The Drug Book

Aug 5, 2012 by

Here is a really wild little book called THE DRUG BOOK by Charles Austin Bates originally published in 1899.  Contrary to what I first thought this book would be judging from the title, The Drug Book is actually a how-to guide and manual for having a drug store back in 1899!  Here is Mr. Bates’ guidance for advertising special preparations:

Most druggists make a tooth powder, a sarsaparilla, a liniment, or some similar preparations, and try to work up a good local business in them. When customers call for Sozodont, or Ayers’ Sarsaparilla, many druggists smile an engaging smile, and say ‘ ‘ I have a preparation of my own here that ‘s just as good, and — .” Substitution is plain, naked dishonesty. Big concerns spend fortunes in working up a business for their preparations, and other people steal their thunder and get the money that legitimately belongs to them. Substitution, like all other forms of dishonesty, is mighty bad business. It always creates a bad impression. When a man comes into your store and asks for some particular sort of cough medicine, he has thought the matter over and arrived at the conclusion that he wants that cough medicine and nothing else. If you urge him to, he will take your cough medicine — he can’t very well refuse. But he will go away feeling that he didn’t get his money’s worth — that he has had something foisted upon him that he didn’t want and doesn’t need. He will go away nursing a half unconscious hope that your cough medicine will fail to do him any good, so that he will have good and sufficient ground for disliking and distrusting you forevermore. That isn’t just the way you want people to feel toward you, is it ?

The truly wise druggist is he who gives people thoroughly to understand that he never substitutes. A druggist who will try to substitute something else for the preparation his customer calls for, must not complain if people suspect him of substituting in compounding his prescriptions, and that sort of a reputation will kill a druggist quicker and deader than any other one thing. By all means have your own preparations. Have a lot of them, and make them as good as you know how. But advertise them and sell them for what they are. Let each stand on its own bottom — let each sell on its own merits. You can profitably advertise your preparations, and legitimately secure all the business you ought to have, without substitution, and without boosting your article up by running others down. You are right on your own ground. Nobody can really compete with you. If you make a cough syrup, for instance, you can afford to advertise it more in your town than any outsider can advertise his. There ‘s only one profit to be made on your cough syrup, and you get it all. Mr. Outsider has to divide his profit up into two or three parts. Besides, he has only one string to his bow. He has nothing to advertise but his cough syrup. You have your store to advertise. Every time you advertise your cough syrup well, you advertise your store well. Every time you induce somebody to come in and buy cough syrup, you are getting your hooks into a new customer, or getting an opportunity to sell the other things you want to sell. A good proportion of your usual advertising space may be very profitably used in seasonable advertisements of your preparations. Tell all about them, what they are good for, how you know they are good, and why they can’t help being good.

Here are some of the points you should bring out in your advertising. “I make this cough syrup myself. ” I know precisely what goes into every bottle of it. I use none but the very purest, freshest, and most reliable drugs. I make it in small quantities. When you buy it you get it as it ought to be — it hasn’t lost all its virtues by standing around on shelves and in warehouses for months or years. “There isn’t anything theoretical about it. It is the result of long and careful study, and experiment. “It is compounded of just the right proportion of the drugs having just the proper curative qualities. ‘It not only ought to cure — it positively does cure.  I don’t urge its sale just because I make it myself. I recommend it because I am thoroughly convinced that it is the best cough syrup made. ” It has cured many severe cases that would not yield to any other remedy. I confidently advise you to use it because I know it has cured and will cure. “There isn’t any great secret about cough medicines. Any pharmacist knows what the leading cough medicines are made of, and just how they are made. I make what I believe to be a far better cough medicine than any other that ever came to my notice. “

A little bit more of Mr. Bates’ wisdom: “We none of us live so carefully that we never require the aid of drugs and medicines to put us right. It’s a comfort to know where you can get them pure and at proper prices. Plain Talk to Plain People by Plain People.— The plain people are the producers, the bone and muscle, the mainspring of commerce. This year the plain people shake hands with prosperity. Abundant harvests with a ready market, and work for every one, puts money in their pockets ; but good harvests, good markets, will come to naught unless you use discretion in the expenditure of your earnings, unless you use forethought in selecting the merchant you trade with, unless you trade where your money goes farthest. Read the prices ; see the savings. Drugs are like diamonds — in one respect at least : you ‘ve got to trust implicitly in those from whom you buy. We are as scrupulous about our drugs as Tiffany & Co. are about their gems, and our prices are reasonable. Hair — the crown of woman’s glory. Prevent your hair from falling out or getting prematurely gray by using this hair vigor. Aromatic smelling salts. By leaving the stopper out a few minutes the room will be purified, and the air rendered strongly invigorating and refreshing.

“Electric” Headache Powders. — Each powder contains one grain of hydrobromate of caffein, a unison of the active principle of guarana with hydrobromic acid. They are justly prized for nervous headaches, particularly those resulting from great mental work or worry, and from indiscretions in eating or drinking. Brain workers find them of great assistance to them, toning up as they do the nervous centers without being followed by any unpleasant symptoms. Ladies who suffer from depression and exhaustion, generally accompanied by headache or backache, are greatly benefited by their use. They make the head as clear as a bell. “ Enjoy!



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