Going into a store and hand-picking the items you want are mundane acts we perform weekly, if not daily. That freedom, now taken for granted, is a relatively new concept.
Shoppers did not have that option until exactly one hundred years ago, when the first self-serve grocery store opened in Memphis, Tennessee in September of 1916. Before that, customers had to request their items from a clerk.
Since then, grocery stores not only expect their shoppers to pick their own items, but also offer lanes for them to self-scan without having to interact with a single employee. The latter concept has still not caught on with most folks, who still prefer the human contact during the transaction.
That human contact is what makes some grocery stores a part of the settings of classic television shows, from back in the days of the town general store to the modern phenomenon of the convenience store. Here are five famous places where TV sitcom characters regularly purchase their groceries, and the shows on which they are found.
Olsen’s from Little House on the Prairie
Nels (played by Richard Bull), father of the mischievous Willie and snobbish Nellie, is the proprietor of the only place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota where Charles Ingalls (played by Michael Landon) and his family can get groceries.
Godsey’s General Store from The Waltons
Ike Godsey (played by Joe Conley) for the first few seasons ran the store by himself, but wife Cora Beth joined the cast for the rest of the show’s lengthy run.
Quik-E Mart from The Simpsons
His products are overpriced and his hot dogs are often past the sale date, but Apu serves as one of Springfield’s great characters. He is the father of octuplets, enjoyed a brief but sensational career as a lead singer, and was even selected as the town’s most desirable bachelor.
Ferguson‘s from All in the Family
In an episode called “Archie Eats and Runs” viewers first learned of Edith’s favorite grocery store, which she feared may have sold her the poisoned mushrooms that Archie may have eaten. In a later episode, she has a minor car accident in the parking lot of that same establishment.
Drucker’s from Green Acres
The store in Hooterville is named for Sam Drucker (played by Frank Cady) and also is featured in Petticoat Junction, where Uncle Joe frequently helps himself to the apples or any other merchandise that happens to appeal to his rather large appetite.