Scholla: These Dumb Dutch

These Dumb Dutch

The agents of the OPA are to be commended for their zeal in trying to enforce the various rationing restrictions fixed by the administration. But in all cases zeal should be tempered with judgment and human understanding. We wonder who was really at fault in the following altercation which took place in a farmer’s market in Germantown, Philadelphia.

A Pennsylvania Dutch farmer’s wife was selling bottles of homemade catsup. An agent of the OPA approached her stand and said, officiously:

“You can’t sell that catsup; it’s frozen.”

The farmer’s wife was puzzled a bit, probably remarking of herself:

“The big city has many queer people in it.” At any rate she went right on selling the bottles of catsup.

Sure She can Sell it

After a few hours the agent returned to her stand:

“I told you once before that you can’t sell that stuff,” he bellowed.

“Sure I can,” replied the saleswoman. “I can sell a lot of it. It is good. People are glad to buy it. It ain’t hard to sell.”

“I don’t mean it that way” stormed the agent while crowds collected. “That stuff is frozen.”

The poor woman was confused. The gathering crowds embarrassed her; but her wits came to her rescue. Taking a bottle of catsup from the shelf she handed it to the agent:

“No, mister. It ain’t frozen. Here feel it yourself. It ain’t even cold.”

What is Justice?

A creamery man in Lehigh County was selling butter at a price higher than the ceiling price. One of the law enforcers burst into his shop and demanded that he stop the proceedings. The Dutchman continued to sell his butter, explaining that it was the best butter in the world. Later he proved that his margin of profit was far less than he could have realized by selling inferior butter below the ceiling price. What does justice call for in this instance?

Cite Shillington Incident

The magazine “Business” in its December 1943, issue, calls attention to an incident which took place in the Shilliington Market, Berks Coutny, Pennsylvania. Two OPA men were disturbing the routine of business at a butcher’s stand. According to the account published in the magazine, the agents charged the butcher with accepting predated ration points we have no way of knowing whether this was true or not. But the agents then fell to making wisecracks about the way the butcher was cutting his meats. This was resented by the meat merchant, who took a natural pride in his skill and technique. Onlookers sympathized with the butcher and there was a disturbance in the aisles. Then the manager of the market, in order to preserve order, escorted or evicted the OPA men from the Shillington establishment.

“Business,” in commenting upon this incident warns that it might be wise for the agency to remember that the NRA “met its Waterloo” in the Pennsylvania Dutch County of York, Pennsylvania. To which we may add that the “sit down” strike came to ignoble end when the irate farmers of Dauphin and Lebanon evicted the “sitters” from the Hershey Company plant. That was the last strike of its kind anywhere.

Who’s Dumb?



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