the elimination of German competition.) Moreover, he discovers that practically the entire local trade in picks and shovels has been in the hands of two firms, one representing a German manufacturer, the other representing a British manufacturer. The German firm is out of business, but the English house is on the ground and prepared to supply the limited extra demands made on it through the failure of its German rival. Robinson’s representative learns, therefore, what many of our manufacturers are learning, that while the time is ripe for a general campaign of education and promotion, the prospects of securing large immediate results are more remote.
I sometimes wonder whether we are not apt to give too great prominence to so-called international competition and to forget the more active and practical competition of the individual. Is it not, after all, Peter Smith & Company of Liverpool, and the Actiengesellschaft Hans Fleischmann, of Hamburg, that Robinson & Company must consider, with all due references to the possible competition of Jones & Company, whose factory is perhaps just across the street.
“How can I sell in competition with English and German manufacturers when they pay no more for their raw material and less for labor than I do?” said a hosiery manufacturer to me recently. “I give it up,” was my reply, “but a manufacturer in your line, whose factory is not two miles from yours, is doing so.” And when I produced the proof, his only reply was essentially that of the countryman who saw a giraffe for the first time—“They ain’t no such animal.”
Competition is largely a personal matter, and he who wins is not necessarily the one whose goods are the cheapest. Salesmanship, honesty, liberality, courtesy, fair treatment, persistency, compliance with specifications as to packing and shipping, which may at first glance seem trivial and unnecessary, but are often most important, are all great factors, not only in winning trade in foreign markets, but also in keeping it when once won.
|AMERICAN MUNICIPAL PROBLEMS AND THE EUROPEAN WAR|
NATIONAL MUNICIPAL LEAGUE, PHILADELPHIA, PA.
THERE was great uncertainty in August and September of the year 1914 as to the immediate and ultimate effect of the European cataclysm. No one was willing to hazard a guess as to what was going to be the outcome of those events following the outbreak of the war, which unsettled at least for the time the whole machinery of international life. There was a prevalent conviction that the old foundations had been swept away, and there was no assurance as to what were