"150,000 Buyers Storm Army Food Stations",The Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, August 21, 1919

transcription/facsimile newspaper article

150,000 Buyers Storm

Army Food Stations


Even the forty-eight postal substations and eleven department stores engaged in the sale of army food couldn't handle the business yesterday. By evening so many orders for Uncle Sam's food bargains had piled up that those in charge of the sales said it would be impossible to measure the volume of business until the sale was over.

Some confusion was caused by the government's method of releasing two or three products at a time, instead of shipping the entire lot. As a result no one is sure of how much of anything is on hand. In the event that the supply of any of the commodities becomes exhausted money will be refunded to the purchaser. Meantime, orders are being taken on the assurance given by the government of an adequate supply.

Blankets on Sale Today

Blankets will be added to the sales lists today. A sliding scale of prices for them has been arranged by the government and considerable money can be saved by the purchase of large lots.

In order that retailers may not take advantage of this scale and purchase in large quantities, sales forces at all of the distributing stations were instructed to be on the lookout for large buyers.

J. H. Richak, superintendent of the Pilsen substation of the postoffice, yesterday refused to sell food to a half a dozen retailers of the neighborhood, who were attempting to purchase in large quantities. Mr. Richak then notified postal authorities in the federal building, and a watch was set for petty profiteers.

One Store Buys 50,000

More than 50,000 blankets were purchased yesterday by the Boston store and will be sold today at prices lower than those asked for at the distributing stations, the purchaser getting the benefit of the department store's ability to purchase in quantity.

Blankets listed at $5 by the government will be sold at $3.20 at the Boston store, and cotton blankets quoted at $2.50 will be sold at $2.13.

It is estimated that more than 150,000 persons made purchases yesterday. The volume of business has remained the same since the opening of the sale. With the addition of blankets to the sales list today, an overflow of purchasers is expected.

Few Small Orders.

Few small orders were given, most purchases representing $5 or more. Many sales were nearer $500. Most buyers represented several families. In cases where orders ran to several hundred dollars investigation was made before the order was taken. It was usually found that several neighbors had pooled their funds to save trouble. Several large offices followed the same plan for their employes.

Many postoffice buyers had difficulty because they had not acquainted themselves with the conditions of the sale. Gen. Leroy T. Steward, superintendent of mails, asked that the public be requested to obtain order blanks and information from carriers so that mistakes might be eliminated. Orders must be accompanied by payment in full, plus parcel postage. The goods will be available at the carrier station within a week, it is believed.

Sale on Next Week.

The sale of food will be continued until tonight. Then the government will halt it temporarily until inventory can be made.

The Englewood substation did the most business yesterday. All day long queues of waiting customers stood in line, while at the Lincoln Park station less than fifty purchasers appeared. These, however, bought more than 200 cases of canned goods setting a per capita record.