I was going to town one morning when my wife gave me a little piece of red calico cloth.She asked me if I would have time,during the day,to buy her two and a half meters of calico cloth like that.I told her that it would be no trouble at all.Putting the piece of brightly colored cloth in my pocket,I took the train to the city.During the day,I stopped in at a large store.I saw a man walking the floor and asked him where I could see some red calico."This way,sir."And he led me up the store."Miss Stone,"said he to a young woman,"show this gentleman some red calico.""What kind of red do you want?"asked Miss Stone.I showed her the little piece of calico cloth that my wife had given me.She looked at it and gave it back to me.Then she took down a great roll of cloth and spread it out on the counter."Why,that isn't the right kind of red!"said I."No,not exactly,"said she;"but it looks nicer than your sample.""That may be,"said I,"but,you see,I want it to look like this piece.There is something already made of this kind of calico which needs to be enlarged or fixed or something.I want some calico of the same shade."
The girl made no answer,but took down another roll of cloth."That's the right color,"said she."Yes,"I answered,"but it is striped.""Stripes are worn more than anything else in calicoes,"said she."Yes,but this isn't to be worn,"I said."It's for a piece of furniture,I think.At any rate,I want perfectly plain material,to go with something already in use.""Well,I don't think you can find it perfectly plain unless you get Turkey red,"she said."What is Turkey red?"I asked."Turkey red is perfectly plain in calicoes,"she answered."Well,let me see some.""We haven't any Turkey red calico left,"she said,"but we have some very nice plain calicoes in other colors.""I don't want any other color.I want cloth to go with this.""It's hard to find low-cost calico like that,"she said.And so I left her.I next went into a store a few doors up the street.I gave a salesman my sample,and asked:"Have you any calico like this?""Yes,sir,"said he."Third counter to the right."I went to the third counter to the right.A man there looked at my sample on both sides.Then he said:"We haven't any of this.""I was told you had,"said I."We had it,but we're out of it now.You'll get that from an upholsterer,someone who recovers furniture."
I went across the street to the upholsterer's store."Have you anything like this?"I asked."No,"said the man,"we haven't.Is it for furniture?""Yes,"I answered."Then Turkey red is what you want.""Is Turkey red just like this?"I asked."No,"said he,"but it's much better.""That makes no difference to me,"I said."I want something just like this.""But they don't use that for furniture,"he said."I should think people could use anything they wanted for furniture,"I said,somewhat sharply."They can,but they don't,"he said,calmly."They don't use red like that.They use Turkey red."I said no more,but left.The next place I visited was a very large store.Of the first salesman I saw,I asked if they sold red calico like my sample."You'll find that on the second floor,"said he.I went up the steps.There I asked a man:"Where will I find red calico?""In the far room to the left.Over there."And he pointed to a distant corner.I walked through the crowds of purchasers and salespeople,and around the counters and tables filled with goods,to the far room to the left.When I got there I asked for red calico."The second counter down this side,"said the man.I went there and produced my sample."Calicoes are downstairs,"said the man."They told me they were up here,"I said."Not these plain goods.You'll find them downstairs at the back of the store,over on that side."