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Replies by “Betty Diligent” and “Mercator”

As a Nail sticketh fast between the Joinings of the Stones, so doth

Sin stick close between Buying and Selling.

We have received the two following Letters, relating to our Gazette of the 19th past. The first is from a Shopkeeper, and the other from a Merchant.

To the Author of the GAZETTE.


`I am a Shopkeeper in this City, and I suppose am the Person at whom some Reflections are aimed in one of your late Papers. It is an easy Matter for Gentlemen that can write, to say a great deal upon any Subject, and to censure Faults of which perhaps they are as guilty as other People. I cannot help thinking that Paper is wrote with much Partiality, and is a very unfair Representation of Things. Shopkeepers are therein accus’d of Lying, as if they were the only Persons culpable, without the least Notice being taken of the general Lying practis’d by Customers. I am sure ’tis very ordinary at that Price; I have bought much better at such a one’s Shop for less Money; are very common Falsities repeated on this Occasion, almost worn threadbare; but some have even the Confidence to aver, that they have bought cheaper of me; when I know the Price they mention is less than the Goods cost me. In short, they will tell a hundred Lies to undervalue our Goods, and make our Demands appear extravagant: So that the Blame of all the Lying properly belongs to the Customers that come to buy; because if the Shopkeepers strain the Truth a little now and then, they are forc’d to do it in their own Defence. In hopes you will do us Justice in this Affair, I remain,

Your Friend and Servant,
Betty Diligent.

Mr. Gazetteer,

`You have in a late Paper very justly taken Notice of, and censur’d the too common Practice of Lying used by Shopkeepers in selling their Goods; but you have omitted just one half the Story, viz. their Lying when they come to the Stores to buy. I believe they think Lying full as convenient and beneficial in buying their Goods as selling them; for to my Knowledge some of them are most egregiously guilty in this Particular.

I am, Sir, Yours, &c.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 3, 1730