Wednesday, December 05, 2012

SOMT: When A Supermarket Was Just Buying Family Groceries

Blogger’s Note: SOMT stands for Sign Of My Times, an occasional blog sharing my thoughts how time changes life from when I was young to today.

I was inspired to write the supermarket SOMT when Raley's and Nob Hill union workers went on strike for the first time in the supermarket's 77 year history against the parent company Raley's Supermarkets. I didn't shop at Nob Hill during the strike. Fortunately, the strike lasted a little over a week.

I remember shopping at retail stores for their primary goods when I was in elementary school. My family and I shopped at a retail store to specifically buy their primary goods. We bought groceries, milk, meat, and produce at a supermarket. We bought toilet paper, toothpaste, over-the-counter medicine, tissue, and soap at a drug store. We bought hammers, nails, glue, soil, plants, and wood at a hardware store. We bought oil, oil filters, and car batteries at an auto store. We bought clothes, bed sheets, ties, and shoes at a department store. We bought cakes, donuts, and pastries at a bakery. We bought pens, paper, and erasers at a stationary store. We bought footballs, basketballs, tennis balls, bats, gloves, and fishing supplies at a sports store.

There were overlaps sometimes. We bought school supplies at a drug store's back to school sale. We bought diapers at a grocery store when my mom didn't buy enough at the drug store. My brother and I bought toys at a department store because of their sales instead of a toy store. And I bought tennis shoes at a department store instead of a sports store. We rarely shopped at nurseries, meat stores, outdoor equipment stores, and hobby stores.

I didn't have a Target, Wal-Mart, Price Club, and Costco. I was in junior high when I entered a big box store for the first time. It was Price Club in San Leandro, CA. We got our first Price Club membership in my freshmen year in high school.

Forget The Drug Store

Today, some retail stores have a huge overlap in goods and services. Safeway is the best example. I could shop at Safeway for groceries, order a birthday cake in their bakery, deposit checks in their sponsored bank, fill up gas at the gas station located in their parking lot, eat a sandwich for lunch in their deli, drink hot chocolate in their sponsored coffee shop, buy roses for my girlfriend in the florist, buy fresh seafood for dinner in their full service meat department, get my prescription drugs in the pharmacy, rent a movie in the DVD machines. If I drink alcohol, Safeway has a section devoted to fine wines. I don't need to visit a bakery, bank, gas station, fast food restaurant, florist, and drug store. Shopping and errands are completed in one stop.

I have no opinion on big box stores, comparable medium size stores, and ma and pa stores. I still shop around and I still shop at multiple retail stores for their goods and services. There is no one stop shop for my errands, bare necessities, entertainment, desires, and wants. I spread my consumer spending around because the best goods and services are from different stores.

To end the blog, raise your hands if you remember the check out registers without scanners. The cashier manually entered the price and looked at the tax table to enter the tax. In particular, grocery cash registers entered the price and press the tendered button as grocery, meat, dairy, or produce, etc.

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