SUPER Supermarket (Feb, 1947)

SUPER Supermarket

Painless marketing has arrived for the housewives of Ridge wood, N. J., where the Grand Union store is trying out a spectacular new self-service gadget called Food-O-Mat. In simplest terms, Food-O-Mat works on the principle of the familiar paper-cup dispenser: take out one item, and another slides or rolls down an inclined metal ramp to take its place. There’s a return slot below each display for the use of congenital mind-changers.

Housewives applaud Food-O-Mat’s time- and step-saving features. Clerks approve the ease with which stock can be kept shipshape, with no need for overtime display work. Owners are happy over the fact that they sell five times as much per square foot as the conventional grocery.

  1. daniel says: July 9, 20108:54 pm

    Wow, Grand Union; We had a few of those in Northern-most New York up until this decade.

  2. Anand says: July 10, 20102:38 am

    The Grand Union chain went bankrupt about ten years ago. Since those stores looked nothing like this, I have to conclude that the experiment failed

  3. Firebrand38 says: July 10, 20106:21 am

    More here:


    The system is still in use for warehouses…

  4. Toronto says: July 10, 20108:55 am

    It’s also popular in beer stores here (Ontario.) When you pick up a case, another rumbles into place from behind.

  5. RBayard says: July 10, 20105:15 pm

    I can’t see it working. It would be a crap shoot for the labels to be displayed so that the customer could view them and even if they were think about how tiring it would be to spend most of your time in the market walking down the aisles with your head tilted to read them.

  6. Firebrand38 says: July 10, 20107:24 pm

    RBayard: Actually a form of it is still being used for Campbell’s Soups in local Kroger stores http://img2.photographe…

  7. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: July 11, 20102:17 pm

    They use it in the dairy section of most stores by loading the product in the back. ‘Fresher’ milk with later expiration dates will be found in the rear. That way they force stock turnover on the customers. I’ve seen the can feeding soup displays at my local grocery. Gravity feed flow racking is easy enough to make so the product is presented upright – have rollers rather than a slide. and cut the carton so it forms a tray This is a gravity flow rack…. The real problem is economic – you have to have aisles behind the shelves to load them or the racking must roll. [This would kill customers in an earthquake unless the racking had a locking mechanism. Imagine the law suits in California from customers being crushed by rolling shelving or it overturning!] Back in the 60’s, shopping carts were kept inside the stores but now they were moved outside to increase display space. The flow racking concept probably wasn’t adopted for the same reasons as well as cost

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