por Stefano Scalich
“You’re a great talker,” he said. “I know that. A two-fisted, you-bedamned man with your words. But have you got anything else? Have you got the guts to match your gall? Or is it just the language you’ve got?”
—Old Elihu Willsson to the Continental Op, Red Harvest
I have a good news and a bad news. The good news is advertising is literature. A mysterious mystery writer claimed it exactly eighty-five years ago. The time was 1926, October 1926, and the place was San Francisco. Gone were the years of the Gold Rush: the woeful earthquake witnessed by Jack London at the start of the century was not at all a faraway memory, the Great Depression just behind the corner—knocking. Sure, this was also the place where magician Harry Houdini showed up at least twice at the peak of his game. And sure enough, it was the city of Samuel Dashiell Hammett and his own magic.
He was not a native, all right, but all the same he let you shiver like an earthquake. This is how he looked like:
I was born in Maryland, between the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, on May 27, 1894, and was raised in Baltimore.
after a fraction of a year in high school – Baltimore Polytechnic Institute – I became the unsatisfactory and unsatisfied employee of various railroads, stock brokers, machine manufacturers, canners, and the like. Usually I was fired.
An enigmatic want-ad took me into the employ of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, and I stuck at that until early 1922, when I chucked it to see what I could do with fiction writing.
In between, I spent an uneventful while in the army during the war, becoming a sergeant; and acquired a wife and daughter.
For the rest, I am long and lean and grayheaded, and very lazy. I have no ambition at all in the usual sense of the word; like to live as nearly as possible at the center of large cities, and have no recreations or hobbies.
[Letter to the Editor, Black Mask, November 1924]
As an ex-detective-turned-storyteller, Hammett knew beautiful women look like “a lot of money in a big grey fur coat”; he knew what people really are and feel like. His rowdy characters sometimes called each other hombre but bozo was more frequent on average, wop or dago also might do the list and only on very special (and frightening) occasions were those men labeled “the big boys”. Those same characters had the heebie-jeebies, made pow-wow, sh-sh’d or s-s-s-s-s’d (big difference between the two) one another to achieve quick silence and oscillated amidst um-hmm and hm-m-m or huh and uh-huh for questioning and answering mood, respectively. You know what they did whenever they felt like joking or teasing? They went: “Ta-ta”, like chanting.
Times were hard, though.
“Play with murder enough and it gets you one of two ways. It makes you sick, or you get to like it”. Thus spake the Continental Op, the first among so many badass characters of Hammett trademark, to alcoholic femme fatale Dinah. She, too, knew something about figures of speech: “talking is thirsty work”. Also dirty. Yes, men and women of the Hammettverse were son-of-a-guns at their nadir and just numbskulls (or gum-shoes) at their zenith; in this pantheon their best wish was to reincarnate as hot stuff or Mr. Knowitalls or broads.
The thing is, if you’re a hammettian character you don’t watch your language. You’d rather the opposite. Like telling things are “a kick in the pants”, or some woman Helen is “no hanky-panky”, or you’ll “nail that baby”. You can have had a kid brother eaten by the hogs, if you’re a hammettian character, and having laughed at that too. Granted, you can also be coked, coked to the edges, jealous, busted flat. And that’s not the worst of it. Not even.
Consider this: hammettian voices say they know the dirt on just about any corrupt individual in town and they mean it. Blame it on their being ex- or operative-dicks or just plain curious. Whatever their Dna, those guys are often on the hunt for booze and hooch, even though the vast majority of the time their radars are all set on dough, on checks, on centuries and grands: the name of the game? Dinero. Spelled in perfect Spanish. Or to put it in Red Harvest lingo: “Straight as ace-deuce-trey-four-five”.
What a literary earthquake, Red Harvest. The first and foremost hammettian novel is packed tight with such streetwise parlance and snappy dialogue – profanity included – that the symbol printed on the red cloth of its first hardback edition rings 101 percent appropriate. An ominous yellow skull-and-crossbones, just beneath a somber dust jacket where the following accompanying words are printed:
Personville was bad, so bad, in fact, that its citizens quite openly called it Poisonville. It was a name that stuck, for the chief of police and his crowd were a shade worse than the gang factions that made it a seething cauldron of hate and greed. In a moment of panic the town’s big boss hires an operative of the Continental agency to rid him of his gunmen. [...] With the help of a woman who knew Poisonville’s underworld through intimate association and whose witchword was “gimme”, he plays faction against faction, literally beats the town wide open, leads it into a frenzy of murders and killings and in the end hands it back to the boss a smoldering ember of its former self.
You guessed it right: Samuel Dashiell Hammett is the mysterious mystery writer who claimed advertising is literature. As a matter of fact, his life and works on the whole are a giant advertising tale. The “Help Wanted” classified placed by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency is literary history; its desiderata is hard-boiled: “ORPHANS PREFERRED”. Legend has it young Dashiell later became a copywriter for the Albert Samuels’ jewelry store; a legend crowned less than ten years later than that, when hammettian creations were to be advertised as “Recommended by The Book of the Month Club”.
Advertising, advertising, advertising.
If you still don’t believe it, here’s a few more leads: Black Mask, Lillian Hellman, Blanche Knopf… we’ll get to each of them soon but in the meantime, mind you—three leads always total one evidence. Ergo it is not so collateral that “Two diamond rings were on her fingers” becomes the last we know of aforementioned Dinah. For those of you who treasure this side of the Hammettverse, keep a bunch of lines handy:
I also advertised the fact [...] Reno plugged Lew Yard.
[The Continental Op talks to Dinah]
Check your bags and don’t come up to the hotel. Room 537. Don’t advertise your visit.
[The Continental Op to Mickey Linehan]
The closest I’ve got to an idea is to dig up any and all the dirty work I can that might implicate the others, and run it out. Maybe I’ll advertise—Crime Wanted—Male or Female.
[The Continental Op]
* * *
But I told you I had a bad news. The bad news is literature is not advertising. I mean not always, not like this you have experienced thus far. Most writers and Hammett contemporaries gravitated on the George Orwell side. In 1936 – a year later Dashiell was to join the American Communist Party – the father of Animal Farm wrote that “advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket”. Anyway, for every George Orwell there were still people like future librarian of Congress Daniel Joseph Boorstin. He maintained “the force of the advertising word and image dwarfs the power of other literature in the 20th century”.
Three more leads for all those who agree with Mr. Boorstin: Francis Scott Fitzgerald—copywriter; Salman Rushdie—copywriter; Don DeLillo—copywriter. And you know something? Raymond Chandler was not on a distant wavelength, when he published a famous essay titled The simple art of murder. The time was 1944 and the place was The Atlantic Monthly; there and then Philip Marlowe’s father outlined Sam Spade’s father’s peculiar gift to the boom of American crime fiction. Chandler stressed that Hammett writings appeal to “people with a sharp, aggressive attitude to life”, people unafraid of “the seamy side of things”, people who “lived there”. And there Hammett went. To give murder “back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse”. People who were freight clerks, messenger boys, newsboys, stevedores, timekeepers, nail-machine operators in box factories… all jobs Samuel Dashiell had had in real life.
Hammett loved to stay true to the facts of life. So much so that he cared to list 24 common inaccuracies often plaguing crime novels, and cared to publish them as a sort of troubleshooting list on the pages of the New York Post in 1930. The piece was called Suggestions to Detective Story Writers, had a lot to do with firearms, automatic revolvers, bullets, silencers, knives and wounds inflicted thereof. But real life tips and tricks sometimes surfaced outside the mere technicalities. Suggestion#10 hinted: “It is impossible to see anything by the flash of an ordinary gun, though it is easy to imagine you have seen things”
Simply put, “People like inside stuff”: also sprach the Continental Op. Red Harvest has a host of valuable examples on the subject:
You can’t shoot straight holding a man in your lap, another hanging on your shoulder, while a third does his shooting from an inch behind your ear.
I don’t remember shooting – I mean I don’t remember deliberately aiming and pulling the trigger – but I can remember the sound the shots made, and that I knew the noise was coming from the gun in my hand.
The flare of my gun showed me nothing. It never does, though it’s easy to think you’ve seen things.
“Dashiell Hammett writes his mystery novels from his own experience”, thus ran the back cover copy of Red Harvest. And for those in the audience who can’t get enough real life, here comes Raymond Chandler’s punchline from The simple art of murder:
He put these people down on paper as they are, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used for these purposes.
Enter David Ogilvy. He was “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry”, according to a 1962 Time story. His eponymous agency aired a world-famous all-type advertising page throughout the 60s and 70s: the headline read: “How to create advertising that sells” and was followed by a list of 38 “Items”, every bit as helpful as Dashiell Hammett’s 24 “Suggestions”. Now, if you agree with Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett on the fact a crime writer had better let people “talk and think in the language they customarily used”, Item#6 on the Ogilvy menu will prove a most interesting starter:
Don’t be a bore. Nobody was ever bored into buying a product. Yet most advertising is impersonal, detached, cold—and dull. It pays to involve the customer. Talk to her like a human being. Charm her. Make her hungry. Get her to participate.
And why should advertisement be literature anyway? Enter now Dashiell Hammett himself and his October 1926 essay:
You may read tons of books and magazines without finding, even in fiction, dialogue, any attempt to reproduce common speech. There are writers who do try it, but they seldom succeed. Even such a specialist in the vernacular as Ring Lardner gets his effect of naturalness by skillfully editing, distorting, simplifying, coloring the national tongue, and not by reporting it verbatim.
He has a point. Red Harvest does quite the opposite on and on, on any level. Main- and minor-players, lowlife and “big boys” alike receive the Hammett treatment and prove what is true of both humans and brands: voice is character. Therefore, a bank watchman narrating a recent robbery is not likely to speak as a literate lawyer; he’ll say “There wasn’t no chance to do nothing”, the reason being “They were in ’fore anybody knew anything”.
You think the watchman is a moron? No way.
“I says to myself, All righty”, is the man’s resolution to shoot. And make no mistake, the watchman’s attitude is for all to see and hear: “I bet you I’d of got more of them if I’d of had more cartridges, because it’s kind of hard shooting down like that”. It might be argued this is all there is to Hammett, prose-wise; his “gritty style”, as the American Public Broadcasting Service put it. Wrong. Picture yourself as the Continental Op listening to lawyer Charles Proctor Dawn, over the telephone:
“Ah, my dear sir, I am extremely gratified to find that you had the good judgment to recognize the value of my counsel.”
His voice was even more oratorical than it had been over the wire.
It’s all about voice. And DIAMOND “DRESS”, an advert for the Albert Samuels jewelry store penned by young Dashiell in person, proves the soon-to-be-famous writer was a quick learner and a total natural:
Nothing you can wear adds more to your appearance than good jewelry. Tastefully selected, properly worn, it will do for your dress what eyes do for your face—make it live with points of fire and color.
Nothing you wear is so economical as a good diamond. Once bought, it is bought forever. The loveliest garment soon wears out, goes out of style. The most modest diamond is eternally beautiful, eternally fashionable, eternally valuable.
Nor need its purchase be a great burden. It may be bought out of your clothing allowance—on whatever payment plan fits most snugly into your budget. You will not be charged one penny for interest or other extras.
Purchases may be made as easily by mail as in person. Write us what you want and what you wish to pay. Our shopper will send you a selection for examination in your home.
It’s time for Claude C. Hopkins to enter stage. Some say he’s one of the fathers of modern advertising and some say Albert Davis Lasker is the other putative father—we’ll get to him soon. But Hopkins was no Lasker, anyway. He also wrote a book considered the bible of the trade as all Dashiell Hammett contemporaries knew it: Scientific advertising. Call it a coincidence, call it what you want: Scientific advertising came out in 1923, that same year Black Mask magazine published “Arson Plus”, Dashiell’s first story featuring the Continental Op.
Looks like Hammett and Hopkins were working back to back.
Whenever anyone will care to browse chapters number 3, 5, and 19 of Scientific advertising, they will find a litmus paper test of sorts. They read like a theory version of what Hammett was putting into practice.
Scientific advertising Chapter 3 maintains the best ads “ask no one to buy”, rather, they are based “entirely on service”. “The good salesman does not merely [...] say, ‘Buy my article’”, Hopkins points out, “he pictures the customers side of his service until the natural result is to buy”. If you want the wrong side of the same coin, take a peek at a chat between the Op and Dinah…
“You know where Max is now?”
“What’s it worth to know?”
“I’ll tell you for a hundred bucks”.
“I wouldn’t want to take advantage of you that way”.
“I’ll tell you for fifty bucks”.
I shook my head.
“I don’t want him,” I said. “I don’t care where he is. Why don’t you peddle the news to Noonan?”
“Yes, and try to collect”.
… if you want first class salesmanship, instead, switch to the Continental Op addressing old Elihu Willsson:
That’s what you bargained for, and that’s what you’re going to get.
I’m not playing politics for you. I’m not hiring out to help you kick them back in line—with the job being called off then. If you want the job done you’ll plank down enough money to pay for a complete job. Any that’s left over will be returned to you. But you’re going to get a complete job or nothing. That’s the way it’ll have to be.
Now here’s what you’re going to do [...] It can be done, and it’s got to be done [...] Then you’ll have your city back, all nice and clean.
Scientific advertising Chapter 5 deals with another pillar of salesmanship, headlines, and Red Harvest is rife with examples in the field. Section titles range from utter mystery to deadpan humour about people and places: “A woman in green and a man in grey”, “The czar of Poisonville”, “A tip on Kid Cooper”, “Hurricane Street”, “Whyskeytown”; not to mention atomized exhibits of teaser-prose like “A new deal”, “—$200.10—”, “Blackmail”, and “That’s why I sewed you up”. Nevertheless, the best of hammettian headlines are the ones still hidden, the ones which haven’t made the chapter post, the good candidates buried forever into the plot: “It’s not easy to understand unless you know”, “If you win tonight you’re not likely to see me again”, “Take it or leave it”.
Hopkins’ bible held another secret about for those who want to sort out headline-related matters…
The identical ad run with various headlines differs tremendously in its returns. It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns by five or ten times over.
… “The Poisonville murders”, “The seventeenth murder”, “Murder plus”, “The Willsson matter”, “The city of death”, “The cleansing of Poisonville”, and “The black city” were all runner-ups for Dashiell Hammett’s first novel’s title. And then (Blanche Knopf was the decision maker) came “Red Harvest”. Two-thirds into the novel, the Continental Op receives a telegram from the Old Man in charge of the San Francisco branch:
SEND BY FIRST MAIL FULL EXPLANATION OF PRESENT OPERATION AND CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH YOU ACCEPTED IT WITH DAILY REPORTS TO DATE
He puts it in his pocket and hopes things will keep on breaking fast. At first glance, the Op is acting totally unaware of what Scientific advertising Chapter 19 outlines…
Do something if possible to get immediate action. Offer some inducement for it. Or tell what delay may cost. Note how many sucessful selling letters place a limit on an offer. It expires on a certain date. That is all done to get prompt decision, to overcome the tendency to delay.
… and yet, there are countless other instances where Dashiell Hammett testifies to what stated in that same Chapter 19: “Letter writing has much to do with advertising”.
For there is a secret Hammett. A man of letters, in the truest sense of this label; a husband, lover and father whose private correspondence (recently published as Selected Letters. 1921-1960) shines with a masterful, supremely copywritish use of the three rhetorical basics empowering any epistolary: the greeting, the clause, the signature.
Lillian Hellman, the love of his life and frequent recipient of his missives, was hardly addressed in the same way: greetings oscillated between simple Dear and Dearest to the confidential Dear Chap. On the fakely-formal side edged Dear Boss, Dear Lady and Dear Missie; while a simple Angel and the tryptich Dahlink/Dearling/Dearest accounted for the romantic. A cornucopia of nicknames showed off Hammett at his most creative: Dear Leelee or Dear Lilushka or Dear Lilishka or Dear Lily or Dear Lilibell or Dearest Lillest.
You think this is not copywriting? Get into a brand-naming focus group—or think again.
Still looking for the truth? Ask another master copywriter, Bill Bernbach: he is known the world over for the “Think Small” Volkswagen Beetle ads. “The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you”, goes a notorious Bernbach quote, “and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly”.
What is imagination, originality, freshness? It’s the Continental Op calling Elihu Willsson “A fine old rowdy” and his secretary calling the same individual “A remarkably vital personality”, right after; it’s the Op moving into the heart of an alley “looking into shadows with eyes, ears and nose”; and it’s Dinah: one of those “young women who look like something out of mythology”. Dashiell Hammett’s debut novel is a catalog of different angles from which you can see our old world and still keep a fresh perspective. Especially when that world is mean and you hear “a chorus of pistols singing Bang-bang-bang”.
Guns are never just guns, in Red Harvest. They kiss “a hole in the door-frame”, they say “something, the same thing four times”, they make “a polo pony” of passing cars. The same applies to bullets: they are pills, they are volleys of material, they happen to pop “off to the north”. And this is also the secret of serial advertising. Other examples pop up if you list the vast majority of the closing lines in the private correspondence of Dashiell Hammett. The end-result is a virtual greatest hits of headlines on what makes the world go ’round:
Love in chunks
Lots of the meanest sort of love
All sorts of love
I love you, dear animal
With love of the lewdest sort
I love you v.m.
I love you and miss you and love you and miss you and not much else
I love you, as you may remember
I love you, if that’s any business of yours
Love and things
Jesus, do I love you
Loads of love
Mountains of love
Love and pats
All kinds of love
Meanwhile hold tightly on to my love
Quantities of love
But I love you
Love in quite noticeable quantities
Love and love and love
I love you, madam, and trust you are trying to deserve it
I will continue to love you—like now for instance
That’s all for now, toots, except much love
A great deal of love
I love you more than I do islands
With much love and protestations of this and that
Mountains and mountains of love
A great deal of love and those things that go with it…
Much love, sweetheart
Good night, honey—with much love and many kisses
I love you anyhow
A great deal of non-Hollywood love
Figures of speech were a Hammett undisputed specialty: he even titled his penultimate novel, after such a device. Trusted sources say “the glass key” is a peculiar kind of opportunistic invitation, as opposed to a genuine one. The book was serialized in Black Mask, which issued an advertisement embellishing its author’s photograph with a catchy headline:
DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?
He is the greatest living writer of detective stories. His last three stories have been published in book form by one of the greatest publishing houses and have been lavishly praised by the most competent critics. He is a true genius! His stories are like no others, but absolutely in a class by themselves. His name is Dashiell Hammett; and his latest story is called
THE GLASS KEY
It is a vivid and tremendous story of modern organized crime and politics, true to the facts of life in every detail; and it is the most powerful and stirring, and the finest, story of its kind we have ever seen. It will hold you gripped fast, tense with excitement and completely oblivious to your surroundings, from beginning to end. You will find it in the March issue of
* * *
“Tell me something, Nick. Tell me the truth: when you were wrestling with Mimi, didn’t you have an erection?”. Everybody knows who’s talking. Everybody knows the time and place, too. It’s Nora querying Nick; it’s 1934; it’s Hammett’s last novel, The thin man.
It’s the notorious “five word question” and it’s driving the market nuts: some readers go berserk, some gaga; no-one stays the same anymore, anyway. Alfred Knopf knows it. He also knows he can ride the tiger and (being this the Hammettverse) he does so signing an advertisement in the New York Times:
I don’t believe the question on page 192 of Dashiell Hammett’s The thin man has had the slightest influence upon the sale of the book. It takes more than that to make a best seller these days. Twenty thousand people don’t buy a book within three weeks to read a five word question.
Bill Bernbach would have agreed: “we always look for something to say”, since that is the treasure-hunt of all copywriters and that was the treasure-found by Alfred Knopf. Once you find it, “it is more than worthwhile to say it memorably and artfully and persuasively so that it is remembered and acted upon”, capped Bernbach.
Now, isn’t it what Nora does too?
Speaking of which: Myrna Loy, her impersonator on the silver screen version of The thin man, was also a testimonial for Maybelline. She also looked a lot like the girls in the Lucky Strike adverts: “the smartest and loveliest women of the modern stage”, as portrayed by advertising pioneer Albert Davis Lasker.
Then again, this is just the tip of the advertising iceberg. According to David Ogilvy’s list, three are the heavyweights any advertising cannot do without: Brand image, Large promise and a mysterious something called The Most Important Decision. But first things first.
Brand image calls for… Dinah Brand, there could be no better advertising specimen. Besides having a single-minded character (she is all about money) Dinah behaves like most brands and loves to repeat slogans: “You think you know everything. You’re just hard to get along with” (Dinah to the Op); “You know everything” (Dinah to the Op). She is also afraid of Max Thaler, alias Whisper, and never misses a chance to remind it to the Op.
He is quite her opposite. If Dinah is a copywriting machine gone automatic, our detective hero is a triumph of variety—a new breed of brand.
Dinah answers the phone and calls him; a boy chants his name and says he’s wanted at the other end of the wire; he writes his own name on pieces of paper; he tells lawyer Charles Proctor Dawn who he is… and yet his name is never known. Other than that, there’s only an endless archive of ever-changing monikers: a red card identifies him as “Henry F. Neill, A.B. seaman, member in good standing of the Industrial Workers of the World”; he is “something like Hunter or Hunt or Huntington”, then registers at the Shannon Hotel as J.W. Clark and ultimately checks in at the Roosevelt as P.F. King. Only on very lucky occasions are we able to hear the Op introduce himself as what he really is:
I’m a Continental Detective Agency operative, San Francisco branch [...] A couple of days ago we got a check from your son and a letter asking that a man be sent here to do some work for him. I’m the man.
Some say advertising is lying, but that is just a lie. Advertising, good advertising, is all about truth: except it is a special truth. It is the land of what both talker and listener agree to share. It is a world of their own, no matter how much filled with nonsense. The same applies to the Continental Op creator and real-life counterpart. In his letter signatures he seldom is Dashiell Hammett. He is instead Dash; he is D.H.; he is H.; he is Hammett of the North Big Brother on Nanook; he is L.L.; he is Nicky; he is Operative D.H.; he is Papa; he is Pius XIII; he is Pvt. S.D.H; he is Sam; he is Signature illegible; he is Sincerely Dashiell Hammett; he is That Man; he is That Middle Aged Man; he is Whitey; he is lecherously Dash.
The last comes as no surprise, since its owner wrote “In Defense of the sex story”, as early as 1924. It may also be an appropriate caption to what David Ogilvy calls Large promise; that is, “a benefit for the consumer”. The Continental Op displays a little something of that, too, in his final confrontation with big boss Elihu Willsson:
I’m not licked, old top. I’ve won. You came crying to me that some naughty men had taken your little city away from you. Pete the Finn, Lew Yard, Whisper Thaler, and Noonan. Where are they now?
Yard died Tuesday morning, Noonan the same night, Whisper Wednesday morning, and the Finn a little while ago. I’m giving your city back to you whether you want it or not.
Mission accomplished? Not yet. Ogilvy’s Most Important Decision has yet to be made. It is called Positioning:
How should you position your product? Should you position Schweppes as a soft drink—or as a mixer? Should you position Dove as a product for dry skin or as a product which gets hands really clean? The results of your campaign depend less on how we write your advertising than how your product is positioned. It follows that positioning should be decided before the advertising is created.
I must tell you a secret. I cut out a couple of lines off the jacket flap of Red Harvest. Here they are back into place, they are the novel’s own Positioning:
When the “op” arrives, Poisonville is ripe for the harvest. This is the story of its cleansing up.
Oh—wait. There is still a chance to maybe appease George Orwell, as well as the copy-writing and book-writing hemispheres. In his seminal essay “Why I Write”, Orwell stated “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness”. Don’t worry, now, everything’s not lost. Imagine reading this ad, the time is 1924 and the place is San Francisco, 620 Eddy Street to be precise:
IF I WERE A FICTION WRITER WHO HAD NOT YET FOUND A CONSISTENT MARKET, I would search my work for the responsible defects.
If I thought my own judgement too personal, or my experience too slight, for effectual recognition and correction of those defects, I would seek assistance, preferably from one who wrote marketable fiction himself.
Sound advice on short-story manuscripts at one dollar for each thousand words. Terms for longer fiction on request.
You guessed that right. This is Dashiell Hammett, copywriter. For copywriting is just like writing: same magic. Write us what you want and what you wish to pay—our shopper will send you a selection for examination in your home.