Have a Piggly Wiggly Holiday

Y’all know, by now, that I am a country girl.

Okay, yes, I am a coffin-sleeping, full-moon-worshiping, black-wardrobe-wearing, goth-Bandita country girl. But  still, y’all know that I love the country.

When Steve and I got married, we moved to the country as soon as we could. But I find myself a little spoiled by the present day, when even out here in the country, I’m not too far from what I want or need. I usually end up going to town once a day to pick up something.

When I was a little girl, that was not so. We lived on a farm, and my mom shopped at the Houchens grocery story in “town.”

“Town” was eight miles to the north. Eight miles was a significant drive back then. Even though my mom worked at a factory on the edge of that same town, she drove to work, and she drove home after work. No stops at a store on the weekdays. It just wasn’t done. 

“Town” was  a special trip.

We made the drive to town once a week, on Saturday, to wash clothes at the Wishy Washy, and to shop for groceries at Houchens. Sometimes we’d stop on the square at the Ben Franklin, and just every now and then, we’d go to the diner for a burger. But that was a rare treat.  The only other reason we went to town, was church on Sunday, or prayer meetin’ on Wednesday night.

Things have changed.

These days, the farmers around here drive into town every day for one thing or another, even just for breakfast or coffee. Families have more than one car. If someone decides she wants to fix spaghetti that night, and she’s out of pasta, she drives the ten or fifteen miles to the store and back, and doesn’t think twice about it. That’s what I do, but when I was a little girl, that would NOT have happened. If you forgot something, you usually did without it for a few days, until the next trip to town.

So although I  live further out now than I did then, the miles that separate me and the “town” seem far shorter now than they did when I was growing up.

When you live in Southern Kentucky, small towns punctuate the rural landscape the way ground black pepper spots good homemade mashed potatoes.

Just enough for what you need.

I’m happy to live in the country between two towns. One, to the north, is a big town. It has a university, two WalMarts, three Kroger locations (that’s the big grocery chain around here) and a mall. It also has a few liquor stores, which also sell wine, for which I am MOST grateful.

The other, to the south, is a small town. More like the one where I grew up. It has a town square. But it also has a WalMart, and just recently, a Lowe’s. It’s a dry county. No stores that sell alcohol.

But still, it has my favorite grocery store ever.

It has a Piggly Wiggly.

It’s small. The produce section is about the size of my kitchen table. It never has, and never will, stock fresh cilantro, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, exotic mushrooms, or a spice like saffron, that costs a stupid amount of money per ounce. Because they don’t have room, and the people who shop there, generally, don’t buy that stuff. If they need that stuff, they shop at the WalMart, which has a huge (though not high quality) produce section, or if they want a higher quality ingredient, they drive to the big town 20 miles north, to shop at the Kroger.

I love Piggly Wiggly because it is everything a small town grocery should be.

It has all the stuff you absolutely need, and almost none of the stuff to fix a recipe from Food & Wine magazine. And for some reason I can’t entirely explain, I’m glad about that.

I subscribe to Food & Wine, for the record. But I know that if hard times came around again, I’d go back to my raisin’, and I’d eat just fine without those hoity toity ingredients. When I fix a Food & Wine recipe, the only thing I expect to get at the Piggly Wiggly, is the meat.

Because here on the upper edge of the buckle of the Bible Belt, nobody cuts meat nowadays.   I asked, last summer, for the Kroger meat department to grind some sirloin for a new meatloaf recipe I wanted to make. They laughed at me.

“If corporate caught us grinding meat here, my ass would be grass,” the meat man said. I looked through the window behind him. There was an industrial-size meat grinder bolted to the stainless steel table back there.

“What’s that for?” I asked. He looked behind him, then back at me. “We don’t grind no meat here,” he said, and walked away.

At that point, I realized that as far as Kroger was concerned, I could eat what they packaged, or I could starve. And they didn’t care which option I chose.

At the small town Piggly Wiggly, they have a real, honest-to-goodness meat man. Okay, it might be a meat woman, but although I am a feminist at heart, “meat woman” just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? Ahem…

The meat man understands meat. He’s worked as a butcher of some sort for years. He knows the cuts. He knows their challenges. He can discuss my recipes and what I’m after, and can make suggestions on how to cook the different cuts if I have trouble. And if I want a two-inch steak, if he has the sirloin in the back, he’ll mess up his clean equipment to cut the steaks I want for the company I’ve invited that night.  I am impressed that he is willing to do this for me.

At the Piggly Wiggly, young high school boys sack the groceries for me just as they did for my mom when I was a little girl. And they carry these groceries out to my car for me. I don’t know any grocery store anywhere that still does that. Those days are gone, same as having somebody around to pump your gas at the gas station. When I was a little girl, and my mom shopped at Houchens, they carried her groceries to her car.  Now, only at the Piggly Wiggly.

The aisles are narrow at “The Pig”, and the entire store is smaller than the homes of some of my friends. The lights are fluorescent. The computer system at the checkout counter is…well..we’ll just call it retro.

But I go back there, week after week.

In part, I return for the people who work there. They say hello to me and I know they actually recognize me. I’m not just the next customer in line. If I’m absent for a few days, they say, “haven’t seen you in a while. ”

At Kroger, they know I’m there only because there is some computer entry, somewhere, in some corporate office, that says my Kroger Plus Card has been scanned. I can call the Piggly Wiggly, mid-afternoon, and ask them to cut  four sirloin steaks, two-inches thick, so I can pick them up later, and they’ll do it. I don’t have to leave a credit card number. They cut the steaks, leave them in the fridge in the back, with my name on them, and I pick them up when I can get there that evening.

  

Once, many years ago, Piggly Wiggly was the “big” grocery in that small town. As big-box stores took over, and small-town squares turned into shells of their former communities, not many small grocery chains–or small anything else–survived.

There is a rumbling around here, that Kroger will put a store in that small town to the south. It would be a lot easier to shop there than driving to the big town to the north. But do you suppose they will actually be any different than the Kroger in the big town? The one where “you can eat what we prepackage or you can starve” is the bottom line?

I’m thinkin’ not.

I hope, even if the small town does get a Kroger, that the Piggly Wiggly survives.

I’m working on a series that is set partly in a huge city, and partly in small towns like the one where I shop. One of the things I’m using in the story is that contrast. The way a character deals with moving from the city to the small town, and how it changes her.

I love reading series that are set in small towns. It seems like the settings and characters stick with me, long-term, more powerfully than do most big city adventures.  I think it’s easier to get attached to small town characters because those “character communities” that authors set up seem to fit in small towns more easily, and I love those communities.

 I think some of what I get at the Piggly Wiggly is also what I get when I read a series set in a small town.  Of all book series, those are the ones that I tend to finish–I get every book–and when the author moves on to another series, I still want more.  I think it’s a connection to the people and the places in the books.

I was browsing the aisles of the Piggly Wiggly a few weeks ago, and came across a display of those thin children’s books like ones they used to sell in the Houchens when I was growing up. In the Houchens, I’d spend the whole time my mom was shopping, standing beside that circular, spinning rack, checking out those little books.

I was sad to see that Piggly Wiggly’s book rack was way up at the top of the magazine rack. Maybe to keep little fingers from tearing up the books when Mom isn’t looking. And maybe, because times have changed, it’s not safe for mom to leave the little reader alone to do her shopping. Bad people hang out in small towns too, after all.

Outside the Piggly Wiggly, there are boxes full of real estate magazines and the local “swap and trade” weekly. Beside those are some drink machines, a kiosk where you can trade your empty propane tank for a full one, and off to the side, there’s Thunder.

Thunder is a plastic horse, and if you pay your money, he’ll take you on the ride of your life. He’s a little faded from years of sitting there, waiting for the next rider, but even in 2012, you can still get a ride for a quarter.

 

 

Okay, confession time.

I didn’t know that this is Thanksgiving week.

I thought it was next week. I think of Thanksgiving as the 25th or 26th of November, usually. Which should be, according to my internal clock, NEXT week. Not this week.

I got home from West Virginia on Friday and I started cleaning up the house and yard. Then somebody reminded me, last night,that this Thursday is Thanksgiving. I panicked a little.

And I got in the car and went straight to the Piggly Wiggly. They had three fresh turkeys left.

So tell me Bandits and Buddies…

Do you live in a big town, or a small town?

What grocery stores do you have?

What is your favorite place to shop for groceries? Do they know you at “your” store?

Have the big box stores taken over where you are? Or do you still have small community groceries?

Do you live where there’s a butcher and a green grocer? I admit that I turn a little green, myself, with envy, when I think of food sold by a specialist, and the wider choices that might mean.

Or do you live in a place like I do, where you have to depend on whatever they have at the big grocery?

Does your grocery still have a little rack of those thin children’s picture books?

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Comments

42 thoughts on “Have a Piggly Wiggly Holiday

  1. 1
    CateS says:

    I live just a mile from the local IGA grocery store. But 6 miles down the road, there’s a Walmart, Sam’s Club, 4 Marsh Supermarkets, 3 Krogers, the local co-op has 2 stores and there’s several ethnic food shops. Road construction has keep us from stopping by the stand alone butcher shop. My Sav-a-Lot closed. The IGA is my ‘Yikes I’m out of ‘store.
    Maybe you should get a little greenhouse kit and start some herbs… I live in central Indiana and my rosemary comes in for the winter and goes out for the summer… At some point I’ll have to give him to my sister who lives in the south.. when he gets too big for me to keep in the house..

    • 1.1

      Looks like the rooster is heading your way, CateS. Hope he doesn’t mess up your rosemary. He gets sort of nervous this week.

    • 1.2
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Hi CateS,

      I have some herbs in the garden, but don’t have them growing inside, primarily, because I don’t have a lot of light or much space. More and more though, I wish for them, and may do just as you say.

      I’d love to have ethnic food shops close by. There are one or two in the big town to the north.

      We actually have a Dollar Store up the road now, which I use for my “Yikes I’m Out Of” needs. Love that name, btw.

      And congrats on the rooster! Don’t let him do your shopping. That never works out.

  2. 2

    Cassondra – I live in a ‘burb of a big city. We have two Kroger stores, a Giant Eagle, and a Marc’s. Marc’s is the grocery division of Odd Lots. Everthing is prepackaged and it carries some unusual brands, but it’s a lot cheaper than the other stores. We go there for canned goods and emergency buys and to Giant Eagle for produce and meat.

    The community has been fighting putting in a Walmart for years, but they lost the battle and a new Walmart is going in near to one of the Krogers. Our community has a small town feel and I’m not sure what the impact Walmart will have. Our Kroger will carry out grociers and both Kroger and Giant Eagle will cut meat to your specifications – but I fear all this will be changing (sigh)

    • 2.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Donna, I didn’t know Kroger still carried out groceries anywhere. They long ago stopped that here. Even the Houchens stores, now, don’t carry out groceries. I suppose if you needed help, they’d do it. In fact I’m sure I’ve seen that on a sign somewhere. But it’s not automatic any more.

      I hope the Wally World doesn’t change the feel of your town. It’s hard for smaller stores to compete.

  3. 3

    Hi, Cassondra–As you know, I grew up in a small town. I used to walk to the grocery store (Johnston’s, I believe it was) with my grandfather. It was on Main Street, less than a mile from my house and only a few blocks from his.

    There was a Harris Teeter in the next town over (the two towns literally flowed into each other), and a larger but also locally owned store opened when I was in high school, but Johnson’s stayed around until Mr. Johston retired.

    After that, the building became a dress shop, and then a succession of restaurants.

    There’s nothing like small-town service. The butchers at Piggly Wiggly cut your steaks and hold them because they know you.

    Big chain stores have traditionally been the death knells of small town Main Streets. I hope that won’t happen where you are.

    When we went to the swamp last weekend, we also visited Waycross, Georgia, at the north end of the Okefenokee. It has a booming, very busy bypass full of chain stores and restaurants. The downtown area is beautiful–lots of old buildings with unique architectural details–but was nearly deserted at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon. That’s just sad.

    • 3.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Nancy, I’ve seen a lot of towns try various approaches to keeping their downtown areas alive. It takes ingenuity and thinking outside the box, that’s for sure, and a lot of small towns don’t make it. The most successful attempts I’ve seen have focused on the encouragement of boutique shops and non-chain restaurants. Stuff that you can’t get out on “the strip.” When a new place opens on the strip, the people desert the downtown area for a few days, but then they come back, bored with the “sameness” of those cookie cutter places. The big town to the north is doing a fairly good job of keeping its downtown going. Not great, but good. The small town with the Piggly Wiggly? Not so much. I also hate to see it go, but I get frustrated with the way of thinking that doesn’t encourage those areas to stay competitive by doing something different.

      • 3.1.1

        I hope the Piggly Wiggly doesn’t go.

        One thing that saved Davidson’s downtown, I think, is having the college campus directly across Main Street. Also, there was no real place to put a bypass “strip.” The interstate runs across part of a big lake, and the two adjacent towns already had development along the highway.

        You know, Waycross had some cute shops I wouldn’t have minded checking out, but they were closed. Folkston, which is closer to the swamp entrance we used, is smaller than Waycross but had more activity around its downtown.

  4. 4
    Helen says:

    Cassondra

    Lovely post I really am looking forward to reading one of your books. We live in a fairly average city with lots of shopping centres and supermarkets we have Woolworths, Frankilins, Coles, IGA and Aldi. I do most of my shopping at Aldi and Woolworths but I always buy my meat from the butchers and my fruit and vegies from the fruit market I will pick meat and vegies up at the supermarkets as well sometimes but I prefer to get those things from the specialty shops. And yes at most of the supermatkets they do have shelves with the books on them

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 4.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I adore Aldi! I am a huge fan of their extra dark chocolate bars. Here they have the lowest prices around on most everything, and I am all about that! :)

      • 4.1.1
        Cassondra Murray says:

        Posh, the prices at our Aldi are low too, but the store isn’t inviting. In spite of the prices, I always make it my last choice because I just don’t like to go there. I wish we had a better one.

    • 4.2
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Helen, we have an Aldi in the big town to the north, but I don’t much like to go there. I think it must be a poor excuse for Aldi, as I’ve heard other people say they love theirs. We used to have Food Lion, but they had some bad publicity and that was the end of them.

    • 4.3

      Helen, I’m really looking forward to reading one of Cassondra’s books, too. :-)

      I envy you your specialty shops. We don’t have those, so much. We have wine shops and a couple of fancy groceries, but no butchers or cheese shops or such.

  5. 5

    Cassondra, what a lovely piece! I love your take on life! Actually you brought back so many memories for me. I grew up in a tiny little farming hamlet about 25 miles from the state’s capital city. These days, people live in Redland Bay and commute every day but back then, it was a major journey to get to the city (narrow roads, for a start). We only went for special stuff – family get-togethers or if I was lucky, Mum would take me to the ballet, the highlight of my year. There were a couple of what now would be called convenience stores in fairly easy reach but for a proper grocery store, we had to go to Cleveland eight miles away. And that was a hike! So much so that when I wanted to learn ballet, my parents felt it was too far to take me once a week. As you say, if you didn’t have something in the cupboard, you went without until the next BIG grocery shop.

    • 5.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Anna, so interesting that your childhood experience was so much like mine in that way.

      I think there are parts of the country where it still is the case–if you forget something, you do without, because it’s fifty miles to the grocery. Now we just hop into the car and zip to town without a thought. Gas prices have made me think twice a few times this past year, but nevertheless, if I want to go, I just do it. *heavy sigh* Spoiled I am, I suppose.

      • 5.1.1

        Casssondra, I think life is so different now – and honestly, it’s not like either of us is 100! Sadly, my little farming hamlet is now basically a dormitory suburb pretty much covered in houses. It’s right by Moreton Bay and very picturesque and halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast so now that the roads are better and people travel more, it was the ideal place for development. So funny to look back and think how isolated in many ways we were!

  6. 6
    Caren Crane says:

    Cassondra, I live in a big suburb of the big city. Even here, though, I have a tiny little taste of that small-town grocery store in my local Food Lion. At Food Lion (which used to be a chain called Food Town prior to the mid-80s), the butcher will still cut up a whole sirloin shoulder any way you want: a roast, some ground, some tips, whatever. They will still ask if you need help out to your car (and provide a usually non-surly teenager to do just that).

    At least, that’s how the Food Lion was up on the corner from my house. But last year, they closed that store and opened a new one. It is probably only a tenth of a mile farther from the house, but it’s to the south and we head north for everything we need. For that reason, I haven’t been to the new Food Lion. Now that they have that fancy new store, who knows if they even cut meat anymore? Lots is lost to “progress”.

    I have to laugh about Piggly Wiggly. They still populate any number of small towns in NC and SC, but there hasn’t been one near us EVER. There is one, though, on Hilton Head Island. A fancy-ish one, too, for a Piggly Wiggly. Except…if you look at pictures in which I’m tagged on Facebook, you’ll see a picture taken by my best friend from high school this summer at the Pig. Her husband, my husband and I are pointing in awe to a sign hanging over aisle 10. The top item listed on the aisle sign? Butt Wipes. Not sanitary wipes or cleansing cloths or baby wipes. Nope. At the Pig, these are Butt Wipes.

    I love Piggly Wiggly for keeping it real, even on Hilton Head Island! :)

    • 6.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      SNORK!!!

      Okay I spewed coffee on the monitor. Butt wipes? OMG!!!

      Until I left home and went into the music business in Nashville, I had never heard of Piggly Wiggly. We used to joke about the name. There is not one in the big town to the north. Only in the smaller town. When I moved to this house, we started shopping in the smaller town sometimes, because it was so much easier to get in and out of town. Far less traffic to deal with. And that’s where I found the Piggly Wiggly and fell for its down-home ways.

      We have Food Lion around here too–but the one in the small town to the south went out of business. They had some folks get sick because of improper sanitation in…yes, you guessed it…the meat department. They lasted less than six months after that. The building still sits empty. I was sorry about that, and believe I would probably shop at Food Lion if it were still around.

      I like Kroger okay, but it’s amazing how widely they vary. Even the three in the big town have differences. One is MUCH higher-end than the other two. But when I travel, for instance down to Peachtree City in Georgia, and visit THEIR Kroger, I think my high-end Kroger is actually really lame.

      Not sure what it says about our area that nobody has put in a high-end grocery here. What are we, chopped liver? *sigh*

  7. 7
    Cassondra Murray says:

    Woops. I posted my response to Cate down here. I’m editing and putting it up where it belongs.

    The crazy day is not getting any less crazy, it seems. One thing after another.

  8. 8
    Jane says:

    I live in the city and we have a few chains like Pathmark, Associated and Key Food. There are also plenty of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. When I visit my cousin in Detroit we go to Krogers and Meijer. They used to have Farmer Jack, too, but they closed down. For meat and veggies, we usually go to Chinatown. The produce is much fresher there.

    • 8.1

      Jane, we have a Trader Joe’s now. They send out their ad circular, and it looks great, but parking is in a deck and totally insane, so I don’t ever go there. A friend says it’s okay if you go right when they open, but that’s early for me. And I simply hate cruising a busy parking deck looking for a spot.

    • 8.2
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Jane, when I’ve been in the City, I’ve never seen any sizeable grocery stores at all. Just little bitty places. I’ve wondered where people in New York and downtown Chicago and other major metropolitan areas shop if it’s not at small specialty stores. Our chains are just HUGE stores, with acres, literally, under roof, and the parking lots are even bigger. But we have the space for that. Even with parking decks, I just can’t see there being space for that in huge, centralized cities. Some day when I’m up there I want to try out some of those chains I’ve never seen. That would be interesting.

  9. 9
    Beth Andrews says:

    I live in a small town and we’re down to two “chain” grocery stores and one very small locally owned store. In a town this size, someone usually knows me wherever I shop (or knows my kids, my husband, my parents…) It’s tough when the choices are so limited but we do try to hit a bigger store in Buffalo every few months *g*

    • 9.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Beth there’s definitely good and bad about being in a small town or rural area.

      I don’t feel deprived, honestly. The fresh ingredients are the things I miss most. And we’ll get there, I think, as more people get the income and the cultural experience to demand those foods. A few years ago, the produce sections were even smaller, but we have a HUGE population of immigrants here, and that has done wonderful things for produce. Those sections of the groceries have expanded by double.

  10. 10
    pjpuppymom says:

    Wonderful blog, Cassondra! After many years in the big city where I did most of my shopping at the Navy base, I now live back in a small town. Well, about five miles from town. I live on the lake. We have a large Wal-Mart, Bi-Lo, Ingles and Aldi on the by-pass. In the original downtown area there’s a small Hometown grocery where they still cut meat for you but selections of anything outside the meat department are high priced limited. We have a meat processing company that also sells retail and is very competitive on pricing. I buy steaks, roasts and sausage there. The quality is superb and I can call, tell them what I want and it will be ready when I get there. Very customer friendly!

    I buy most of my produce summer and fall from the local farmer’s market.. The rest of the year, I’m restricted to the grocery stores.

    Publix is building a store in the university town nine miles from our town. I love Publix! I’ll probably be visiting it every time I go to the university student center to stock up on blue cheese.

    • 10.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh, I LOVE Publix too! I wish we would get a Publix up here. Even more than that, I wish we would get a Fresh Market, but I don’t see it happening. It’ll be another decade before Bowling Green would support a store like that. *heavy sigh*

  11. 11
    Pat Cochran says:

    Hi Cassondra,

    1. We live in the 4th largest city in the coun-
    try – Houston.

    2. We have Wal Mart, Kroger, Randall, HEB,
    Food Fair/Gerland, & Target has added food
    departments. We also have Whole Foods,
    Rice Epicurean, & a brand new Trader Joe’s,
    which are all an upgrade on the regular
    stores. Whole Foods is the only one of the
    three that I’ve shopped at.

    3. Kroger and Wal Mart are my favorites,
    mainly because they are close by and no,
    they do not know me. My face maybe, we
    are in WM once or twice a week.

    4. Box stores everywhere!

    5. Green grocer – don’t know of one. Butcher
    shops scattered over the city.

    6. Back in the day, our family home was in
    what we called the “country.” Actually it
    was 12 blocks outside the city limits. When
    I was 9/10 y/o we shopped at Weingarten’s,
    which became my favorite place to shop,
    even after we married. Alas, that chain and Safeway are both gone.

    7. There are circular racks in most stores, but
    they don’t always hold books, The last one
    I saw held e.l.f. cosmetics!

    Pat C.

    • 11.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Pat, Houston is one of the cities I’ve never visited. Wow. I don’t think I realized it was the fourth largest in the country!

      And you have a LOT of grocery stores!

      Yes, Whole Foods and its ilk are one of the things we lack up here. They have one in Nashville, and I love going there, but I fear it’ll be a long while before we get such a high-end store in our smaller town.

  12. 12
    catslady says:

    I live in the suburbs -always have. Our closest store is a Shop ‘n Save. Both my daughters worked there during high school and now my youngest works two jobs and is back. It is probably a medium size store. Not like our Giant Eagles that have a ton of different types of shops included but I’m not much of a driver so I stay closer to home. But our butchers will do anything you ask of them. I can’t believe they won’t at your Krogers.

    • 12.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      I KNOW!

      It’s just wrong that they really aren’t butchers at all. They’re just “repackagers” for the most part.

      The kids coming back home is interesting I bet. Is one of her “new” jobs at the Shop N Save?

      • 12.1.1
        catslady says:

        I didn’t say that very clearly lol. Neither are living at home but she is back from college and yes, the one job is at the grocery store. Her and her boyfriend have an airbrushing/art shop nearby and since they like her at the grocery store, she can get days off for events (they go and airbrush at sports and dance events and even do murals) where a “real” job in her field would be impossible right now. When they both are away I watch the store lol.

  13. 13
    Mozette says:

    So tell me Bandits and Buddies…

    Do you live in a big town, or a small town?

    I live in Logan City; which is what is known as a Satellite City. This is a city which is built outside the CBD of a major city for poor people, but it took off and has flourished in its own right. I grew up here and it used to be ‘out in the sticks’ but now it’s not and has an infrastructure of its own.

    What grocery stores do you have?

    We have Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Foodstore, The Big Apple (a fruit market), The Big Gun Marketplace (another fruit market with a massive WWII gun on top of it) and IGA

    What is your favorite place to shop for groceries? Do they know you at “your” store?

    The Big Apple – as it’s only a 10 minute walk down the road from me and they’ve gotten to know me very well; and the owners are Greeks! Wonderfully kind people!

    Coles Logan Central Plaza – the manager knows me as do most of the staff as I’m there every fortnight to buy my groceries. I’m known as the woman with the blue trolley around Logan Central. :D

    Have the big box stores taken over where you are? Or do you still have small community groceries?

    Aldi has begun to take over… I don’t like them because I can’t buy everything I need in the one place.

    Do you live where there’s a butcher and a green grocer? I admit that I turn a little green, myself, with envy, when I think of food sold by a specialist, and the wider choices that might mean.

    Well, The Big Apple is a fruit market. And next door is going to be a bake house/bistro owned by the same people… very cool!

    Or do you live in a place like I do, where you have to depend on whatever they have at the big grocery?

    Yes. I like going to my Coles as it’s a nice small place, it’s cheap – because it’s in a poor area – and I feel safe shopping there. Also, I can dress any way I like and people don’t judge me; even if I go without make-up or don’t do my hair some days (as there are people who do worse than I do and wear their pajamas out shopping! And I mean, dressing gown, slippers… the lot!)

    Does your grocery still have a little rack of those thin children’s picture books?

    Oh! Yes! Little Golden Books? Of course! And every little kid wants them! :D

    • 13.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      YES! Little Golden Books! I’d forgotten the name, but my goodness, my love of stories comes from that, as much as anything else.

      Wow, you have a lot of stores near you. The lady with the blue trolley…is that a blue shopping cart? That sounds very festive and a fun way to do your shopping!

      I see people out and about in their pajamas all the time now, and I always have to stop myself from staring. Times have changed I guess. I don’t go out in my pajamas, but I suppose it could be worse. They could be WITHOUT pajamas…

      REALLY don’t wanna go there…

      • 13.1.1
        Mozette says:

        Aaah yes.. I loved those books.. so cute!

        And as for PJ’s? Well, seeing I don’t wear any, it’s not really a choice for me to go shopping like that. And besides, you gotta sleep in your own bed at night! Just think of all the gross things your PJ’s have picked up in that day of walking around in them and you’ve put all that in your bed sheets and into your mattress! Disgusting!

  14. 14

    Hey Cassondra!

    My parents’ hometown had a Piggly Wiggly and another grocery called White’s. I love them both.

    We have several big chains in Texas where I live, but I love my Krogers. Hubby would buy all things at Whole Foods, but I draw the line at that. I can get meet cut or ground to choice at Krogers. I can get things I need, and I tend to go late at night or early in the morning, so my check out people recognize me, too.

    IF we had a piggly wiggly nearby, I’d probably shop there, too!

    • 14.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Dang.

      I need your Kroger meat people to come and jerk my Kroger meat people into the right attitude.

      For real.

      :(

  15. 15
    Louisa says:

    Great post Cassondra! And it brought back SO many memories. We lived in Selma, Alabama for five years in the sixties. Piggly WIggly was THE place to shop. And I believe it is still open!

    I live on a dirt road eight miles from the local Walmart (where I also work!) However, if I need something on my day off I only go as far the local Winn Dixie to shop. And they still have a meat man there who will carve or grind your meat if you ask.

    As this is a small town everyone knows everyone (and their business.) The joke is, if you don’t know what you’re doing ask someone. They’ll tell you! LOL

    I much prefer the pace here. In 1993 we had a surprise snowstorm right before Easter. I couldn’t get my truck out of my driveway so I rode my horse, Taz, to the grocery store and back. People still see me as the lady who rode the horse to the store in spite of the fact Taz passed away ten years ago.

    I really hate that the big box stores have run so many of the smaller more personal stores out of business.

    • 15.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Ah, Louisa, I mourn the loss of Taz. :(

      But so cool that you rode your horse to the grocery!

      And you would know more than most, how the big box stores are making the small business disappear.

      But then I say…any business must adapt to the changing environment. Those businesses have not done so, but I hope new businesses will come along and be more flexible and adapt as necessary. Nothing ever stays the same, no matter how we’d like it to do so.

  16. 16
    Susan Sey says:

    Hey, Cassondra–

    I just love your posts. They make me wish I lived in your town so I could shop at the Piggly Wiggly, too.

    I’m lucky enough to have a great meat market around the corner from my favorite bagel shop. It’s expensive, so I don’t splurge tremendously often but whenever I need expertise & advice, they’re the guys I turn to. They’re also my go-to guys for a Thanksgiving turkey, any time I’m doing red meat, or whenever grilling season kicks off. I just love their stuff. Plus they never laugh at me when I start a sentence with “Okay, so I was a vegetarian for sixteen years….” They just nod sympathetically, like they’re glad I got out of there alive & are delighted to have me back.

    I love them. :-)

    • 16.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh SUSAN!

      I had no idea you’d endured such torture and deprivation.

      I also am glad you made it through.

      And thank goodness, you have come over to the side of the meat.

      Steak and a good Cabernet…that combination can change a life and make a person see God. For real.

      I’ve had a number of experiences with the Divine, and I have to say, the right steak with the right Cabernet…that was one of them.

      No, I am not kidding. As shallow as it sounds, I am totally serious.