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Hind-Sights or Looking Backward at Swindles (Classic Reprint)

Hind-Sights or Looking Backward at Swindles (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Hind-Sights or Looking Backward at Swindles

The first business transaction that I can remember was the shipment of a fat calf by my own father. With two children in the family for every cow that calf could not be fattened without sacrifice. The price of a fat calf would not go far in the wants of a modern family of our proportion, but to us at that time it seemed like affluence. We had the joy of anticipation to the fullest extent, but the realization never materialized. After long and patient waiting the return came with the information that the calf did not bring enough to pay charges, but under the circumstances no bill was sent for the difference. I believe that the Publisher's Desk was conceived in that experience. Anyway the incident has always been a vivid recollection; and it has served as an inspiration to defend shippers' interests whenever it is possible to do so through The Rural New-Yorker.

It is often impossible to get returns for farmers after the goods or the dollar has passed into the hands of rogues. We sometimes succeed; but we realize better results in exposing the earmarks of fraud so that our people can recognize and avoid them. While we are constantly besieged by schemers plotting to rob us of our produce and our savings, we must remember the great mass of the people are honest, and business men generally give 100 cents value for the dollar. It is the unusual that impress us most. We forget the honest bargain, but remember every time we are "stung." Yet overconfidence is even more dangerous than undeserved suspicion. We are entitled to full and definite details of a business in which we are urged to invest our money; and no honest man will object to furnishing evidence of his identity and financial ability, when applying for credit.

Following the lure of thieves is not fascinating pastime. It would have been a pleasanter task to follow the notable achievements of honest men, and the development of legitimate business; but the fascination of these subjects inspires expression in many places and in numerous ways. We have followed in the wake of disagreeable company, in the hope of throwing light on their operations in time to save a marked victim. We confess to no sympathy with rogues, yet we have not taken up the subject to correct or punish them. Our object is to protect the savings of country people. We have no other purpose.

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