Excess on Aisle 3

Recently while walking the aisles of a large grocery chain in a small Connecticut town of 10,000 people, I felt a sense of uneasiness come over me. It was 11 p.m. The store was nearly empty. The only audible sound was the periodic shuffling of employees breaking down palettes of boxes. In the emptiness, I was left alone to confront the source of my uneasiness: how could this small-town grocery chain—the same one found all over this country—have so much damn stuff?

Just look at how many fresh whole young chickens were in this refrigerated bin.


Who knows how deep the bin goes? I sure as hell wasn’t going to stick my hand down the hole of cold plastic bags to find out.

Perhaps that pit of Perdue chickens doesn’t seem extraordinary to you. Well, then, I present you with this stupefying display of bananas. 


According to WorldsTopExports.com, the top three U.S. suppliers of bananas are Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador; the fastest-growing suppliers of bananas to the U.S. since 2013 have been Sri Lanka (up 287.4%), El Salvador (up 194.1%), and Peru (up 166.3%); and the absolute bare minimum number of bananas that can be on display in a suburban grocery store is the amount needed for the end of a 5K run.

But bananas are perishable, you say. A hundred bananas isn’t that much. Well, what about all of these hair coloring products? Remember, this photo was taken at just one of several grocery chains in a small Connecticut town of 10,000 people, who apparently all dye their hair and beards.


Growing up, my Dad and sister preferred the big tubs of Tropicana on the bottom row of this ridiculous refrigerated display of bottled juice.


I never put too much thought into why my Dad and sister preferred a container so heavy it needed a handle, but perhaps this 2012 press release that accompanied the container’s release explains it: “People told us they’d be proud to put this beautiful pitcher on their table and most importantly, it’s still the same great-tasting, nutritious Tropicana Pure Premium 100-percent Florida orange juice with no added water, sugar or preservatives that families nationwide have made number one.”

Moving on, according to Mintel, 62% of Americans use mouthwash. Although that number is increasing, do we need this many brands, varieties, and shades of mouthwash?


Dwarfing the mouthwash is this seven-shelf-high display of salad dressing. 


Forget for a moment that our country doesn’t eat salad and simply admire the shear unnecessariness of having this many varieties and brands of dressing. If you’re curious about what constitutes good salad dressing package, the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) presented its 2017 Package of the Year Award to The Clorox Company’s Hidden Valley Dip & Pour Trial Package.

Before I left the store, I thought it was necessary to take one final photo for consideration. This unnamed town of 10,000 people needs five doors for frozen waffles.


According to Bloomberg, there’s a resurgence of frozen food, including Eggo waffles:

After a four-year slump, Kellogg Co., maker of Special K and Frosted Flakes, has returned to growth in recent quarters. That’s thanks in part to a boost from Eggos, which benefited from its prominence in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” as the favorite food of a mysterious telekinetic girl named Eleven.

Mysterious, indeed.