[Illustration: Cooking class at Benson Polytechnic School for Girls, Portland, Oregon. In spite of the statement that foods will be prepared in the public utility plants, the trained, accurate worker may find a ready sale for home-cooked foods]
Not all girls, on the other hand, who have taken the domestic science course are fitted to take up this work, even if a market could be found for their work. Only the expert, that is, the precise, accurate, painstaking cook, can secure uniform results day after day. Only the rapid worker can do enough to insure pay for her time. Only the girl with a keen sense of taste can properly judge results and devise successful combinations. Only a business woman can buy to advantage and compute ratios of expense and return. This combination, of course, is not to be found every day.
THE DISTRIBUTING GROUP
Salesmanship. Passing from the class of work which has to do with making things to that group of occupations which has to do with the distribution of various products to the consumer, we shall naturally consider, first of all, the saleswoman. In any given group of young and untrained girls drawn as in our schools from varying environment and heredity, the natural saleswomen will probably be in the minority. I do not mean that girls may not often express a desire to “work in a store” as apparently the easiest and most immediate employment for the untrained girl. This may or may not indicate that the girl has a commercial mind. The girl who is really interested in commercial undertakings is easily distinguished from her fellow workers in any salesroom. She is not the girl who lingers in conversation with the girl next to her while a customer waits, or who gazes indifferently over the customer’s head while the latter makes her choice from the goods laid before her. To the real saleswoman every customer is a possibility, every sale a victory, and every failure to sell distinctly a defeat. The fact that we see so few girls and women of this type behind the counters in our shopping centers is sufficient indication that many girls would have been better placed in other occupations.
[Illustration: Photograph by Brown Bros. Hardware section of a department store. Salesmanship offers large opportunities to the real saleswoman, who considers every customer a possibility]
We find, however, in 1910, the number of saleswomen reported as 257,720, together with 111,594 “clerks” in stores, many of whom the report states are “evidently saleswomen” under another name. There are also about 4,000 female proprietors, officials, managers, and floorwalkers in stores, and 2,000 commercial travelers. This gives us a large number of women who are engaged in the sale of goods. For the girl of the commercial mind, salesmanship in some form presents certain possibilities, although there is far less chance for her to rise