Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mini Size Me

Stores have become professionally designed as slick subliminal sales machines. Products are strategically placed for sale and collateral sales. People are so far in debt these days often because they are victims of the science of marketing. I get a creepy feeling when I go into a supermarket and see all this junk stuffed on the end caps. It is a good reason to make a list and stick to it when you go to the market. Remember the marketing machine is out to get you and strip you of your lucre.

So how does one shop for groceries without all the “entrapments” of Fred Meyer and Safeway, and yet not pay an arm and a leg for things at a convenience store? It is odd how only the people who are really local to the smaller markets ever go there. I’m talking about Ken and Sons in Warrenton, Hunt’s Market in Svensen and Okey’s Sentury Market in Naselle.

These stores don’t provide a lot of room for shopping, but they generally have everything you could ever need. They were considered to be large stores in the 50s before the Super Market came into being. These stores aren’t full of marketing glitter. At most there may be some plastic parsley sprigs between the meat sections.

These shops are locally owned and they take pride in purveying the best without going over the top. Pride in the things you sell is important, not only to the image of the store, but to the shopper as well.

One thing you will notice when you go into one of these stores is that there is a friendliness that you don’t find in the larger stores. This is because the employees work for a place that is owned by a local community member and the store is a big part of the community, thus further cementing their personal bonds with the people who live there. The employees are stake holders in the store and the community. You normally don’t find disgruntled workers in a small market.

All I ask here is that if you normally go to one of the big food chain stores, please just for one week visit and support a small local grocer. I think you will find that the smaller stores don’t offer as much as the big stores, and that’s a very good thing.


Blogger Trop said...

I can't say we were ever suckers for the hard (or soft) sell, but our WMDs (weapons of massive debt) are: planning, a good list, a realistic budget, and cash only. We live by the old-fashioned cash-envelope system.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shop at Hunts several times a week some items are less expensive, you can't beat the service,one of the best meats in town, costco rates high as well, the only problem I have with costco is you have to buy bulk.
Robots work at Freddys/Safeway.

7:37 AM  
Blogger denise said...

I do all of my "other" shopping locally, ie: coffee, media, books, but when it comes to grocery shopping the locally owned biz tends to be to expensive for me. I dont blame them, they have to to compete with the super stores, unfortunately it also removes them from MY budget. But I support my local business's however I can.

9:32 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trop, obviously you learned well. It was something I learned the hard way.

Hunt's is a wonderful shop.

Denise, I bet you are talking about Peter Pan, and that is what I consider a convenience store, but it could go either way. Their prices are high. That place has so much missed potential.

10:04 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Hey, anyone out there living in the Knappa area, or anyone with a camera who will be driving by there, I need a photo of Knappa Square for a story I'm working on. I'll give photo credits if you want, or not if you don't. I just don't feel like driving out there to take a photo. Please email them to me at


10:07 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I try, I really do – but then end up feeling guilty about the amount of gas I use driving around. One small grocery store has excellent fruit & vegetables, another great meat and another fabulous baked goods. (And, no these stores are not within walking distance of one another.)
However, I will never, never go to the SUPER STORES. Absolutely exhausting and disgustingly over-the-top.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'm afraid my local store in one town is way overpriced, and the one in the other nearest town has inferior produce. And both are lacking in some things I use. They just don't have the space to stock everything.

I will admit that on a week when I opt to do my shopping at one of these, though, I spend less. Why? Because I BUY less there.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

amen from someone whose family used to be in the grocery still amazes me the FTC or some other meddlesome government agency hasn't questioned the fairness of the business practices of Walmart...when you own the entire supply chain it screams least to me

11:15 AM  
Anonymous THartill said...

Knappa has a square? Who knew?

I remember my mom harping on this point almost daily. She shopped locally owned stores whenever she could and was very afraid when Costco came in that many would go out of business. But I don't think it has turned out quite as dreary as she imagined back then. Sure a few are out, but many are still going strong and offering an alternative to the big boys.

It's good for all of us that they stay in business, imagine how shitty the big boys customer service would be if they had no competition except for themselves?

Cant wait for the word verifier to be turned off. I spend more time messing with that than writing the comments....I seem to type it in wrong 1/2 the time....

11:27 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I turned the word verifier off. Hopefully the spam storm has passed.

Another problem with the big stores, is no only do they hurt the local stores, but they all have a pharmacy and that's really kicked the snot out of our local drug stores. My favorite pharmacy is in the Park Medical building. Just medical stuff, no ceramics or greeting cards. If you go in with a script you leave with it ten minutes later. No multi hour waiting involved.

Buying less is my point, Donna. I recall a film a few years back wher RobinWilliams played a Russian that moved to the US, and when he saw the selection in the coffee isle he fainted. Variety is the spice of life, but I think we've taken it too far.

Beth and Lee, right on!

As for all comments, all I hope is that we consider the local shops. They are part of the community and deserve our support.

BTW Knappa Square is Grandma Patti's. There is a big sign that says Knappa Square that you can see from Rt. 30.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Trop said...

I learned the hard way Guy. I'm paying off my last marriage--a house that short sold, and a Volvo the ex neglected to pay off. I'm in the middle of a chapter 13.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunt's Market is wonderful. Where else can you go where they will send you home with your groceries if you forgot your checkbook?.. that is if they know you...Also, I had family visiting from out of the area and they stoped at Hunt's to get directions to our house. Someone there pointed them in the right direction and then called me to let me know our visitors were on their way. You don't get that at Safeway...

Since you mentioned Granny Patti's, that is a place I refuse to shop. I will always make the trip from Knappa to Miles Crossing to shop at Brim's instead of going to Patti's. That woman is very rude.


2:35 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trop, Chapter 13...Sorry to hear it especially after the President changed all the rules a few years back. Well I hope your book has a happy ending.

Love Anon, I can see where some folks could say that. Personally I get a kick out of her, and she has shown her generosity to me on several occasions. Plus she will take a lot of stuff on consignment that Brims won't. Can't wait for your comments on the article ; )

3:53 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Many years ago, I worked in a huge print shop and occasionally worked with an older gal that always had this great big book with her.
One night on swing, I had the plaeasure of working with her and she let me thumb through the book.
"Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living / Old Fashoned Cook book"
This lady lived by that book like the bible.
It addresses a lot of what is being discussed here.
Check out:
By god, I've got mine!

6:18 PM  
Blogger WenWhit said...

Very nice reminder, Guy. My family had a store for three generations before my cousin sold it off a few months ago. I felt the loss keenly, although I only get back home once or twice a year. The small stores have a sense of familiarity and friendliness that will never be duplicated in the big chains.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I love this financial tear you're on lately. It's something I ruminate on daily, as I try to keep this rickety boat afloat over here.

When we lived in Forest Ranch, there was a little store called Zavaterro's. Everyone in town just called it The Store. There was a bearded, scruffy and gruff giant of a man named Larry, missing random teeth, behind the counter and once you stopped being afraid of him, he'd make you out an index card and if times were short, you could buy groceries on credit, no interest. We had some very lean times and Larry fed our family through the winter.

One of the last things I did before we moved to Oregon was waddle my Little Man-stuffed belly in there and paid our tab. Two weeks later, Larry's son, in a meth-induced stupor, murdered his father with an axe to the chest while Larry slept on the couch.

Larry's younger son and ex wife took over, and soon a slimy mini mart organization opened a store right across the street. It's been almost two years and a fierce boycott of the new place continues without end in sight. Gave me hope.

9:38 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead, I'm very familiar with the book. Thanks for the reminder.

Wen, three generations? What a loss. So sad. Nothing can compare as you can see in Mo3's reply. Dang, now that's really sad.

Kind of make you want to make a special trip to Hunts or Ken's Select, doesn't it?

Haukie's on Youngs Bay almost had the small store feeling, except it was just a little too large to be the kind of small I'm talking about.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Auntie L said...

Back before the toll was taken off of the bridge, we would always buy our family goods at "Archie's" in Ilwaco or "Roys Market" in Long Beach. When I was very young I remember getting lost in the 3 aisles at Roy's and having a frightful meltdown because I was "lost". We always had a "tab" at Archies with bills being paid at the end of the month or whenever my parents could get scrape up the money.

8:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Auntie L, I thought you were a transplant here from further away, but you are local transplant.

These small stores kept many families alive during hard times. One can only hope they were always repaid in full, but I'm sure that's not the reality of it.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous walter richards said...

I like shopping at Jack's on the peninsula. The mix of old and new.

Besides the debt consideration of "mega-stores" getting you to buy more than you need, I wonder how much that contributes to America's obesity factor?

How much more "fat foods" do people buy, because an end-cap display catches their eye?

1:05 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Tons, and that translates to heart disease, diabetes. People pay up front and in the long run. Society pays as well.

2:59 PM  

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