Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

…and welcome as we begin a new year of Pleasant Family Shopping, where we take a look at and discuss America’s great chain store history – old discount stores, supermarkets, and maybe even the occasional department or specialty store thrown in just for grins! Illustrated in artistic black-and-white, lifelike natural color and (wherever possible) super-saturated color, as in the photo above!

A young woman (dressed appropriately for grocery shopping, I might add) peruses the cereal aisle in this Weyerhaeuser packaging promotional photo from a 1960 McGraw Hill advertising text. I would date the actual photo itself back to 1957, based upon the cereal box designs and the expert guidance of Dan Goodsell’s Cereal Box Archive on his wildly entertaining Tick Tock Toys/Imaginary World website. And wow, 17 cents for a box of Corn Flakes!

They say that you can tell a lot about someone from what they buy, so let’s take a look, eh? Let’s see…Medosweet milk, which would locate this scene probably in the Washington state area…a Kellogg’s cereal “Variety Pak”…(Costs more this way, but hey – everyone’s happy)…umpteen packages of Jello…(There must’ve been a federal mandatory minimum Jello purchase in those days)…a Flintstones-sized steak…(There’ll be some hearty eatin’ tonight!)…a two-pound box of Nabisco Premium saltines…(Never seen one of those before, guess the fam must be into soup!)…eggs, celery and egg noodles…(Rounding out the food groups - sure was easier in those pre-pyramid days when there were only four)…a carton of Chesterfields…(Who needs filters? Besides, Perry Como smokes ‘em! On his show!)…a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon…(Obviously a family of taste)…and let’s not forget the box of Tide, “The Washday Miracle”…(Definitely among the most photogenic of consumer products). So there you have it – a thrifty homemaker eager to please her Pabst drinkin’, Chesterfield smokin’, Red-meat eatin’ family!


  1. Definately 1957 and not 2008, as the purchases are too politically incorrect. Chesterfields, Pabst Blue Ribbon and a hunk of red meat.
    All is missing is lard and real butter from the card, though I'm sure Crisco(hydrogenated oh my!) may have been prefered for its more photogenic qualities and blatant product placement imagery.

    I never knew 2 lb packages of Premium crackers existed either, not even at Sam's or Costco of today. Where are the cans of Umm Umm Good Campbells when they are needed?

  2. Unfortunately, no one dresses up to go shopping anymore. Happy New Year, Dave! Looking forward to 08!

  3. Anonymous - I agree, this photo is definitely far pre-dates the PC era.

    Campbell's must not have ponied up the placement fee.

    And the Crisco would have fit in perfectly - maybe it's hidden in the bottom of the cart!

  4. Didi - Same to you, and hope your holidays were great!

  5. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. Your facts, as well as your witty writing style make this a unique blog. I appreciate all your efforts

    The first thing I saw in Carol’s basket (she seems like a Carol to me) was that mammoth steak! Was she feeding an army? How do you even cook something like that?

    On top of all that Jell-O (I believe 6 boxes was the legal minimum in 1957) I think I see a pack of gum (Adams maybe?), I think Ron (her husband) may need it. Chesterfields and Pabst can leave you with some “interesting” breath, ask my dad!

    Happy New Year. I’m looking forward to your future posts.

    P.s. I loved your Slurpee post, I grew up on those things, now I share them with my son.

  6. Vintage DLTs - Thanks a bunch, and glad you're enjoying it!

    Carol? Definitely seems plausible to me. Let's run with it! I think the gum is Beech-Nut, but don't hold me to it. And as far as the steak goes, maybe Ron dug a pit in the backyard and they cooked it on a spit-

    Thanks again!

  7. I am from a big family with 6 kids and a soup-loving dad. I think we always had a 2-pound box of saltines. Love this blog.

  8. Kate - Thanks so much! And we're soup lovers too, both homemade and good old Campbell's. We'd definitely buy those 2-pound boxes if they were still available!