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THE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

In the end of May we may expect another great increase in the sales, which, till that time, will probably be steady but not very large.

On examining the table, we find that the fluctuations in the rate of increase of membership depends almost entirely upon the needs felt by the men at the several seasons of the year.

During the months of March and April the increase was slow, owing primarily to the fact that the society had just opened business, and secondly to the slight demand at that time of the year for the goods in which the society professes to deal. In the latter part of May and in June the opening of the tennis season, and the low rates offered by the society in tennis goods, caused a rapid increase in the membership, which was well sustained till the end of the year by the facilities offered for the sale of second hand goods. No names were added during the summer, but at the beginning of the academic year a second large accession to the number took place, owing to the entrance of the freshmen and the demand for books and fall supplies, and later for coal, which the society at that time added to its lists.

During the eight days from Sept. 26th to Oct. 4th, 203 names were added, an average of more than 25 names a day. The largest number that joined on any one day was 78 - on the 2d of October.

Towards the middle of October the entrances fall off, and in the latter part of that month, and through the months of November, December, January and February almost cease, showing that all who intend to join have done so before the first of November.

It is seen, therefore, that the times and rates of joining are not determined by any artificial impulse. There are two periods of maximum increase - the one about the 1st of June, the other near the 1st of October, which depend directly on the wants felt by the men at those times, and which consequently cannot be hastened or retarded by any artificial means. On the other hand, they may be depended upon with a tolerable degree of certainty.

By the arrangement now in force the term of membership of many of the members - those, that is, who have joined for half a year only - expires on the 22d of this month. The membership of the society will thus suddenly be very greatly diminished.

It is not to be expected that those members will at once renew their connection with the society, as they will probably feel no immediate necessity for doing so, and sentiment has never had a large influence in the working of the society.

As the spring advances, however, the wants of the season will impel these and other members to join, and we may expect a gradual but steady increase till the end of the year.

In the fall again the accession will be large, and in the middle of next October, and not till then, will the society have regained its full membership.

It is reasonable to expect that the membership will then be somewhat larger than it is at present, owing to the increasing scope of the society and the wider recognition of its services, together with the decrease in the pressure required to make men join, which will inevitably take place, as the familiarity with the society and its workings becomes more general.

The total membership of the society from its foundation has numbered 713 persons, distributed through the various departments of the university in the following proportions:

TABLE OF DISTRIBUTION OF MEMBERS.

Faculty and board of instructors 14

Class of '82 38

Class of '83 100

Class of '84 132

Class of '85 155

Class of '86 179

Law School 36

Divinity School 7

Medical School 3

Scientific School and special students 38

Resident graduates 10

Connection unknown 1

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713

The catalogue membership of the undergraduate department is 888, and the ratio of the totals thus given approximates 2 out of 3 men.

There have been but 7 members from the Divinity School, while the Scientific School and special students number together 38. It seems improper, therefore, that the former should have the right to be represented on the board of directors, while the latter have not. The whole number of members outside the undergraduate department and exclusive of the faculty and the Law School is ninety-five. It is proper that their interests should be represented on the board, and a common director from them all, would be sufficient and just.

PRICES.The aim of the society is to supply its members with goods at the lowest possible prices, subject only to the addition of a slight percentage to cover expenses. As the price of each book and every article of stationery is determined, relatively to the ordinary retail price, by the terms of the various agreements that have been made by the superintendent with the firms by whom we are supplied, it would require a detailed statement of these prices to show the exact advantage of the members of the society over other persons.

Such a statement would hardly be within the scope of this report. It will be sufficient to state that the society buys as a rule at wholesale prices and in no case are the prices of the society higher than the retail market price, and in many instances they are lower in a surprising degree, as in certain cases the society has been able to make arrangements which enable it to sell at prices with which the ordinary retail dealer cannot hope to compete.

Besides the direct advantages reaped by the members of the society, all the other members of the university, and, indeed, all the inhabitants of Cambridge, enjoy in common with them, the general fall in the prices of small stationery and like articles. For by the extremely low charges made for such goods as examination books and all kinds of paper, the society has forced down the prices in all other stores, so that instead of the exhorbitant prices which prevailed before the foundation of the society, and which in part led to it, there has actually prevailed among the retail dealers of stationery in Cambridge a rivalry as to which should sell these articles at the lowest price.

The following is an estimate of the amount saved by members through the use of the society:

On coal, 9 per cent $400.00

On wood 50.00

On second-hand books, 10 per cent 50.00

On second-hand furniture 100.00

On cash sales 1,200.00

On orders, 15 to 16 per cent 900.00

Through discount from affiliated tradesmen estimated 1,800.00

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Total $4,500.00

All of which is respectfully submitted.

H. G. CHAPMAN, JR., Treas.

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