Tuesday, July 11, 2006

History of Grocery Stores

I'm kind of weird. Well, I'm sure anyone who has read any of this blog can figure that out by themselves, but I'm just warning you.

In my 47 years, I have lived in 7 different houses, and a few apartments. Four different states. Many different towns. And since grocery shopping bores me, I tend to let my mind wander when I'm forced to do it (which is at least once a week). This past Sunday, while pushing the cart with the unruly wheels, I was thinking about how I can relate all of the places I've lived to the grocery store chains that I've patronized.

My earliest recollection is of Secane, Pennsylvania. There was an A&P directly across the street from our house. But mom didn't really shop there except when we ran out of milk or bread. No, her preferred grocery store was the Acme on Baltimore Pike near the Bazaar. You didn't buy your meats there though. For meats, you had to go to Roy Tweedy's butcher shop on MacDade Blvd. And for cold cuts, there was a deli across the street that had the best. Everything else came from the Acme. I'm not sure when butcher shops and deli's stopped being so important. I don't even know when I was last in a butcher shop. But in the 60's and 70's, mom always made a special trip to Tweedy's for her meats.

When we moved to Aston, we shopped at a different Acme, closer to our house. Cold cuts were gotten from the local Wawa, though. My mom never bought cold cuts at a grocery store (back then). She would still make the longer drive to Tweedy's now and again, but she had learned to tolerate the meats from the Acme.

I moved to New York in 1980 when I got married. There were two big grocery stores there. ShopRite and Grand Union. I always shopped at Grand Union. For everything, including cold cuts. I don't think I ever went to a deli or a butcher shop.

On to Florida, which was an interesting experience. I have never lived in a place that had so many grocery stores! You couldn't drive four blocks without coming to another one. But there were really only two: Publix and WinnDixie. And wherever there was a Publix, there would be a WinnDixie across the street or at least in the same block. It amazed me that you never had to drive more than five miles to find a grocery store. How could one area support so many stores?

When I lived in Florida, though, I always shopped at Publix. Just liked it better. And it was amazing how much cheaper my grocery bill was in Florida! I never realized how expensive things were in New York. Now, there were two Publix stores that I liked. One was a bigass store at Glades and 441. Really nice - but I learned to avoid it between January and April. Why? Snowbirds. The population would double in the winter. So I would go to the Publix on Sandlefoot during those times. Now, there was an excellent deli near my house and I did get cold cuts there on occasion, but not too often.

In Texas, we have a few choices - Albertsons, Randalls, and HEB. That would be H*E*B. It's initials, not a word. The guy who founded the chain was named H.E. Butts. I think it was a wise move to just go with HEB. At any rate, I shop at HEB now. For everything.

Sometimes, I find myself saying "I'm going to Grand Union", which really puzzles me. I haven't shopped at Grand Union since I left New York in 1994. It must be senility setting in.

Oh, and of course Walmart is everywhere..... but I HATE to shop at Walmart. I don't want to buy my food where people are buying tires and sneakers and toilet seats, okay? I just want a grocery store. In and out, without having to deal with all the rest. They opened a HEB Plus store here recently and I hate it. I think they are trying to Walmarticize it. NO NO NO. Just groceries, okay?

But, I do hate grocery shopping. So why did I just spend so much time writing about it? I already told you that I'm weird.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still et my meats at TWEEDY's