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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Can Grocery Stores Survive the Age of Big Tech?

In 1978, a blizzard befell the East Coast of the United States. Schools were closed for days. Roads were impassable. On our street, in a suburb just west of Boston, children spent their afternoons building caves and carving tunnels through the drifts that nature and plow had teamed up to create. Our go-to grocery store, Star Market, was about a mile and a half away. It hulked over the Mass Turnpike, a beacon in more clement weather, advising drivers that the capital was just down the road.

During the storm, there was no way to drive anywhere. What snow the plows failed to push to the sides of the road, they tamped down under them, packing a thick layer atop the cold, gray pavement. As our larder grew bare in the ensuing days, my parents bundled themselves up, pulled on heavy boots, and trekked off to Star Market, taking with them a slatted wooden sled on red metal riders that would ferry our groceries back home.

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