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Supermarket Workers

History

Grocery stores have existed in the United States since the 1800s. Those early stores did not carry a wide variety of merchandise and brands. Many specialized in one area such as bread, fish, or meat. Even these early stores needed workers to help run their businesses. At the time, the workers were less specialized; often, the same person who helped wrap the meat at a butcher shop might be found later in the day sweeping out the store.

In the early 1900s, small "mom and pop" stores opened. These stores were the beginning of the modern grocery industry. Soon, some of the stores expanded into chains, and the role of the supermarket worker became even more important. With bigger stores, more merchandise, and more customers, the stores needed more staff.

Technology (such as bar codes, digital ordering systems, etc.) has improved efficiency and customer service at supermarkets, but people are still needed to do most of the jobs in a grocery store. One exception is the job of cashier. Self-serve, automated checkout systems have allowed some stores to reduce the number of cashiers they employ. The growing popularity of online grocery shopping also threatens to reduce employment in the industry, but even online ordering involves order takers, delivery personnel, stock room personnel, inventory control workers, and more.