Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clarence Saunders

A professor, who comes in here alot, was making conversation, well, because of my poor attempts at doing so. I'm good at "hi" but not so good afterwards.

He mentioned going to Winn Dixie next in his travels and we pondered the name of the store. I told him in my youth I could only remember two grocery stores Piggly Wiggly and Winn Dixie. This led to him  talking about his home town, Memphis, where everyone knew of the "Pink Mansion". Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders lived there. Apparently some stock options went bad... or something. He also invented a store called the Keedoozle... At any rate, Piggly Wiggly was basically the invention of the self serve grocery store.

I looked it up. And here is the first Piggly Wiggly store:

Notice the fences and turnstiles. I would guess that these were considered indespensible in the day. Apparently, either for security or customer traffic. Saunders liked to guide the customers through the store to see all the merchandise.  Do you remember those one way aisles? I do. Thankfully now most grocery stores are friendly to those who just stop in to get a few things these days. Saunders wanted to fully automat the stores.
The idea that Saunders pioneered shopping baskets and checkout should make you ponder about the greatness of the man. He was however forced into bankruptcy by stock manipulations.
If you would like to read further about  his attempts to design a fully automated store using no grocery carts in addition to another store with the concept of "self checkout" try this link:

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