Old fashioned shopping

In 1948, when I was six, there weren’t any supermarkets and most of your shopping was done at the local “store”.  The Maungaturoto Store was owned by our family friends, Wyn and Beryl Hargrave.  They lived very close to us and their son, Robin, was one of my best friends.

Probably the biggest difference between a supermarket and a store was that nothing was pre-packaged.  For example, all the sugar would be kept in a “bin” (a great big wooden container).  If a shopper asked for a pound of sugar (about 500g), the owner would ladle the sugar out of the bin into a paper bag (no plastic in those days) and weigh it on a big set of scales (a weighing machine).

This ladling out into paper bags was done for all sorts of products (flour, nails, lollies, etc).  And there were no plastic shopping bags.  Each shopper would bring their own cloth bag along to carry their purchases away in.

Stores were much smaller than supermarkets.  I’m pretty sure the Maungaturoto Store was in the same building as “Sugarbelle’s Cafe” is now, so you can see how small it was:


In those long ago days, not everyone had fridges and nobody had freezers (freezers for home use hadn’t been invented yet).  That meant there were no frozen peas in the shops.  If you wanted peas for dinner, you had to buy some real peas and remove them from their pod before cooking, like in this picture (“podding peas” was usually done by us children):


There were no pizzas or burger shops.  The only takeaways were fish and chips, which were always wrapped in newspaper.

You couldn’t buy chicken in the shops.  In those days, chickens weren’t farmed in giant barns like they are now, so there weren’t so many around.  You had to get one from a friend who kept chickens in their yard or on their farm.  Your friend would kill one of their flock of chickens for you (by chopping off its head!!!) and, once it was dead, you would have to “pluck” it (which meant pulling all the feathers out).  Only then would the chook be ready for cooking.  Because of this, many people only had chicken once a year, at Christmas, as a special treat.

And you couldn’t buy sliced bread;  you would slice it yourself, at home, as you needed it.

Life sure was tough in those days!!!

  1. #1 by Paul Lacey on 11 September 2016 - 8:28 pm

    That was an awesome post Dad!

    I laughed very much at the difference between then and today

    And I wonder whether to vet it for my little Danielle Ha ha ha

    Keep it coming as I am compiling and keeping them for my sake 🙂

    And your Grandkids 🙂

    Love you heaps Dad


    Paul Lacey


    Precision Paperhanging & Painting Ltd



    mobile 021 420 466

    a/h 473 2321

    • #2 by dalelacey on 12 September 2016 - 5:52 pm

      Thanks, Paul, and thanks to you and Linda for suggesting the whole idea. I’m thoroughly enjoying it!!!

  2. #3 by mandy lee on 19 November 2016 - 3:26 pm

    Following here from your old home in Maungaturoto …enjoyable reads thank you Dale

  3. #4 by Graham Hoult on 9 August 2017 - 4:33 pm

    While frozen peas were introduced in our lifetimes, Watties introduced canned peas as early as 1937.

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