Geek Trivia

Many Of The Modern Aspects Of Grocery Shopping Were Pioneered By Which Of These Stores?

Piggly Wiggly
Walgreen's Pharmacies
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Think about the modern experience of shopping in a big grocery store. If you reduce it to the simplest components, what are they? You’ve got items on shelves that you can pick yourself. Those items are individually tagged with prices. You put those items in a cart that you wheel around with you. Finally, you take the items in the cart up to a checkout lane and a clerk collects them and rings up your order.

Every single one of those core elements of the modern grocery shopping experience was introduced in the Piggly Wiggly chain of grocery stores in the early 20th century. In fact, the success of the first store (opened in 1916) and the subsequent locations was so great that other stores quickly copied the model used at Piggly Wiggly. The 1920s and 1930s saw a complete overhaul in the entire industry thanks to the pioneering designs found in Piggly Wiggly stores.

Although there are only a little over 600 locations now (down from the prime of the franchise in the early 1930s when they had 2,660), the impact the franchise and its founder Clarence Saunders had on the industry is enormous.

Image courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia.