Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Grandfather's Grocery Store

When I was a kid, we often played a game I refer to as My Grandfather's Grocery Store. Basically, a group of people are sitting around and one says "My grandfather owns a grocery store, and in it he sells something that begins with the letter A". Everyone tries to guess what the item is, and who ever guesses goes next, using the letter B, and so on through the entire alphabet. It was a great game to keep us kids occupied on long car trips.

Once my sister's kids were old enough, we played the game with them as well. It was great on holidays when everyone was too full from the obligatory feasting to move anything other than their mouths. Even though my niece and nephew were of the Playstation generation, often needing special effects or high tech graphics to keep them entertained, they did seem to find this game pretty engaging. It was a challenge to see if you could stump everyone else, to see who could guess the item first, and to see who guessed correctly the most times. It is a game that really allowed kids to use their imagination, because let's face it, that letter Q is a toughie.

However, I fear that in a couple more generations, this game may become extinct to the majority of kids, because the small town grocery store is dying. Even in my small town, and the small towns around me, there are only a couple of actual small town grocery stores, not belonging to a national chain. My husband will often tell me that 10 years ago, it was a different story.

It is hard for mom and pop places to compete with national chain stores. And I myself am completely guilty of favoring the convenience of one stop shop, or a shopping center, over shopping in town. Also, it is hard to beat the prices of a bigger chain. But still, when I lived closer to Pittsburgh, I would often shop in the Strip District, and see it as an adventure. So, maybe as the weather warms, I should explore the small shops in my town, and surrounding small towns, to try to give them some of my business. I do not want the small town store to die. Because, let's face it, My Grandfathers Walmart and My Grandfather's Whole Foods just do not have the same ring to them.