Saturday 4 November 2023

hypermarket (11. 095)

Via the always excellent Web Curios, we’re informed of an interesting though limited time campaign (now

expired) run by a German discount grocery chain, which although the cynic in me detects a push to collect more consumer data or at least single out the gullible ones for a more pernicious form of targeted advertising and we happily could not take advantage of as we had nothing to swap, struck us as quite brilliant. Fresh4Trash took place during the month of October and invited shoppers to trade in their worthless NFTs for coupons and vouchers for fresh produce. Although no longer on offer, there is a fun Wall of Lame to explore, a gallery of digital art, tokens and coins redeemed for fruit and veg to explore.  Hopefully this campaign will never be repeated—until the next speculative craze comes along.


one year ago:  the discovery of King Tut’s tomb (1922) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: haikus on the Periodic Table plus a competition to replace Laocoön’s lost arm

three years ago: the folk etymologies of the hangover

four years ago: a protest rally and ultimatum in East Berlin,  Pigovian subsidies plus the science of voting

five years ago: back in the scent lab,  a love letter to the US Library of Congress plus more links to enjoy

Wednesday 25 October 2023

8x8 (11. 074)

hilma af: a planned towering gallery for the Swedish artist realised as a virtual reality experience  

papercraft: gorgeous moderne four palette architectural models to make 

the book of hallowe’en: a 1919 illustrated, syncretic study of the appropriated holiday in the spirit of the Golden Bough  

swarm charms: a go-to guide of medieval bee spells 

trainspotting: an omnibus post on avoiding rail collisions including a nineteen century timetable still in use 

reconstruction: the sounds of ancient languages—see also 

the logo is formed from minifig hands: the new LEGO Dune playset  

flow-chart: a study on the abandoned shopping-carts of America  

you may touch the artefacts: a gallery of early internet relics from Neal Agarwal—see previously


one year ago:  further adventures in Crete

two years ago: the US Invasion of Granada (1971)

three years ago: a hexadecagonal country retreat, SS Crispin and Crispinian plus pandemic gods and heroes

four years ago: a lyrical headline (1924), a video game atlas plus the world’s first erotic boutique proprietress 

five years ago: The Master Key of Futurity, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens plus programming a more ethical Pac Man

Friday 15 September 2023

9x9 (11. 002)

you deserve to sit: a comedian’s silly song about their favourite inactivity  

๐Ÿ˜ธ: visit a random feline friend featured on Wikipedia—via Pasa Bon!  

& let it stonde .1. nyght or .2.: a medieval recipe for mead  

montage: the animated collages of Alice Issac  

shrinkflation: a French supermarket chain displaying advisory labels to alert consumers 

word alienation and semantic satiation: one of the laureates of the thirty-third Ig Noble Awards—see also here and here  

consult our extensive archives: veteran broadcaster—and BBC’s first podcaster, Melvyn Bragg celebrates one thousand episodes  

pagliacci: a pizza chef turns melodramatic over a cursed request


one year ago: Our Lady of Sorrows plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: forest mascots (1971) plus a Star Trek: TAS classic

three years ago: more Trek with “Amok Time,” illustrations from the children of Charles Darwin, rousing public sentiment following the Gunpowder Plot, life signs on Venus plus a COVID movie-night

four years ago: more on Jupiter’s moons, a hot Colonel Sanders, public crucifixes, Lovecraft in the style of Dr Seuss plus Graphis Press

five years ago: an AI names apples, the Ig Noble Awards, the Great Recession’s Lost Decade plus legalising marijuana confounded by travel regulations

Thursday 10 August 2023

7x7 (10. 934)

latent stage—this is where boys and doing boy stuff, girls are doing girl stuff and most children typically purchase their second firearm: the state of Florida’s revised psychology advanced placement curriculum

songs in the key of z: a documentary about outsider musician Peter Grudzien who recorded one of the first gay country albums  

savey meal-bot: a frugal-minded grocery store app gives out a recipe for deadly chlorine gas  

the judgment of cambyses: documenting the thirty-eight luxury vacations that other billionaires have treated US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to—via Kottkesee previously  

lฤhainฤ: wildfires engulf the historic royal capital of Hawaii with dozens killed on the island of Maui 

the green m&m: Steven Miller of America First Legal complains that Kellogg’s is sexualising its products, violating federal statues by promoting diversity in its workforce—see previously 

handmaid’s tale: professors and teachers’ union challenge laws that forbid the teaching of reproductive rights

Sunday 23 April 2023

8x8 (10. 692)

caspar milquetoast: Public Domain Review presents Shy Guy (1947)—starring Dick York—via Nag on the Lake  

wicksy’s cocktails: a selection of non-alcoholic drinks from a 1986 Easter Enders’ cook book  

birdsite: the continuing rapid unscheduled disassembly of the platform  

here is a map to give you pleasure, a town reduced to your mantel’s measure: poetry on maps—via the Map Room  

ganja & hess: an under appreciated vampire film reexamined on its fiftieth anniversary  

smigadoon: virtual ghost villages in the clouds that have become the haunts of tourists  

rolling through the produce and said, now that’s a better buy: Toni Basil’s “Shopping from A to Z” 

schools of the air: a retrospective look at broadcast continuing education—see previously

Tuesday 3 January 2023

food fair and pantry pride (10. 385)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, we are directed to a rather venerable resource on US and Canadian supermarket chains from the 1920s through the present—with a special and detailed emphasis on franchise structure, locations and incarnations over the decades. Groceteria is not an exhaustive survey of every municipal and region chain but features extensive histories, a blog and updates of note and a repository of changing commerce and tastes.

Monday 26 December 2022

my company takes the entire delivery fee. you were a capitalist until five minutes ago—you should know how these things work. (10. 364)

Regular contributor to McSweeney’s Steven Ruddy presents a delightfully Dickensian gig-economy, Uber Eats retelling of the Christmas Carol, specifically the concluding scene when Scrooge cries out to a boy in the street, ecstatic that he hasn’t missed Christmas Day and attempts to dispatch a prize turkey to the Cratchit home, though has difficulties fulfilling his order. “Delivery fee is two crowns, sir.”

Saturday 17 December 2022

7x7 (10. 342)

the gate of the exonerated: a new entrance to be named in honour of the falsely accused Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Kevin Richardson 

mighty mikko: a 1922 adaptation of Finnish fairytales 

time performance: taipa (ใ‚ฟใ‚คใƒ‘) and the Ukrainian pronunciation of Kyiv (ใ‚ญใƒผใ‚ฆ) are among Japan’s neologism—not characters—of the year  

mpi: social contagions, mass psychogenic illnesses, can lead to physical maladies—see also, and certain platforms may be superspreaders 

feliz navidad: beautiful vintage Christmas cards by artist Alejandro Rangel Hildalgo—via Marco McClean’s Memo of the Air  

blue light special: more Kmart reel-to-reel soundtracks—this one from December 1974  

heroes act: US supreme court admits more challenges to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

Friday 16 December 2022

6x6 (10. 389)

third estate: Twitter begins suspending the accounts of many high profile journalists  

that went places: this wordless Scotch advertisement is really moving 

i love paris when it’s deco: revisiting the landmark Exposition Internationale des Arts Dรฉcoratifs et Industriels Modernes held along the Seine in 1925 

united states of pop: DJ Earworm (previously) remixes the year in music  

this christmas ad broke me: a somewhat cynical though more accurate seasonal supermarket commercial 

i expect these will sell out soon: Trump launches a collection of NFT trading cards



Saturday 26 November 2022

solange der vorrat reich (10. 335)

An Aldi native and a long-time shopper though I tend to patronise other grocery stores within walking distance or at the terminals of my commute, I had never heard of the term ‘Aisle of Shame’ and felt a bit personally affronted until reading on that there was a community of fellow enthusiasts of this ever-refreshed and replenishing smรถrgรฅsbord in the central row of food and non-food items available as long as supplies last. Not savouring the task of grocery shopping, I appreciate this serendipity incubator and the cult status accorded to these bargain bins of seasonal and limited edition merchandise and will go specifically to check them out.

Sunday 26 September 2021

unknown foods

Also growing up with grocery store chains named Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, Safeway and Skaggs Alpha-Beta (wherein items were originally stocked and arranged in alphabetical order for ease of location and retrieval), we could appreciate this exercise from AI Weirdness (previously) that trained various neural networks on generating suggestions for naming supermarkets. We especially enjoyed how quickly it picked up on real world marketing conventions and served them back to us. Some of our favourites in addition to the entitled included: See How Much! Jumbo Boost Built in Juice, Fair-Oil Edible Foods and Little More Large Brook. Discover more about the methodology behind machine learning and be sure to subscribe to Janelle Shane at the links above.

Sunday 30 May 2021

music for grocery stores

We really enjoyed this ambient soundtrack, via r/ Obscure Media, to accompany one’s shopping list in this 1975 muzak selection Sounds for the Supermarket. The track titles that I suppose match the arc of the hunter-gatherer quest and could be suited to some independent gaming adventure are a bit strange and evocative: Mister Satisfied, Mister Lucky, To a Dark Lady, A Touch of Class, Harvey Wallbanger, Delicate Treasures, Departure, etc.

Wednesday 15 May 2019


reaction faces: Tadas Maksimovas creates a twelve-barrelled sling shot to pelt people with likes and hearts

line item: the humble receipt gets a rather brilliant redesign to visualise how your grocery bill adds up

novgorod: Sergei Eisenstein (previously) collaborated with Sergei Prokofiev to produce the score for Alexander Nevsky (1938), which remains the cinematic standard

pink pop: a delightful vintage Shiseido cosmetic commercial from 1968

saving face: San Francisco becomes the first municipality to prohibit the use of facial recognition surveillance technology

happy accidents: much needed pick-me-ups from Bob Ross—previously  

Thursday 11 April 2019

express lane

Culturally, I think I will never stop shopping like a European, fortunate to live within easy walking distance to a corner grocery store and dash off to the shop nearly daily.
I couldn’t conceive of needing a buggy or purchasing more than I could comfortably carry outside of getting ready for a camping vacation or a long holiday weekend—and so I was rather delighted to learn that the Swedish language has a term for the etiquette expected when one is in the queue to check out.  One is to avoid making a varuberg—literally a product heap, not only in being courteous to the person ringing up your items and the person next in line by arranging them neatly for efficiency and ease of handling but also by not buying too much at a time—or at least letting others go ahead. I can’t think of an exact equivalent but in Germany shoppers also place the same sort of standards at the cash-register.

Monday 26 February 2018

gaspillage alimentaire

US National Public Radio’s European correspondent Eleanor Beardsley reports on some refreshingly positive follow-up on the 2016 legislation that outlaws systemic food waste in France—leveraging hefty fines against grocery stores that throw away edible food.
Without taking into account the negative impacts of agriculture to include indignity to animals, habitat loss, pesticide and intensive water-use, humans throw away about a third of what’s raised or grown, with developed nations disposing of the majority of their food at the final stage when the most time and effort has been invested in it. Not only are struggling families benefited from higher quality and quantity donations to food-banks and other charities, supply-chain-management is also improved with the elimination of the stipulation that suppliers deliver amounts at fixed thresholds and obligating merchants to buy more than they can sell in a timely factor, reducing emissions due not only to surplus transportation but also for food-waste kept from land-fills (as food bio-degrades, it produces methane) and not artificially subsidies over-production. On a purely administrative note, this post is PfRC’s five-thousandth (cinq milliรจme).

Thursday 5 October 2017


For its Branded in Memory project a marketing and demographics website challenged one hundred and fifty Americans (most of the corporate logos are global brands but there are some specific to American markets) to recreate—without peeking—a batch of famous marque emblems and afterwards arranged the entrants from least to most accurate. The results are pretty insightful and illustrate what logos reside in our conscious and which are somewhat less ingrained. Colours were consistently correct (unless one was attached to a logo that the company retired long ago). How would you fare? I think it would be a fun project to recreate this experiment for those (probably woefully uniform) shops on your local high street or for the labels from your usual grocery shopping inventory.

Friday 10 June 2016

katzenjammer, caterwaul

We found this homage to the felines of the internet too funny not to share again. This commercial from German grocery discounter chain Netto features most of the viral cats—even cats versus cucumbers, but sadly, Grumpy Cat is omitted in favour of other up-and-comers—nonetheless, getting across the message that the outlet can satisfy the most finicky of shoppers.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

state of the cart

Though H and I usually eschew taking a shopping-buggy, using just a basket or a bag and preferring not to lug home more from the corner market than we can comfortably carry, the story behind the ubiquitous and often overlooked shopping cart, via the always interesting Presurfer, is pretty fascinating—especially for the insights into marketing and consumer-conscience.
An enterprising green-grocer from a small town in Oklahoma, drawing on his war time experience as a provisioner in the commissariat, realised that the standard arrangement of having clerks wait on one customer at a time was inefficient and that the self-service model was a far better one. Emerging from the Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression relatively unscathed, as people always need staples regardless of the economy, the chain of supermarkets the inventor and entrepreneur founded were holding on but just barely. In a flash of brilliance, the creator of the shopping cart found a way to persuade shoppers to buy more food (and differently packaged food, prepared meals and canned-goods) with each visit by lightening their burdens and giving their load to the steely sinews of an oversized basket on wheels. It would be hard to account for all the ways this invention changed our buying patterns and diets.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

depalletised oder unverpackt

The roving reporters of Quartz Magazine send word that a new market has opened in Berlin called Unverpackt that’s been designed to showcase how we can manage our grocery shopping without sleek and resource intensive packaging.
It’s not exactly as if we shopped in some old timey general store when I was little, but I do remember that the concept of buying in bulk, which seems now only retained for candies and nuts, was more common—at least for generic brands and maybe that’s why it went away. I hope that this movement takes hold elsewhere, since even if for the sake of vanity and brand-loyalty and in an ideal world where nothing goes to waste and is properly recycled, a lot of thoughtless cost goes into something just tossed away. Besides I think it would be fun to come up with creative storage solutions or revive quality tins worth saving.

Sunday 17 February 2013

local colour

I can remember this strange sort of introductory hazing in the form of a ritual and obligatory exchange among freshmen at colleges away from home, which goes something along the lines of: “What is Friendly’s? What you call Arby’s, we call Hardee’s. I went to a Piggly-Wiggly once when we were visiting my aunt in Alabama.” And so on with the comparison of the terroir of fast food and grocery store franchises. I wonder if such conversations still take place. Having lived in Germany for more than a decade, I wouldn’t have thought I would ever notice regional branding again, since all chains seem to co-exist peaceably.
Of course, there is preference and convenience, but there never seemed to be a “Rewe-town” that locked Edeka out or kept down the competition or any demarcation—except for Aldi-Nord and Aldi-Sรผd (and I understand that now Aldi is really prevalent in the States too)—that defined the borders of a company’s reach, like an Appel/Apfel line in the German Sprachraum. I am beginning to notice, now however living in a place where it’s easier to forego driving altogether, that there are assertions and neighbourhood anchors, of grocers’ and supermarkets, that do require some shift in selection and expectations, plus there are more smaller markets that are independent and not part of any chain, which I am enjoying as well and certainly worth seeking out.