One of my very first jobs? Going around Kroger* with a clipboard asking the manager of each section for their sales of the week and which needed a small, medium or big sign. Then it was back to the breakroom with a handful of markers and go to town, using the preferred lettering style in which I was trained. Afterward, I’d get all the signs installed and carry some blanks and make a few on the spot if there was a need outside the list.
I loved that job. It required an awkward 16 year old to engage with adults and hone a craft.
Now stores are testing these endcaps with thin electronic displays. That yellow “Better Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix” sign in this photo is a screen, as is the Maxwell House mix and match.
I get it. It’s efficient. Eye-catching. Eventually creepy, with personalization as you walk by. But I wonder if there’s a way to bring some humanity back into it? Perhaps illustrations by a local human? Information that makes us think? Easy topics would be food and nutrition, but messages could also encourage us to think about others. Who deserves a cake? What small thing could you celebrate tonight and share? Call your mom!
Just because we have all this technology, doesn’t mean we can’t inject some soul.
* Forest Hills Kroger. It has since been turned into a hospital and a newer, incredibly huge Anderson Township Kroger was built across the street.