Whole Rolled Oats – Taste the Diff

This shopping list is a grateful contribution. Thank you

An attempt at interpretation:

  • The list written in maybe two hands, but mostly by one.
  • This person is a ‘crosser outer’, implying that they are somewhat organised. Likely using the list for a longer period of time than a single shopping episode. Crossing items off as they are acquired ahead of a main shop.
  • The main list is likely meant for a visit to Sainsbury’s (Sainsb), with a reference to their quality line, ‘Taste the Difference’.
  • The list has a Halloween reference, ‘stuff and treats’. Maybe for children or visitors to the house.
  • It’s clear that the person prioritizes cooking from scratch with individual ingredients. No frozen or ready meals!
  • The addition of Bristol Cream Sherry suggests a mature resident in the household.
  • There is no red meat or chicken but there is fish, salmon.
  • The owners of the list are somewhat house proud. They have a Espresso coffee machine and a dish waster, which they like to keep clean.
  • The owners are somewhat garden proud also. They like to make sure their lawn is de-mossed before the winter weather comes.
  • The author/s have mostly used pencil, which is more unusual in the genre than you would think.
  • The paper used for the list is branded ‘Codora’ and has strange diagonal perforations across the top left. Interesting.

Many thanks for the contribution!

3rd November 2023

Wortels (Carrots)

Here is another gratefully received shopping list from The Netherlands (thanks Lina!!!). This list is from Albert Heijn.

Lina helps with the translation as some of the list is in Dutch:

wortels (carrots)





wijn (wine)

I think the it says sig? short for sigaretten (cigarettes)

The list is written on torn, ruled, note paper with blue biro. I wonder why some items are in English and some in Dutch?

26th August 2023, Haarlem, Netherlands

Mystery Shopping List!

This shopping list has been kindly submitted by a contributor. She says:

“Here is one I found being used as a bookmark inside an Agatha Christie novel I found in a charity shop in Oxford.”

“There’s nothing on the back of the list.
The fourth item: is it “more glasses” ?!”

There is rather a large, circular hole in the upper right corner of this paper. I have a feeling that this list may be from somebody doing some shopping for an office kitchen. Hence these rather none personal items and the line item – more glasses.

The book is still in print, albeit with a different cover: https://amzn.to/40f4Aye

What a great find, thank you very much!

7 Great Reasons to Collect Found Shopping Lists

Collecting other people’s shopping lists may sound like a strange thing to want to do but there are many advantages to the budding enthusiast.

Lists can be gifted from friends or family, or lists can be found discarded in shopping trollies and baskets. Here are 7 compelling reasons for joining the niche hobby and becoming a shopping list collector.

1. Shopping lists are Socially Significant

A person’s grocery list is a window into their life. Not only do you get literal insights into people’s buying habits but you also get to see something of the person when you analyse a list. Do they have a pet, are they vegetarian, are there ethnicity clues? The humble shopping list can capture a picture of wider trends and events. Are people buying budget items? Are they buying turkey at Christmas. Is there barbecue food in the Summer?

During the coronavirus pandemic there was a large reduction in the number of shopping lists generated as people embraced online shopping and home delivery. When there were shopping lists, they often contained PPE items like face masks. Hand sanitiser was a very popular item.

2. A Niche collection – small community

There are two types of collections, those which are open and those which are closed. For example, a closed collection could include a signed first edition of each of the Tolkien Lord of the Rings books – there are a finite number of things to find. An open collection is the opposite, for example beach glass, stamps or concert tickets. Within reason, there is not a limit to the number of items you can collect.

Shopping list collections are open. There is no limit to the number you can collect, each one a signpost to further information. An invite for Holmesien analysis and further thinking.

What is more, if you collect shopping lists you will likely be the only person who you know who is doing so. That said, there is a small online community out there who appreciate the ‘art’ and who are willing to share and discuss their finds. Just Google ‘Found Shopping Lists” and see what turns up.

3. Free To Keep and Collect

Grocery lists are great to collect as it costs nothing to find, or keep, them. You can find them anywhere, not just Tesco, Lidl, Morrisons, Cole’s or Walmart but up a cliff, on a dog walk, blowing in the wind. This quality can not be said about many collections.

You do not need to buy insurance, visit specialist collector fairs or spend hard earned cash on the most prized specimens – it is all FREE!

4. Lists are Great to display online, in a book or a gallery

Once you have your collection, however small, you will find there is a very visual aspect to enjoy. With each list being different, in terms of paper, pen and content, you will see an individual and group aesthetic emerge.

Your lists can then be displayed publicly if you wish. Some examples are this online archive/gallery at www.TheShoppingLists.com, or this collector’s book Milk, Eggs, Vodka.

One list enthusiast in California entered her grocery lists into a competition at the San Diego County Fair and won first prize.

5. Shopping Lists are Physically Small

Shopping lists are very easy to store. You have two options, firstly you can take a photo of a list, archive the image, throwing away the paper list itself to meet its final end. Alternatively you can take a photo and keep the list too.

As each grocery lists is pretty small, you can store a huge physical collection in a folder, envelope or even a shoe box. Some collectors enjoy a photograph of the list where it was found in situ, as well as then keeping the physical list.

6. Each List is Unique

Like faces and fingerprints, no two shopping lists are the same. There are common trends, for example many shoppers like to use Post-it notes for smaller shops, some like to use purpose made list making note paper, others, the back of envelopes. In terms of writing implement, the common black ball point pen is a firm favourite, along with the pencil. Some people use coloured pens or Sharpies.

In just about every archive, no two shopping lists have the same list of contents. There are favourite items of course; bread, milk, eggs, butter… but very quickly people’s individual requirements come to the fore; sauce pan, birthday card, Breathright, mouse treats…

According to www.TheShoppingLists.com, the top 10 shopping lists items are:

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Crisps (potato chips)
  • Vegetables
  • Ham
  • Fruit

7. The Shopping List May not be around forever

As people shop online more often, or have electronic grocery lists on the phones, either as emails, notes or specialist apps, the art of making and using a written shopping list is likely to be lost.

The role of home economics, as in household management, is increasingly taken less earnestly than it was a generation ago and supermarket food prices, although on the rise, are still mostly affordable as a proportion of income. People do not need to be so diligent about planning and executing their grocery shopping.

Further, people are eating out more often than in previous decades. Some shopping lists have weekly meal planners jotted down on them, Monday – pasta, Tuesday – Caesar salad, Wednesday – Eat out, Nandos. In the 1980’s and before, eating out was for many, a rare occasion, it is now a multi-weekly event.

In themselves of course, shopping lists are naturally ephemeral. Those which are made today, are tomorrows recycling or land fill. Many just fall to tatters left outside in the wind and rain.


With shopping lists, being a social record of the times, geography and circumstance in which we live, being free to collect and a being at threat from extinction, what better time is there than NOW to start a found shopping list collection.

Next time you are at the supermarket, have a look around the trolly area – you never know what you might find.

TheShoppingLists.com is an online archive of over 150 shopping lists, with searchable tags for items and locations. Submissions can be made of your own lists for others to view. For submissions and PR please contact thelistcollector@gmail.com.

Hair Mousse + NFCU

A short and snappy list.

A torn off piece of note paper from a real estate agent. It looks like Ascent may now be operating under a different name https://www.linkedin.com/company/ascent-real-estate/


Navy Federal Credit Union is a global credit union headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, chartered and regulated under the authority of the National Credit Union Administration. Navy Federal is the largest natural member credit union in the United States, both in asset size and in membership.

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

Raccoon Shopping List

This list has been gratefully received as a donation. There is nothing very exciting about the items listed. Pretty much normal. Bread, eggs…

But wait… look at the other side of the note paper!

Raccoon paper!

I can’t find an exact match but if you are looking for something similar for your shopping lists, you could try here.

Berkshire, U.K. 2nd May 2023

Ñoqui = Gnocchi

Found in Waitrose, UK, this shopping list is bulleted with little circles prefixing each item. Blue pen on a back of an envelope.

Some interesting things here, not sure what the second item is, ‘Quealo’? Or the penultimate item, ‘Pilos’.

I had to Google, but Ñoqui is the Spanish spelling on the Italian Gnocchi. Very good.

Waitrose, UK, March 2023

Grocer’s Apostrophe

A5 Lined note paper with blue biro. Consistent use of the grocer’s apostrophe.

A grocer’s apostrophe is a spelling mistake caused by placing an apostrophe before the s of a plural word. In English, the plural form of a word is most commonly shown by adding an s to the end (e.g., “cats,” “bananas,” “pictures”). Don’t add your own apostrophe!

Not sure what Mary (Nurpac) is.

Waitrose, Didcot, UK, 13th April 2023