“Free delivery twice daily. Call 410.”
That was the inscription on the delivery wagon, newspaper ads and order pads.
It was a unique service of the family grocery store setting it apart from the other seven grocers in town.
Times are repeating themselves as businesses now frequently promote home deliveries of many products.
Special assistance has been somewhat common with senior meal deliveries for some time.
Then grocery stores in several rural communities started helping out especially catering to those with limited travel capabilities.
Work-away-from-home moms’ complexing busy family life yet with modern technology encouraged more stores to provide computer shopping. Carryout boys not as prominent these days went back to work bringing orders to cars at the store door.
A few rural grocery stores still have carryout helpers who congenially offer to put sacked purchases in buyer’s cars.
Every grocery store customer was provided that service days gone by as cars were parked up and down Main Street. Curable problems arose when a customer got a different car unknown to the carryout boy or were parked blocks away.
Today with the worldwide health concerns demanding distancing businesses of all sorts are offering home deliveries.
A wannabe cowboy growing up in a grocery store, fondest early memory is going with Dad to deliver groceries.
Delivery orders were taken after customers responded “410” to the telephone operator’s request “Number please?” Mom or another grocery store employee answered the ring: “Buchman’s Grocery.”
A grocery list was recited over the phone, copied down, order filled, boxed or sacked and ready for home delivery.
Plan was to have morning deliveries leave the store, about 10:30, in time to arrive before noon dinner. Evening deliveries were sometimes smaller typically leaving the store about 5 o’clock to arrive before suppertime.
With stores always closed on Sunday, there were often more Saturday deliveries, maybe two in the afternoon. Holidays demanded that several carloads of groceries be delivered the day before.
Unable to quote exact addresses, home location was known for everybody in town. Alleys were common routes to readily get in the back door.
No knock, just go inside, greet if anybody home, set the groceries down: “Thanks call again.” If there’d been advance request, perishables were put in the refrigerator.
Reminded of Second Samuel 1:7: “Just call. We’re at your service.”