"The Dry Goods Clerk"
seems to have been a comic stock figure
It was a difficult way to make a living,
or so they often told us.
Several wrote memoirs and there were also many comic fictions about
the job and the customers.
His natural adversary was the sample collector...
As told in an 1844 tale:
Shinning It: a Tale of a Tape-cutter; Or, The Mechanic Turned Merchant by M.Y. Beach
The narrator was new at his job.
An experienced friend observed the scam.
The charming customer persuaded him to give her many large samples (3 or 4 inches each) to show her country nieces---both French prints and calicoes--- and walked out with a bundle of chintz and calico pieces.
The friend informed the clerk that he'd been fleeced. The woman, Mrs. Trapp, would not return to buy any fabric. She had quite a reputation.
So there's a little window into professional quiltmaking in the 1840s.