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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Everything old is new again

  • “Yes, I would like to place an order please. I need four cans of green beans, a 10-pound sack of potatoes, a 5-pound sack of sugar, a roast and a package of brown and serve rolls, please.”When I was growing up in the Delta community of Osceola, my mom ordered groceries over the telephone. Since she was unable ...
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  • “Hello… City Market.”
    “Yes, I would like to place an order please. I need four cans of green beans, a 10-pound sack of potatoes, a 5-pound sack of sugar, a roast and a package of brown and serve rolls, please.”
    When I was growing up in the Delta community of Osceola, my mom ordered groceries over the telephone. Since she was unable to drive and Dad worked during store hours (businesses back in the late 1950s and early 1960s usually were open 8 to 5 or 9 to 6) it was a handy convenience for her.
    She would give them the address and the order was filled, boxed and delivered right to our back door. Milk also was home delivered, right before sunrise.
    A polite rap on the door usually followed a friendly greeting… “Grocery boy, ma’am.”
    Mom would either pay him on the spot or she would have the store put it on her tab. That says a lot about trust back then doesn’t it?
    I remember getting excited when “grocery day” rolled around. I would ask Mom if I could have a box of “Sugar Smacks” or “Sugar Pops” – you know, any kind of healthy sugar-filled cereal that I had seen advertise on television.
    It seems that retail giant Wal-Mart has finally decided to go retro. I saw on a news broadcast the other night that the conglomerate in some areas of the county will experiment with filling grocery orders over the phone. Simply, pick up the phone call in your order and it will be filled by Wal-Mart employees and even delivered right to your front doorstep.
    Sounds familiar to I what I was recollecting above from the beloved 1950s.
    There also may be some variations on the program in which the order is filled by phone but the purchaser can go directly to the store where employees will help load the car.
    This seems to be a major turnaround from a business climate today that seems to have become so impersonal.
    I can see a lot of advantages to such a program. Transportation to and from grocery stores can also be a problem for many individuals including the physically handicapped. Certainly, there are a lot of seniors who could use the assistance while still being able to manage to remain independent.
    Of course there will be a fee for such a service but with the escalating price of gasoline, for some the service just might pay for itself after a couple of uses. For many, a trip to the grocery store can be an unpleasant experience of lengthy trips up and down the aisles. Ordering over the phone also might reduce buying some unwanted and not needed junk food items.
    Page 2 of 2 - Of course in this brave new world in which we live, there would have to be some safety precautions taken. This service, just like any other, could be taken advantage of by the criminal element. Some type of identification should be provided. After all, you can no longer open the backdoor to the friendly grocery boy like you did in the 1950s.
    As the old saying goes, “Everything old is new again;” or “What goes round, comes around again.”
    Anyway, it is nice to see that at least some businesses are willing to go back and try something from the past that just might work again.

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