offer this dying town and its citizens who have become resigned to watching things fall in around them. Delta sets to work in fixing up the dark and gloomy mercantile. Maybe if she can change one building, it will give them hope.

And it does. Folks begin to see the difference she's made and soon they pitch in, determined to put Battle Creek back on the map.

One person. One vision. One goal. One chance to really matter.

Battle Creek becomes her town and she'll fight tooth and nail to save it. It's funny how in saving it, she saves herself.

Of course, Cooper can't help but be attracted to the dynamo in petticoats. It wouldn't be a romance if he wasn't. But she sure makes him crazy as they navigate the twists and turns.

I thought it would be fun to look at some of the prices of items back then.

A Pound of Tea ---  12 cents to $1.00
A Pound of Coffee ---  15 cents to 35 cents
5 Pounds of Flour ---  14 cents
A Pound of Preserved Meat --- 12 cents to 25 cents
5 Pounds of Sugar --- 34 cents
A Dozen Eggs --- 20 cents
A Pound of Butter --- 25 cents
A Pound of Bacon --- 12 cents
A Gallon of Syrup or Molasses --- 40 cents to $1.15
One can of peaches --- 20 cents
500 rounds of cartridges -- $12.00 (roughly $335 today's prices)

I found a historical site that said cowboys often traded one bullet for one shot of whiskey which is why the phrase "a shot of whiskey" came about. That made one bullet worth somewhere around 25 cents (two bits in cowboy jargon) each. Or $6 in today's prices.

Pretty costly. Bet they didn't waste too many.

How often do you go the grocery store or Walmart? Daily, weekly, twice a month? I usually go once a week and average about $65. Of course there's just me. I hate to think what the cost would be for a family of four. Good Lord!

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  1. Now this was very interesting, Linda. First of all, I like the story line you created for Texas Mail Order Bride. I love a heroine who can take pain and disappointment in stride and turn gold out of lead. I must read this story.
    Prices have changed drastically in my own lifetime. I remember when a loaf of bread was 15 cents and a dozen eggs were 10 cents. Gasoline was 30 cents a gallon. But of course, back then, the average week's pay was only $50.
    I spend about the same amount at the grocery store as you do, It seems to buy less and less though. One of the reasons I like gardening is to grow my own vegetables. I like doing it and I don't have to worry about contamination of ecoli or listeria. I'm a fan of Square Foot Gardening.
    I so enjoyed your blog today, Linda.

    1. Hi Sarah! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post and that TMOB intrigues you. Reviewers have all commented on how strong a woman Delta is. She's just not one to sit around moaning and groaning.

      I tell you, prices are really outrageous. I hate having to go to the grocery store and put it off as long as possible. I just returned from a trip after milk and bread plus just a couple of other items and I paid $20. It goes higher and higher each time I go.

      Gardening....I'm going to have to look into that although I don't know where I'll get the time.

      Hope you have a wonderful day!

  2. This is great info Linda. And your new book looks great! I have it on my Kindle and hope to read it soon. :-) Cheers on the new release.

    1. Hi Kristy! Thanks for coming. I'm glad you enjoyed my blog. I thought it was one everyone could relate to. Bet those pioneers wished they could've had a Walmart back in those days. LOL Would've been something to park the covered wagon in the parking lot and load up.

      Thanks for purchasing TMOB! I hope you like the story.

  3. Linda,
    A wonderful post. The ads in newspapers are so fascinating. They are also a good indicator of the economy of a town and what a fun way to see what people thought was important.

    I don't visit the market that often, and don't spend that much. My biggest expense, gluten free.(Sigh)

    Looking forward to reading this story. Best to you on this one. Doris

    1. Hi Doris! Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you liked my post. It's funny but each time I take a trip, I like to stop in the towns and pick up a newspaper. I love to see what they have going on and like you said, what's important to them. It can be very interesting.

      Have a great evening!

  4. Linda,

    In my perfect shopping world, this is my philosophy: If I can't buy it on the Internet, I don't need it.

    In reality, milk, eggs, and bread are not so easily ordered with the click of the BUY button. *grin*

    A round trip excursion to the "city" for me (meaning a Walmart -grrr- or Safeway grocery store) is 100 miles. I don't look forward to shopping, so it's not a treat for me. We do have a local grocery store, but the selections are limited and the products are pricey.

    Thanks for sharing examples of price from back in the "olden days".


  5. Hi Linda. What an interesting post! I love comparing the prices of items with our pricesnow, look at how much bullets cost, so why do all the films show the cowboys shooting off enough bullets to sink a battleship when they cost so much, surely they would be used more sparingly? I shop for myself too and spend around £40.00 a week, ( similar to yours I think) I do grow some of my own food also, but not enough to be self sufficient. I wonder would the mercantile be the place for trappers to take their skins when they came into town? Great post very interesting Thank you, sorry I'm late by the way!

  6. Well golly, I'm late too as I was out of town and now only catching up. But I enjoyed reading about the costs and being able to compare them to when I was a youngster and today. I haven't read your Texas Mail Order Bride as yet, but I'll be ordering as soon as I'm done here. Sounds right up my alley. My first book was a mail order bride and the whole concept just fascinates me. Those women were far braver than I to just pick up from whereever, travel for days or months to go to a new state and marry an unknown someone. YIKES! Got to love all the commotion and hellabalu that goes along with it. Great post and thanks for the info. Wishing you well.