As a proof of this, the following experience may be cited of a New Work woman who wished to obtain a domestic employee for general housework. She went to several employment agencies and at the end of a week she had seen four applicants; three were foreigners and spoke English so brokenly that they could never have been left in charge of a telephone. Not one of the four was worth considering after investigating their references, and these were the only women she could find willing to do general housework. Upon the advice of a friend, the perplexed housewife advertised in one of the daily newspapers, but only a few women applied for the position and these were far from being satisfactory. She then inserted another advertisement expressed in the following words: “Wanted: a young woman to help with housework, eight hours a day, six days a week, sleep home. Apply by letter only.”
This last clause was added to prevent any one from applying for the position who could not write English, as it was absolutely necessary that the person engaged to do the housework should be capable of attending correctly to the telephone. On the same day the advertisement appeared, eighty-five applications by letter were received, and twenty more came the following day. All who wrote expressed their willingness to fill the position of a domestic employee and to do anything in the way of housework under the new conditions specified in the advertisement. Only one stated she would do no washing. Many who replied to this advertisement had occupied positions, which according to the present standard, were far superior to housework; many, too, were married women, experienced in all household work, and most anxious to accept a position in a private family, a position that did not break up their own home life.
The housewife was bewildered by the unexpected result of her advertisement: the tables were turned at last. Instead of being one of many looking in vain for a good domestic employee, she found that she had now the advantage of being able to choose from more than a hundred applicants one who would best suit her own peculiar needs.
The same advertisement has been inserted at different times and has always brought the same remarkable result: from one hundred to one hundred and sixty answers each time. It is true that all who present themselves may not be efficient, but efficiency speedily comes to the front when upon it alone depends a desirable position.
Two very important facts came to light through the help of this advertisement; one was to find so many women eager to do housework when it was limited to eight hours a day and six days a week, and the other was to hear that they were willing to board and lodge themselves, as well as work, for the same wages that “servants” are accustomed to receive, although to the latter the housewife invariably gives gratis all food and sleeping accommodations. These two facts alone prove beyond a doubt that by applying business principles to housework all objections to it as a means of earning a livelihood are removed.