retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a piece by Jeffrey Shaffer, who has spent time in radio, television news and print journalism, and who now works at a NewSeasons Market in Oregon.

"I recently took a job that is often ridiculed as menial and mindless," he writes. "But I have found it to be interesting and rewarding: I work in a grocery store.

"Hollywood hasn’t been kind to this line of work. Anyone who has seen the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption knows what happened to inmate Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore). After decades of incarceration he was finally paroled but couldn’t adjust to life outside prison walls. One major source of disillusionment was his job at a local market filling grocery bags, and before long he gave up and hanged himself."

Shaffer goes on to say, "This is an interesting time to be in the grocery business, when millions of Americans are becoming seriously interested in food production, nutrition, diet regimens and cooking styles.

"My fellow employees and I are all active participants in the collective conversation."

You can read the entire column here.
KC's View:
I hope I get the chance to meet Shaffer next summer when I do my summer adjunctivity at Portland State University; in fact, I may ask him to come in and talk to my class.

Because while I've never actually worked in a grocery store (I've worked in other kinds of retail), one of the reasons I've enjoyed writing about the business for the past 30 years or so (30 years!?!), is exactly what he talks about - the collective conversation that transcends just shopping, but extends to so many other things.