Grocery List Score

What is this? Can anybody decipher these numbers?

This shopping list has the hand of maybe an older person.

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

Polident For ‘Our Night’

Lovely dotty ‘Donut Forget‘ note paper for making lists. It is good to see some purpose made paper used. And with a foody theme.

Cat owner

This person needs Polident denture cleaner for ‘our night’. Fancy. Something to look forward to.

Strange mix of capitalisation with CRackers.

Other items include crackers, large storage bags and eggs. A good quality shopping list here.

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

Found Shopping Lists And Why I Find Them

Guest Blog Post – By Jonathan Lee

Joe ‘Posset’ Murray did it first. He used to post his shopping list finds on Twitter, way before I started. I used to admire them, signifiers of shoppers in a different town or city.

I believe my first post, on Facebook, was an odd one as it had ‘mouldy ham’ written down, discarded in a park while I was on the way to the JobCentre one morning. I didn’t pick it up but took a photo to post once I got back home. After that I kept seeing discarded grocery lists all the time, in trolleys or baskets, at the end of the tills or on the floor.

After picking up a few I noticed that some were indecipherable, others just fragments. This led me to cary on as if I’d discovered some hitherto unknown source of found poetry, scores for readings that had yet to be heard. Handwriting and spelling leant what would be a shopping list in any other hands an air of mystery, especially once I got our eldest child to read out a few.

Still the collection grew bigger and I would get moaned at by the wife for picking up ‘other people’s rubbish’ even though I’d explained my reasons.

I had a vague idea for a ‘zine’ but photos and scans of lists didn’t appeal. Then Covid 19 hit. Long queues at supermarkets with paranoid shoppers (myself included) meant I was only photographing shopping lists in situ as they lay discarded on the floor, instead of picking them up as usual. I was left without a resource.

I was given the chance to perform a gig which gave me and the eldest a chance to read some of the shopping lists in public, plus a couple of found care notes, over some no-input mixer, a kind of low budget power electronics to our peers. We enjoyed it and the idea stuck. I was guided towards older sound poetry by Joe who had written a piece for the TQ zine and this set me on the path to concrete poetry. I downloaded pdfs. I bought a book. I devoured the images and descriptions. A quiet spell at work set my mind towards creating a form of found concrete poetry.

I’m still working on it and developing a CD (or tape) to go with it in zine form. I’m also back to picking up random pieces, making sure I wash my hands thoroughly after photoing and handling them. Daft, I know. I think there’ll be some form of recorded output with our daughter again using some lists, but that’s a separate project now, it’s taken on it’s own identity.

But it’s all Joe’s fault. Thanks Joe.

About the author

Jonathan Lee lives in Darlington, England with his wife, 3 children and an overly needy cat. Aside from collecting discarded shopping lists, Jonathan makes music under the alias Stapperton, collage under the alias insolent.collage and works in a post office. You can find him on social media here (https://instagram.com/insolent.collage) and admire some of his musical output here (https://lurkerbias.bandcamp.com/album/lb-071)

Shopping List Contributions

If you would like to contribute blog content, found shopping lists, or your own shopping lists, please do so using the email address on the submission page. Sharing a link to www.theshoppinglists.com on your site or via social media is greatly appreciated. Back links available.

Saltine Crackers

Yellow Post-it Note shopping list. The list has been written in several sittings with pen and pencil. There are some cryptic numbers on the right hand side which have been crossed out.

I had not heard of Saltine Crackers in the UK. But, sure enough, here they are: https://amzn.to/3W9Hs0n

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

The Best Hand Writing On A List

I wish I could write in this style. Clear, large hand writing. Fantastic.

A short list. Maybe this person has a cold, they need medicine and Kleenex. Interestingly in the UK we refer to ‘tissues‘ rather than the brand Kleenex.

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

What is Iso Alcohol?

“Iso, Isopropanol, isopropyl or rubbing alcohol is a clear, colorless liquid that is a major component of rubbing alcohol as well as regular household items such as cleaners, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers; it also can be found in pharmaceuticals.”

If you need some Isopropanol (iso) alcohol, you can buy it over the counter in the UK, even from Amazon https://amzn.to/3IMydAe

There is a lot to look at on this tiny shopping list. Small writing in 3 colours shows this person had a busy day. They went to the bank to pay some bills, they then went to Target for some iso-alcohol… before going to Walmart where they picked up their groceries.

After they finished with the Iso Alcohol for their cleaning, they could start on the drinking with their Jim Beam.

Wednesday 27th April 2022

Walmart Neighborhood Market, La Mesa, California, USA

Grocery List Collection From The USA

I am very pleased to say that TheShoppingLists.com has received its largest ever donation of found shopping lists. What is more, this is an award winning collection.

The lists have come from La Mesa in California and have been kindly donated by Loraine who got in touch via email.

This grocery list collection was entered in to the collections exhibit at The San Diego County Fair and won first prize in the new collections category. In her own words, Loraine says:

These shopping lists were collected from July 2019 until the Summer of 2020. It started when I kept finding discarded grocery store shopping lists at my local Walmart Neighborhood in La Mesa. I enjoyed seeing bits of people’s personalities and figured I better start saving them to make a collection for the San Diego County Fair.

Whenever I would go to that store I would look around the parking lot, often finding one or two lists either on the ground or left in a shopping cart.

After the pandemic started, I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep picking them up, but I didn’t have to worry much because I soon stopped finding them. I’m curious as to why that was. I have held on to these lists for these past two years, until now.

In total there are 72 lists, all from Walmart Neighborhood in La Mesa.

These very special shopping lists will be posted here over the coming months. There are some gems to look forward to.

Thank you so much Loraine!

You can see some of Loraine’s photography portfolio on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/relearningphotography/

If you also have some shopping lists you wish to share, please get in touch via the email address here.