A Bit Of A Shopping History

When you remember your parents doing grocery shopping when you were a kid, where did they go? Was it a big monthly shop? Did they shop weekly? Did you go along?

For my family, it was a big pay day event, but because there were four of us children we very seldom got to tag along. My folks would leave us at home and do the shopping, sometimes coming home with the makings for Dagwood sarnies that we would make sitting together around the dining room table! Cold meats, mayonnaise, chutney, bread rolls, mustard, Picalilli, tomato sauce, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions… It was a payday treat that we all looked forward to!

Thinking about it, some of my earliest memories stem from a time when we lived in a suburb that didn’t have a supermarket! I’m talking 27+ years ago (yes, I’m that old). This was before the time of 24 hour petrol stations with Woolies Food Shops inside. Hell, the shops weren’t even open on Sundays back then! At the time, my folks would drive about 15km to get to the nearest PicknPay Supermarket. They would do our monthly groceries in one fell swoop, often filling two trolleys in order to cater for our family of 6 and the live-in maid.

In 1987 we moved, and the new house was less than a kilometre from the very same PicknPay! It was cool to be in familiar territory, and it meant that my sisters and my brother and I would be sent to the supermarket on our bicycles for milk and bread. And my parents continued to shop there. I’ll never forget the first time my mother spent more than R1000 on groceries! She and I had gone to the shop together and we were doing the monthly groceries! It caused quite a stir at the till, let me tell you! The cashier asked us to please wait and disappeared- leaving us to think the worst- before the manager of the store appeared and actually gave my mom a box of chocolates for spending so much money! After our nerves had settled we giggled all the way home. We hadn’t even bought meat yet!

When my knucklehead and I moved out of my parents’ house, we moved into a flat across the road from the very same Pick ‘n Pay supermarket, and we did our grocery shopping there too. The first time I ever sent the knucklehead to buy bread and milk on his own- I think he was about seven years old- I sent him to PicknPay! I even have a picture of him coming home from the shop with the packets in his hands (I’ll see if I can find it and scan it)!

I have seen that shop grow and change SO many times! I remember when they used to have these massive, full colour, see-thru plastic “sculptures” on the walls showing where things were in the store, like a giant cheese wedge where the fridges were. And there was a lobster one too! I saw them so many times they are etched into my brain! Now its prolly twice the size that it was when we first shopped there and a small mall has grown up around it. And the plastic wall-mounted sculptures are long gone. I shopped in a few other places,  mostly to try and save a few bucks, but I always find myself coming back to PicknPay.

And my parents still shop there!

Just a disclaimer- I wasn’t asked, paid, bribed, invited, or otherwise coerced into writing this blog post, nor did I receive anything in exchange for writing this blog post.

15 thoughts on “A Bit Of A Shopping History

  1. What a lovely post! Brings back memories.

    We did a monthly shop at P&P Hyper in PE (farrrrrr from where we stayed so it was an “event”). We were usually there so long that we’d buy crispy rolls and have cheese rolls for supper 🙂

    My mother lives very near there now and so does my sister 🙂

  2. Awesome post. I remember our monthly trek out to the PnP Hyper at Eastrand Mall. The shop was so big my mom once left me in the trolley and lost me for about 30min.
    She’d load our jam-packed trolley into her tiny Renault 5. It looked hilarious.
    Sounds silly, but I still get the warm fuzzies when I’m in a PnP Hyper 😉
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  3. ps…I live much closer to the Hypermarket now but seldom shop there unless there is a sale or I need a hardware item. The service sucks! And they seem to be so much more expensive than the regular PNP supermarkets.
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  4. So many cool memories. We live very close to the Hypermarket and my parents would leave us to browse at the toys while they shopped! In this day and age I would NEVER do a thing like that. There was normally a full trolley and our payday treat used to be doughnuts and pies from the King Pie stall outside the shop. I would not dare shop for two trolleys of groceries now. You know, I actually have a shopping post in my drafts. Maybe I’ll publish it later this week. Cool post!
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  5. I love this! I always wanted to grow in an area like this, where you could send a kid to get a gallon of milk. These are such great memories! We lived 25 miles from the nearest grocery store that didn’t cost an arm & a leg to get things from. So once a month (at payday) we’d all load up and go to the Winco or Costco or other 1-stop-best-value grocery store and buy what we could. Our parents also grew whatever they could in the garden to save $. When we were really young we had a farm & they raised almost all the meat we ate as well – chicken, turkeys, pig, cows. We do the monthly run with our kids, because like our parents – we only get paid once a month. I can’t say we don’t try to time it when they AREN’T home … but there are many trips they’ve came with.
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  6. When we first moved to SA my Dad was working on a dam in the Transkei and our house was in Hogsback. There was a tiny little shop there for bread and milk type of groceries so once a month the whole family (Dad, Mum, Nana and I) would pile into the car to go and do our groceries in East London. I remember my Mum loading the car with cooler boxes so that the cold/frozen goods wouldn’t spoil on the long trip home.

    Ah nostalgia 🙂
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  7. I love this post of yours. It reminds me so much about grocery shopping in my days as a child as well:
    We lived on a small town between farmers. So there was not grocery shop big enough to do your grocery shopping. So my grandma lived here in PTA and then once a month my parents will come here (100km travel) and stay the whole weekend while we bought our groceries the Sunday at Pick n Pay Supermarket. It too was a treat, not just because of the food but also to experience “the city life”.
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  8. Well in the 80’s my mom would take my sister and I every Friday with her to Hyperama in Durban, where the Toyota plant now is, it was quite a big store and it was like a fun outing every week. I would always go upstairs to the furniture department and look around, just loved doing that, then once we had all our groceries in the trolley we would go to the food court, and my sister and I would each get a slush puppie and I’d have a sausage roll and she’d have a plate of chips – same thing every single week, was awesome 🙂

  9. I love my Pick n Pay 🙂

    My parents did a monthly shop too and would travel to the Hypermarket by the sea in Durban. We would also full 2 trolleys – it was a great event for us 🙂

    PS – I wouldnt dare try full 2 trolleys now – I dont think we would afford it!

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