Online shopping is growing right now, but most shoppers are still heading into actual stores and putting groceries into our shopping carts.
And that’s all due to a guy in Oklahoma who, on this day in 1937, decided to take the shopping basket and give it wheels.
Sylvan Goldman was his name, and he’d noticed that as shoppers moved through his store, they’d stop buying items once their baskets were full.
Even if they still had items on their lists, their arms couldn’t carry any more.
So he had an employee, Fred Young, attach wheels and a folding chair underneath some baskets and, problem solved.
“It’s new – It’s sensational. No more baskets to carry,” read his ad.
But at first, shoppers didn’t think it was sensational.
Some shoppers thought the carts looked too much like baby carriages.
Others apparently liked showing off their strength by carrying the heavy baskets around.
But then Goldman remembered one of the great principles of writing, and apparently retail, too: show, don’t tell.
He hired decoy shoppers to roam around his stores with shopping carts.
As soon as the actual shoppers saw how easy it was to get their groceries this way, they started using the carts too.
Goldman, who was worried his stores would go under during the Great Depression, ended up worth $400 million dollars by the end of his life.
Today is National Cheese Day, a big deal here in Wisconsin.
You could celebrate with some cheddar, or Pepper Jack, or one of the many popular types of cheese.
Or there’s this alternative: churrpi, a traditional cheese made in Nepal that can be so hard, people often work at it for over an hour before they can take a single bite!
Which I would think means they have to leave lots of extra time for the cheese course at dinner parties.
June 4, 1937: Humpty Dumpty and the Shopping Cart (Wired)
The Strange History of the Shopping Cart (Snopes)
Trying the Hardest Cheese in the World (Great Big Story on YouTube)
Add becoming a Cool Weird Awesome backer to your cart on Patreon (do they have carts?)
Shopping carts photo by xoMEox via Flickr/Creative Commons