Super Market from 1942

Lawrence Halsey at Market BasketMy dad, Lawrence Halsey, started working for the grocery store chain, Market Basket, after he graduated from high school in 1933. He started as a clerk, then got promoted to assistant manager and then manager, Even as a manager, they would transfer him every couple of years to a bigger store.The picture has dad standing on the left behind the produce corner in first super market that the Market Basket had in Oneonta, NY. Before this time, grocery stores had most items behind a counter and you had to ask a clerk to hand you each item. One of the things that helped the change was the invention of the shopping cart in 1938. Notice a couple of carts in the lower right of the picture. Grocery stores soon learned that people would end up buying more by being able to pick up items using carts. It would be many more years before the meat would be per-packaged.

Besides this picture I have 2 more from the same day of the inside of the store and one outside. There are lots of signs with prices that I can read. While you check out these low prices, think about the fact that my father was making about $45 per week in 1942. So you have to make a a price comparison based on the cost of living at that time.

  • Milk – 12 cents per qt.
  • Kraft cheese – 2 lb box for 49 cents
  • NY State mild cheese – 21 cents per lb.
  • Eggs – 27 cents per dozen
  • Butter – 29 cents per lb.
  • Soup – 3 cans for 25 cents
  • Salad dressing – 25 cents per qt.
  • Sliced bacon – 19 cents per lb.
  • Steak – 25 and 29 cents per lb.
  • Leg of lamb – 29 cents per lb.
  • Veal cutlet – 39 cents per lb.
  • Pork steak – 19 cents per lb.
  • Pork sausage – 2 lbs for 25 cents
  • Roast beef – 29 cents per lb.
  • Jello – 3 for 14 cents
  • Crackers – 2 lb. box for 17 cents
  • Catsup – 3 for 10 cents
  • Hot cross buns – 16 cents per dozen
  • Fresh spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Iceberg lettuce – 2 for 15 cents
  • California Sunkist oranges – 27 cents per dozen
  • Florida oranges – 29 cents per dozen
  • Cauliflower – 23 cents
  • Carrots – 3 bunches for 15 cents
  • Fresh tender asparagus – 10 per bunch
  • Spinach – 2 lbs for 15 cents
  • Bananas – 4 lbs for 25 cents
  • Baldwin apples – 10 lbs for 25 cents
  • McIntosh apples – 6 lbs for 25 cents