These days, automation is commonplace. We have apps on our phones that can handle our payments at the register, and even let us skip the register and pay as we walk out the door. We have apps for home security, and even to turn things on and off from miles away. All that seems so normal to us these days, but imagine this kind of thing in 1956. I know that it sounds bizarre, but someone did think of a form of automation, even if it would seem primitive these days.
On July 19, 1956, a model named Joan Lockwood selected items from a glass case at a completely automated section of a supermarket at the 30th Annual IGA Food Store Convention at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. She put a large round “key” in a matching slot while she pressed buttons to make her selection. The items she selected were recorded on a tape inside the key. The machine tabulated the amount due on the purchases at the same time. It was just one of the systems that was proposed for supermarkets. The plan was to implement the system in the fall of 1956 in key US cities. The three types of automation would be push-button selection in the store, checking of items on special cards at home or in the store, for electronic delivery by conveyor belt to the counter, and after-hours and Sunday automatic shopping of limited last minute supplies at coin machine units outside stores.
The shopping method that IGA Food Stores envisioned didn’t really seem plausible, and for an entire store, but then these days you can order online and pick up your order at Walmart, or have Target deliver it to you. I’m sure that wasn’t exactly what IGA had in mind with there system, and indeed it wasn’t what came of it at that time, but it did start the ball rolling for a type of shopping that we all take for granted these days…the vending machine. Of course, the vending machine can’t distribute everything, but it has gotten to the point of even being able to distribute foods that must be kept cold. It’s a very different type of vending machine than the old IGA machine, but it is most likely the brainchild of that old IGA system.
We knew almost from the very start that our little Shai was a Fashionista. She wanted her nails painted almost from the moment she was born…ok, ok her grandma helped that part out a little, much to her daddy’s chagrin. I don’t think it was really going to matter if her grandma painted her nails or not…this little girl was all girl, and very much a Fashionista. And that is a fact that has not changed to this day.
The other thing that fully describes Shai is born to shop. She likes nothing better than to check out the latest styles, the coolest frills, and of course, the most stylish shoes. Jewelry is a must too, of course, because a girl can never have enough bling. She also likes the hustle and bustle of the mall. It’s not just about shopping, but socializing.
Still, as a little girl…it was a different scenario. Shai had a one track mind. It didn’t matter so much what she was shopping for. The reality was that she was doing what she was born to do. Shop first, fashion second, and third and maybe the most important of all…never use your own money. Probably Shai’s favorite place to shop when she was a little girl was J C Penney’s. One day she was trying to get her mom to take her shopping at J C Penney’s, and Amy said, “No, we don’t have enough money right now.” Well Shai saw that as a non-problem. She wanted to go shopping and she was willing to find a way to make that happen. And, she was sure she had found the answer when she said, “Well…just charge it!!”
Shai has grown up some since those days of simplicity, but she still loves to shop. And she is still very much a Fashionista. In fact, I often find myself looking to her for confirmation on my own outfits. She has a great eye for fashion. If she says I look good, then I know that I do. She would never steer me in the wrong direction. She can always see a fashion mistake. It’s nice to have such a stylish granddaughter. Much has changed with Shai through the years, but she will probably always be a Fashionista who was born to shop.