- Category Recreational artifacts
- Sub-category Game
- Department Folklore
- Museum CMH
- Earliest 1877/01/01
- Latest 1977/08/31
- Materials Wood, Metal
- Measurements Height 3.0 cm, Length 41.0 cm, Width 28.3 cm
- Caption The Storekeeper
Managing the store can be a family affair for the storekeeper, his wife and children. The storekeeper works seven days a week, starting as early as 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning and closing late in the evening. The storekeeper's wife serves customers, weighs and packages bulk goods, and advises female customers on the latest fashions. She replaces her husband when he is unavailable. When not at school, children help to clean the store, carry goods and wait on customers. Older children learn to keep the accounts, step in as needed to replace their parents, and may eventually take over the operation of the store. Many general stores are passed on from generation to generation.
The storekeeper plays a central role in community life. He acts as a window to the outside world, sharing news he picks up when traveling to buy goods. Often he is the first to hear about local events such as births, deaths and upcoming marriages. He witnesses important documents and drafts letters for those who cannot write, unless there is a lawyer or a public notary in the village. Because so many of his customers buy on credit, he is deeply involved in the community's financial life. When a farmer cannot pay his debts, the storekeeper may even acquire his property, although this means fewer customers for the store. As one of the village notables, many people turn to him for advice. Louis St. Laurent, Canada's prime minister from 1948 to 1957, is said to have learned his political skills watching his storekeeper father dispensing advice in the family general store in Compton, Quebec.