Every city in the country had at least
one store that was known as the "5 & 10". Originally
these store advertised, "Nothing Over 10¢." As you
may surmise it has been many years since this advertisement was
true. In the 30's it would be safe to say that the most expensive
items reached the $1.00 limit.
The "5 & 10" carried a multitude of various items,
some similar items could be found in each store. There was a sewing
goods section for the women along with cosmetics, housewares, notions,
jewelry, inexpensive clothing items and usually a counter that held
nothing but hair goods.
The men that shopped in the "5 & 10" usually went
to a counter selling hardware, electrical supplies, ties or the
stationary counter. There was always a candy and a cookie counter
and in the larger stores a fountain.
In addition to the large stores like F. W. Woolworth and S. S.
Kresge stores there were many smaller chains and independents that
went into neighborhoods where the larger stores did not.
The "5 & 10" was an excellent place to go to pass
the time away. One could walk up and down the aisles and look at
the myriad of items that were for sale. A good inspection could
take a half an hour.
If a sudden rain came up in the "downtown" sectional
the "5 & 10s" would be crowded.
Each counter in each store had at least one clerk behind the counter.
Some counters that did more business might have two, or three clerks
During my many visits to a "5 & 10" in the 30's
I can never recall seeing a man serving behind a counter. Men exclusively
held the position of Manager, or Asst. Manager. I guess no laws
were violated in those days. Today I imagine that any policy of
that sort would result in a never ending stream of lawsuits.