Victorian London - Shops and Shopping - Types of Shops - Department Stores


    I AM one of the old school, and like the old ways. Judge then, my old friend, of the shock to my equanimity the other day. I required six pennyworth of coat buttons, and went into the first shop which looked like one for the sale of that article. On entering, I walked up to the counter and said to the man, "I want some buttons."
    "Oh, Sir! said he, "please go to the other side, to the 'Button Department,' this is Baby Linen."
    I went to the other side, and "I want some buttons," said I.
    "What do you want them for?"
    "For my coat."
    "Oh then, Sir, if you please, to the next shop, this is the 'Ladies' Button Department.'"
    I was accordingly ushered by a perfumed ladies' button department gentleman, through several gilded corridors, then up one pair of stairs, and down another, and finally found myself roaming at large in the gentlemen's department general. I went up to the first counter, and repeated my request.
    "Oh, Sir, if you please," said the attendant, " the other side; this is the 'Gentlemen's Flannel Department.'"
    It is needless to describe the thing any further. Suffice it to say that, after applying at the Gentlemen's hosiery Department, running a tilt at the Gentlemen's Pantaloon Department, and being nearly stranded on the Gentlemen's Fancy Shirt Department, I got what I wanted, sixpennyworth of buttons.
    Ever yours, dear Punch,


Punch, May 2, 1868