Behold, my grocery store dress. And by that I do not mean the dress I wear exclusively to shop at the grocery store. No, this is a dress I bought at the grocery store. Even to me, that sounds like of goofy.
Grocery shopping has changed a lot in the last century, Before the 1920's, people didn't go to the Grocery Store, they went to the Market. And if you shopped at the market for fresh produce, you got your meat at the butcher shop, milk either directly from the dairy or from the milk man who came to your door, bread came from a bakery and like that. It was very compartmentalized.
Somewhere in the roaring 20's some really clever person came up with the idea of combining all of those different shops into one. It was called a Super Market. Not "super" by today's standards of course. While there was meat and produce and baked goods, it was limited in both quantity and variety. But it was one-stop shopping which made busy people's lives so much easier. To prepare for tomorrow's breakfast the woman of the house could suddenly buy milk and eggs, bacon and oranges (for juice), bread and either corn flakes, wheaties or cream of wheat all under one roof. It was was an exciting time for shoppers!
By the time I was a kid, most Super Markets had become Grocery Stores. The first Grocery Store that I remember was the Piggly Wiggly chain. I did a little reading about that particular store and they claim to have been the ones who were the First to allow shoppers to make their own selections. Up until then, customers handed their list to a clerk who chose the products, packed it and sometimes delivered it. It was a revolutionary idea to set up a store in such a way that shoppers walked around, randomly, making their own choices! They were also the first store to put prices on every package and have refrigerated cases for foods that really ought to be cold. All that and yet I wasn't aware that Piggly Wiggly even existed until we moved to Texas. It was the most remarkable super market I had ever seen. Every trip to the grocery store was exciting. It was so big! There was so much variety!
Now, here in Florida, we generally shop at Publix. It is a very nice store. Very clean, very organized, the staff are all exceptionally nice and again, it is a big store. Even the smaller ones (like the one here on the island) is a good sized store. It has a wide variety of things. Not just the food items such as: meat and bread and milk and fruit that used to require multiple stops but also (like most grocery stores nowadays) toiletries, cosmetics, over the counter medications, socks and cleaning products.
Almost whatever you need is right there in one store: pet food, lightbulbs, batteries, cotton balls, wrapping paper and school supplies. Greeting cards, magazines, chip clips and silly straws are handy. Paper back books, birthday candles and air fresheners specifically made for your car are within easy reach. It wasn't always this way, but I like it. It's efficient. A time saver. I vote yes to Super Markets and Grocery Stores!
Now, perhaps because we live in an area that has a lot of visitors, our store also has pool floaties, postcards, fishing supplies and sweatshirts that say Venice Florida on them. There are sunglasses of all different styles, hats and an entire wall of clothing. I am aware that these super extra things are in the store but I never really paid any attention to them before. I've been in that store at least once a week for that past five years and the clothing part so unimportant to me that I had kind of forgotten that it was there.
Until this past Monday. I decided to pick up a couple of lottery tickets and there was a bit of a line. Not a long line just a slow line. That's ok. I used to time to people watch, a fun hobby. I utilized my observational skills a bit. And that's when I noticed a lady very purposefully walking over to the wall of clothing. She zero-ed in on the dresses and patiently, one at a time, she would remove a dress, consider it and then hang it back up. Over and Over. Interesting. Eventually she made her decision and walked away. But the dress she left hanging front and center, I kind of liked. Hmmmmm.
In fact I liked it enough that I made my way over to the same rack and took a closer look. The dress was navy blue with a white and sporadic rather odd fish design and, as it so happens, I like both the colour navy blue and odd things. The label indicated that the dress was 100% cotton. That sounded very comfy to me. The label also declared that the dress was machine washable. I do appreciate easy care. And it was very reasonably priced. Hmmmmmm. I tossed the idea around in my mind for all of 30 seconds and then, impulsively threw it into my cart and finished my shopping.
I was a little concerned once I was home and had put the groceries away. I am rarely that spontaneous. What if it doesn't fit? Worse what if it does fit, but it's not comfortable or looks awful? How long does a grocery store dress last? Will it fall apart after the first washing?
Turns out that while it is a little big and I probably should have bought a small instead of a medium, it's super comfortable. And you know what? On really hot days, I don't want my clothes touching me anymore than absolutely necessary. This one only touches my shoulders. I like that. I wore it to the museum with my white denim jacket (it's cold in there!) on Tuesday and I looked perfectly museum appropriate. No one looked askance. Clearly it was good enough. And then when I got home, I threw it right back into the laundry pile. I just did the wash again today, and there it is hanging up ready to wear once more. So Simple, So Easy!
It never really dawned on me before to do my clothes shopping at the grocery store, but hey, I am a believer. I really and truly like my Grocery Store Dress! What will they think of next?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.