Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and by Tracey Deutsch

By Tracey Deutsch

Supermarkets are a secular function within the panorama, yet as Tracey Deutsch unearths, they characterize a big transformation within the ways in which american citizens feed themselves. In her exam of the heritage of foodstuff distribution within the usa, Deutsch demonstrates the $64000 roles that gender, enterprise, category, and the kingdom performed within the evolution of yankee grocery shops.

Deutsch's research reframes procuring as exertions and embeds intake within the constructions of capitalism. The grocery store, that icon of postwar American existence, emerged no longer from easy buyer call for for low costs, Deutsch argues, yet via executive rules, ladies buyers' calls for, and shops' issues with monetary good fortune and keep an eye on of the "shop floor." From small local shops to very large company chains of supermarkets, Deutsch strains the charged tale of the origins of latest foodstuff distribution, treating themes as assorted as daily nutrition purchases, the revenues tax, postwar celebrations and opinions of mass intake, and Sixties and Seventies city insurrections. Demonstrating connections among women's paintings and the heritage of capitalism, Deutsch locates the origins of supermarkets within the politics of twentieth-century consumption.

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Extra resources for Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century

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121 Despite this concern over the dangers of extending credit, grocers frequently refused to cut off customers, maintaining that it was only by offering credit that they could ensure regular purchases. 122 However many problems it caused, credit allowed customers to continue to buy food through hard times and tight budgets, and it was crucial in grocers’ attempts to win customers. 123 these everyday quarrels over price, quality, and credit were structural features of food retailing, reflecting a long history of women’s food procurement and the dense network of businesses in which they shopped.

57 The weighty hopes and fears surrounding Chicago’s markets were reflected in the immense set of municipal rules under which they operated. Public markets were designed to bring farmers and shoppers into direct contact, to keep prices low, and to make towns attractive destinations for foodstuffs. Thus, the earliest public markets almost always prohibited “forestalling”—the purchase of large stocks of commodities for resale at a later time. )58 In all cases, sellers were required to purchase licenses from the city.

Because prices were not posted, clerks also determined how much customers paid. Finally, grocers and their employees also filled phone orders for delivery later that day. Familiarity may have enabled trust, but the dependence on store staff also bred suspicion among customers. Because proprietors and employees pre� sented customers with the items from which they might choose, shoppers often held them responsible for the quality of goods sold. Bad flour might mean that the clerk had simply refused to get the good flour from the back room or tried to foist onto unsuspecting customers goods they knew were substandard.

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