6 Sep: The Self Service Revolution

Clarence Saunders opened the world’s first self-service supermarket, ‘Piggly Wiggly’, in Memphis, Tennessee on 6th September, 1916.

Calculating that the revenues gained through impulse purchases would outweigh those lost from shoplifting, Saunders’ concept forever changed the world of shopping for groceries – but his business acumen did not last.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly review Saunders’ promotional hustles; weigh up the items in a shopping basket of the era; and reveal how ‘Piggly Wiggly’ (almost certainly) gained its distinctive name…

Further Reading:

• ‘The Untold Truth Of Piggly Wiggly’ (Mashed, 2021):


• ‘America’s First Supermarket at 100: How It Changed the World’ (Time, 2016): https://time.com/4480303/supermarkets-history/

• ‘Piggly Wiggly, the first true grocery store – Life in America’ (Recollection Road, 2021):