Grocery Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Over the past several months we’ve been exploring different types of journals and when I came across this one, I realized that the concept went way beyond a “grocery list”. Several years ago, while channel surfing, my husband and I watched a fascinating program about city planning. Now, I know what you’re thinking – what has city planning got to do with food shopping? Well, the take-away from the program was to introduce the viewer to the why’s and how’s of how the modern city came to be. Why were main streets so important? In colonial times, the main street comprised the town green, important government buildings, churches etc. Main Street came to be known as the elite area to build stores.

After Main Street came the Avenues and the bakery shop, butcher shop, florist, hardware store sprang up along those areas. In the early days of “grocery shopping,” the buyer, usually the wife/mother shopped in several stores once a week. The concept of one store selling all of the above had not been conceived yet.

I can remember as a young child going to the butcher shop and gazing through a glass case at the different types of meat and watching him grind up our hamburger meat. It was a necessary trip for my mom but also a social one as several neighborhood women were often there as well. Milk was delivered in glass bottles from the milk man and fresh produce was sold down the street from our home.

Many shoppers today “zip” into their favorite store for the quick and easy meal or the “oh my gosh, we’re getting a snow storm item” without a thought to:

Why the items are placed where they are?

Why are there displays?

How come “xyz” store now sells organic?

Why do stores sell “not sold in stores” items?

Why am I always tempted to buy chocolate chip cookies at B.J’s?

There’s a strategy to all this and in a way it’s akin to city planning. Next week we’ll delve into the history of supermarkets.

Happy shopping,


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