Les livres de dettes d'un boulanger campagnard. 1880-1891.

The Debtor-Books Of A Country Baker 1880-1891: Examination of two debtor-books of a baker-retailer at Langemark near Ypres, covering the period 1880-1891. Next to bread and flour, also the most diverse commodities are sold, including clothes, tableware, etc. The retail prices of all these articles, but especially of butter, flour and maslin, could be noted and compared with the market-reports of Ypres. Most striking is the ample margin of profit provided for by the baker. Maybe this is due to the considerable credit the baker has to advance to his customers amounting to 1,306.85 Frs. in 1880, at least half of which was never recovered. A detailed examination of the debts contracted leads to a number of ascertainments : 1. Among the debtors a group of seasonal workers can be pointed out, the debts of whom mostly start in February, are largely cleared off in July, start rising again from August to November, with a balance which is paid in February of the following year. 2. Every year the debtors have difficulties in bridging over the period between the two harvests. The debts cumulate in the months of July to September. 3. For the period dealt with here the debts reach a summit in the years 1888-1889. After that they decrease sensibly. 4. Some families fail in clearing off their debts. Their debit is permanent.