Profile America: Self-Service


Tuesday, September 6 —  On this date one century ago, America’s grocery shopping experience began to change to what is familiar today.  For many years, the practice was for clerks to fetch the items shoppers wanted, and collect them at a counter for the purchase.  When Piggly Wiggly opened its first store at 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis, customers picked up shopping baskets and selected their items from open shelves–a timesaving efficiency that became nearly universal.  In another innovation, Piggly Wiggly was the first food store to price-mark every store item. Piggly Wiggly franchises operate more than 600 of the nation’s 94,000 grocery stores.  Some 2.7 million people are employed in the industry, which rings up $5.6 billion in annual sales.  

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey.

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