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Age-old advice:

We mine the Free Press archives for advice that still applies today (...or doesn’t)

The opening program included addresses by Prime Minster R.B. Bennett and W.J. Major, the attorney general and minister of telephones, as well as several musical selections performed by the CKY Orchestra.</p>

The opening program included addresses by Prime Minster R.B. Bennett and W.J. Major, the attorney general and minister of telephones, as well as several musical selections performed by the CKY Orchestra.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/12/2017 (249 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

From Personal Problems by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, published Dec. 1, 1935.

Dear Mrs. Thompson: Please tell me what you think of a young woman who would slap the face of an elderly lady in a public place?

I saw a thing happen in a downtown store today, and could not keep from writing you. I did not know the people concerned and had no part in it but my heart ached for the old lady, who stood there with tears in her eyes like a whipped schoolgirl. I could have knocked the slapper far enough if it was not for the notoriety I would get.

At a time like this, when people are crowding the stores, one has to give and take, but there are a few ugly customers who go into a store with a chip on their shoulders – I should say a block, for they look as if they were ready to tackle anything and anybody. They shove and push and glory in it.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/12/2017 (249 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

From Personal Problems by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, published Dec. 1, 1935.

Dear Mrs. Thompson: Please tell me what you think of a young woman who would slap the face of an elderly lady in a public place?

I saw a thing happen in a downtown store today, and could not keep from writing you. I did not know the people concerned and had no part in it but my heart ached for the old lady, who stood there with tears in her eyes like a whipped schoolgirl. I could have knocked the slapper far enough if it was not for the notoriety I would get. 

At 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 1935, Manitoba launched CKY Winnipeg, with "the largest high-powered transmitter in the Dominion," heralded by a full-page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press.</p>

At 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 1935, Manitoba launched CKY Winnipeg, with "the largest high-powered transmitter in the Dominion," heralded by a full-page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press.

At a time like this, when people are crowding the stores, one has to give and take, but there are a few ugly customers who go into a store with a chip on their shoulders – I should say a block, for they look as if they were ready to tackle anything and anybody.  They shove and push and glory in it.

Don’t you think, Mrs. Thompson, a crowded store is a bad place for people with grouches and a bad liver? Some of them want to walk smash bang into you, and if you just don’t get out of their way, give you the devil. 

I stood for almost half an hour watching that face-slapper shoving and pushing and jostling the public, some of them with heavy parcels, too. But it was not my affair, so I went home disgusted with everything in general.

I only wish I had been someone in authority at the store. I’d have handed her over to the proper quarters in quick time. I hope my letter makes other people watch out for her kind, and hope next time she’ll fall into the hands of somebody able to take her own part.  –Justice

Dear Justice: I have never seen an incident like that you describe, and think that fortunately they are rare. No wonder your blood boiled, but in this case, it would have been a good idea to express your feelings by rushing up to the old lady, offering your sympathy, perhaps taking her off for a cup of tea, rather than spending half an hour watching the culprit.

I find it difficult to believe that even a hard-mouthed horde of bargain-hunters would ignore the whole thing, however. It is true that what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business, but surely someone would have told the woman off, or said a kind word to the old lady.  If you are ever so unfortunate as to see such a thing again, tell a clerk to call for a floorwalker or store detective, give your assistance to the injured party, and offer to be a witness if she lays an assault charge.

Certainly bullies and brutes should be made to pay for their outbursts of temper, and people who cannot control themselves have no business to be at large. Yet I cannot help feeling that a person who would slap an old lady is not entirely sane, and should be pitied rather than blamed.

These women may have a definite mental twist which is chronic. Or they may have a temporary lack of balance due to worry or illness.  Perhaps the woman who did the slapping has such a load to carry at home that she is a t the breaking point.  She came to the store full of bitterness and resentment against her lot, and when she was jostled in the crowd, she struck out blindly and instinctively, as an animal would do. Once the deed was done, she probably felt horribly ashamed of herself, but refused to admit it. By way of bolstering up her morale she kept on with her shopping in an aggressive swaggering manner.  Don’t you see that unless she made herself believe she was as good as the next one, she would go to pieces?

You think of people like her as being strong, savage creatures. In reality, a lot of the blistering in this world is done by people with an inferiority complex. Knowing in their secret souls that they really don’t amount to much in their jobs or rate high with their friends and relations, they try to find compensation by making a show of strength or importance when out in crowds. If they ever faced facts and admitted frankly "I’m a poor weak worm," they would crumple up.  Instead of trying to improve themselves, they manage to keep going by making fierce gestures when they think they can get away with it.

Certainly no sane person who does amount to anything will ever be rude in crowded stores or anywhere else. Important men and women and unfailingly polite, both to clerks and to fellow shoppers,. They don’t need to bolster up their self-esteem by glaring at people who get in their way, by telling salesgirls they are slow and stupid, by pawning over goods for half an hour before they spend ten cents. They may have their share of woes and worries, too, but have strong enough characters to practice self-control.

Shopping rudeness is a dead give-away. But don’t worry about it becoming general. My experience of holiday crowds is that they usually are good-natured and friendly.

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