Dumpster Chronicles 14: Nantucket Supermarkets

The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part 14

Nantucket Supermarkets

By Kerry Hallam


Now that Nantucket has earned the accolade of ‘Destination Resort’, it’s time to examine how the island meets the various appetites of the seasonal influx of fun loving tourists – from first time visitors sticking their toe in the pond to see what it feels like, to the more seasoned veterans with second homes and adequate disposable funds, spending the entire summer here.

Here is a useful tip for those adventurous souls looking for a romantic encounter which could lead to quiet strolls on the beach, fun afternoons checking out the shops, or even languid evenings with a glass of good Bordeaux watching the latest Netflix releases.

Whatever your needs, they can be satisfied at either of the two island supermarkets: ‘Stop and Shop’ and ‘Grand Union’. The first sounds rather like a drive through outfit, but isn’t; the second, like a new political party, but isn’t.

There you’ll find a veritable cornucopia of every conceivable domestic product known to man in their well appointed, fluorescent lighted isles. Not confined to comestibles for the kitchen, they also offer beach apparel, fishing gear, automobile apparatus, over the counter medications, books, refrigerators, bar-be-ques, TV’s, VCR’s, DVD’s, tupperware, beer, wine, electrical supplies, concrete, bricks, masonry slabs, jack hammers, forklift trucks and inflatable airships.

No expense is spared in filling their shelves with everything that visitors would expect to find in their local supermarket on the mainland.

Of course the daily trip across Nantucket Sound by around a hundred eighteen wheelers cost a pretty packet so, as you would expect, most of the items are somewhat higher in price over here. We islanders have come to expect that a roll of ordinary toilet paper can run as high as a hundred dollars, but who wants to use left over paper towels; I mean really!

Everything considered we are indeed fortunate to have these two emporiums without which our larders would be virtually empty.

One of the ancillary perks these concerns offer is a great pick up spot for guys. Quite a few romances have bloomed in the frozen food arbor. A few years ago there was in fact a wedding ceremony held in the vegetable and fresh fruit section.

At almost any time of the day or night, there is likely to be a smattering of good looking ladies wheeling around their shopping carts – perfect for a chance meeting and a low key pick up line.

“Excuse me, I don’t mean to be forward but perhaps you could help me. I’m sure you know a lot more about cooking than I, so could I ask your advice on preparing Coq au Vin?”

“I thought I was in the aisle for digestive biscuits, can you point me in the right direction?”

“This may sound stupid but do you know where I would find sewing materials?” (A sure fire winner, and you may actually get your button sewn on to boot.)

“I must say I find it easier to do my shopping in the fading evening hours don’t you?”. (What could be more romantic?)

“There are so many brands to choose from. You look like someone who has experience in these matters. Which company do you think makes the best instant oatmeal?”

Depending on the quantity of items in her cart: “I find that shopping for one can be somewhat depressing don’t you?” This is guaranteed to melt the coldest heart.

The great thing about supermarket romances is that they are accidental; unplanned and spontaneous. There are none of the artificial cliches “Do you come here often?” that are ‘de rigor’ in bars or restaurants. It’s pure chance.

“Hi there, I swear the body lotion was right here last week. I guess they moved it again. You wouldn’t by any chance have an idea where I could find it?”

And so, as the coffee maker of time fails once more to fill the cup of destiny and on the fourth attempt brews the hot beverage of fate which spills into the crotch of destiny, I realize we have come to the end of this week’s thrilling installment.

It remains only to bring into play ‘spell check’ without which the paragraphs would look like this:

Ehfortung at frumptock with a yaste of gunbollow.



Click Here for Previous Columns


Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.

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