Though I'm not quite the die-hard my mother and sister are, I do enjoy a fine shopping trip. And do you know what I enjoy more than just a fine shopping trip? I fine shopping trip in which I find bargains!
While researching for my two Colonial or early Federal books, I had fun exploring the shopping world of the late 18th century. Learning about fashion babies and fustion, pin money and Chalmers shillings. But one of my most fun discoveries was vendues.
Have you ever heard of these? I hadn't, until reading Washington's Spies by Alexander Rose. One of the historical figures he talks about (and who also appears in my Ring of Secrets) apprenticed in a store called Templeton & Stewart in the City of New York. T&S had two divisions--an upscale one in the fashionable district of the city, and then a vendue across from the city's red light district, Holy Ground.
I would have scratched my head upon reading that, had Mr. Rose not gone on to explain what this "vendue" thing was. Apparently it's much like a discount store today. When there was either overstock or damaged goods in a regular store, they would send it to a vendue, where the goods were either auctioned off or marked down.
Apparently there was some grumbling when Templeton & Stewart opened a vendue, from owners of other retailers. But they were soon happy to see that it didn't detract from their clientele--that two different sets of people shopped in these two different kinds of stores.
It's no surprise, I suppose, that as long as people have been exchanging hard-earned coin for goods, they've been trying to get the best deals. But it's always fun to learn that discount stores (not unlike my favorite shopping location in my home town) have a long and rich history. And though I didn't find a time to really explain what these stores are in Ring of Secrets, I did slip a mention of them into the final chapters. =)
Roseanna M. White grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, the beauty of which inspired her to begin writing as soon as she learned to pair subjects with verbs. She spent her middle and high school days penning novels in class, and her love of books took her to a school renowned for them. After graduating from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, she and her husband moved back to the Maryland side of the same mountains they equate with home.
Roseanna is the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia, both from WhiteFire Publishing (www.WhiteFire-Publishing.com), Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland from Summerside Press, and the upcoming Culper Ring Series from Harvest House, beginning in March 2013 with Ring of Secrets.
She is the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, Christian Authors Network, HisWriters, and Colonial American Christian Writers. She is a regular blogger at Go Teen Writers, Colonial Quills, and her personal blog.