Although coal companies may have tried to exploit a local-store monopoly, company-store prices in nonunion areas were appreciably limited by competition from other stores and mines in the same labor market. Company stores persisted in part by lowering transactions costs. Prices at company stores were generally similar to those at nearby independent stores, and higher wages may have compensated for higher store prices at isolated mines. Conditions varied, however, with labor-market tightness. Miners were generally not in debt to the store, nor paid entirely in scrip. Scrip was an advance on payday, when miners received cash.