Welcome to the weeklong adventures of Lizzie, on her way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a landscaping gig.
Day 2 — Lizzie called from the road again. “Took a wrong turn, went about 60 miles out of my way, but ran across a town called Kemmerer where there’s a JC Penney Mother Store and Museum!” Apparently, what she meant is that it’s the “parent” store of all the other JC Penneys. In fact, This is what I found on the JC Penney Web site (hope they don’t mind me borrowing, but talk about free promotion…)
Many courtesies that today’s customers expect from a retail store, such as money-back returns, standardized pricing, high quality merchandise and friendly customer service, simply were not widely practived when Mr. Penney opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. In those days, many merchants operated their businesses under the motto “caveat emptor” — let the buyer beware! Customers had to be on their guard against shoddy merchandise, fraudulent claims about quality, deceptive dual pricing systems, highly discriminatory sales practices, and rude, uncaring sales people.
In naming his first store The Golden Rule, Mr. Penney boldly proclaimed the idea that set his store apart from his competitors, namely, “Do unto others as youwould have others do unto you.” In doing so, he forever changed the way Americans do business with retail merchants and the way they shop at stores. Choosing the name Golden Rule was no coincidence…Penney’s father was a minister who preached the better part of his life. He raised his son very strictly and taught him to believe in the practical application of the Golden Rule. His mother, a devout woman, taught her son the value of service to others by example in the way she lived her live for the benefit of those around her.
Years later Penney explained, “In setting up a business under the name and meaning of the Golden Rule, I was publicly binding myself, in my business relations, to a principle which had been a real and intimate part of my family upbringing. To me, the sign on the store was much more than a trade name … We took our slogan ‘Golden Rule Store’ with strict literalness. Our idea was to make money and build business through serving the community with fair dealing and honest value.” — JCPenney web site
Good for you, Mr. Penney. Guess it worked — Penney’s is now 104 years old — and how many other retailers can say that? Here’s a quiz: What does the JC in JC Penney stand for?
Oh, and Lizzie also ran across another fun spot — the Opaline Cattlewomen’s Association — yeehaw!