The Grocery List Collection

The first thing you see striking this one up is the headline, “This is the world’s largest online collection of found grocery lists.” Well, holy shit. With over 1,000 scanned lists and growing, I certainly don’t doubt it. I started to browse through, arbitrarily beginning at number 513. Someone who had been to the Treasure Island resort and casino had gone to pick up milk, juice, cereal and chips. With $5 steaks on the Vegas strip I wonder why they needed breakfast supplies at all-but therein lies the power of this site! We have no idea where these lists come from, or who has written them! Though, to be honest, we do sometimes know where they come from, as the curator of this site is putting together a book titled “Milk, Eggs,Vodka: The Lost Grocery Lists of America.” Apparently, the author hasn’t found any “lost” grocery lists in about a dozen states, including Arizona, Alaska and Colorado. So we might have to wait for this one to come out.

The site layout is a simple blog/gallery combo featuring updates within the world of grocery lists and the stores they’re used in. The blog is easily the most fascinating part. The headlines for it are fantastic. We find out from a source on June 4th that a certain U.S. grocer will soon have LCD screens mounted into the shopping carts. The silly image that just popped in your head will be replaced by a sillier one once you actually see the “test-cart” (reminds me of a double-decker big-wheels). But entry to take them all is a call for a grocery-slam (as opposed to a poetry slam). Each list in the gallery comes equipped with an embedded audio recorder to upload your own renditions of some of the more poetic grocery lists. Just look through some of their monthly top-tens to find the truly scary and strange. One list calls for wands and kitten faces, another a squirt gun, strawberries and a bee trap. One simply says “half and half” with a giant, angrily-drawn “x” on it. My favourite, however, is also the most poetic: “Read / stay home or go somewhere / I act like my mom / my look or how I act / go to Kentucky / Underwear / Lemon.” Amazing. (James King)