Pink Pigs from Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 08:57 AM.

I’ve been enjoying my pink Piggly Wiggly shirt from the Piggly Wiggly in Port St. Joe, Florida.  It seems the friend who sent it to me let his daughter pick it out and she insisted on me having a pink one.  I wear it proudly.

Growing up in the South, I knew about Piggly Wiggly grocery stores and how they could be found in many cities and towns in the southeastern part of the country.  However, I never really knew about the origin of Piggly Wiggly stores and how the name “Piggly Wiggly” was chosen.

I still don’t.

No one does; the answer is perhaps in the question.  Clarence Saunders, the fellow who opened and franchised America’s first true self-service grocery was often asked why he chose the name, Piggly Wiggly.  His reply was, “So people will ask that very question.”

People keep asking the question and they always will.

Mr. Saunders opened his first store in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee.  At the time, if you needed things from the grocery store, you took in a list and handed it to a clerk.  The clerk filled your order and sent you on your way.  I’m pretty sure you weren’t asked, “Do you want paper or plastic?”

Saunders saw that the clerk filling orders wasted time and unnecessary expense; he decided to let the customers serve themselves.  As you imagine, everyone predicted that this new novelty would fail.  Why in the world would a customer want to tote around a basket and do their own shopping?

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