The Salty Dog - The Early Years
Before American Rag, I founded The Salty Dog in 1970 in Amsterdam, Holland. It was in the time of love, peace, the psychedelic Beatles, and The Vietnam War. And soon what happened in the United States happened two years later in Europe. So within 4 to 5 years, there were 10 stores all over Holland.
So during the early 70’s, when I first opened Salty Dog, I had no money whatsoever. I bought and built the store out of old salvaged wood. Now It would have been really cool today; green, chic and rustic.. Well it was actually really cool back then too, but you could tell it was…rickety. But it was cool because, It worked to our advantage. The Europeans had this fantasy about American culture : cowboys, ranches, that sort of thing. It worked. During this time, people would wear their jeans REALLY tight, to the point where people would lie on the floor and a salesman would push the edge of the jeans and zip it up. Well, there was this girl, who was a bit…for lack of a kinder word… ‘girthy’… She was in our rickety dressing room holding onto the wall with one hand while the other tried to negotiate a very tight pair of jeans onto her generous figure, her left leg stretched to its limit while pulling her hardest on the right leg… and then her leg snapped.
So management called me at home, ”There’s a woman on the floor. She’s writhing in pain with a broken leg. Screaming. What should we do?”
And because it was Saturday and the store was full I asked, “Well what music is playing?”
“Turn it up!”
Now, when the ambulance came the only medication they had to suppress pain was laughing gas. When she was comfortable, they would take the gas away, but then she would instantly be in pain. So she alternated between howling in laughter and and howling in agony.
They removed her from the building.
Ten years later, I’m at this cocktail party and a woman comes up to me. Shes tall, slender, and asks me, “Are you Mark Werts?”
And she said, ”I had an unforgettable experience at one of your stores.”
I had the opportunity to hear the story from her point of view. She was fine.
And lost a lot of weight.