Beatrix Potter’s Ginger and Pickles was published in 1909 and tells the story of a shop run by a cat (Ginger) and a terrier (Pickles). Theirs is a cautionary tale for our times:
“Ginger and Pickles gave unlimited credit.
Now the meaning of “credit” is this — when a customer buys a bar of soap, instead of pulling out a purse and paying for it — she says she will pay another time.
And Pickles makes a low bow and says, “With pleasure, madam,” and it is written down in a book.
The customers come again and again, and buy quantities, in spite of being afraid of Ginger and Pickles.
But there is no money in what is called the “till”.
The customers came in crowds … But there was always no money; they never paid for as much as a pennyworth of peppermints.
But the sales were enormous, ten times as large as Tabitha Twitchit’s.”