The Keedoozle

2 minute read

Memphis had waited a long time for the Keedoozle, Clarence Saunders’ electrically operated grocery. He first announced it twelve years ago (TIME, July 6, 1936). Twice he had opened up, only to close when wires got crossed and customers got the wrong goods.

Last week, confident that he had ironed out his Keedoozle’s kinks, Saunders staged another grand opening. Customers tnought it was worth waiting for. They liked the pinball-type lights that danced when they inserted the keys in the merchandise slots. Better still, they liked Saunders’ prices, 10% to 15% cheaper than competitors’.

Shopping at the Keedoozle is not as complicated as it sounds. Customers inspect the wares, each item in a separate glass-enclosed case, then insert a key in a slot under the items they wish to buy. Electric impulses cause perforations to be cut in ticker tape attached to the face of the keys. The customers take the tape to the cashier, who inserts it in a translator machine. That sets off more electric impulses which not only start the goods sliding down a conveyor belt, but at the same time add up the bill.

Keedoozle means “key does all.” It was-coined by Saunders’ fertile brain—the same brain that thought up Piggly Wiggly, twice made and lost a million-dollar fortune (and a pink marble palace in Memphis). Now a white-haired 67, Clarence Saunders is sure that he has hit the jackpot again. Keedoozle’s lavor-saving, he says, will enable hin. to make 7½% on his turnover without adding more than a 3¢ markup to the cost of any goods. Says Saunders, who will sell Keedoozle franchises in other cities: “It can’t miss. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever had.”

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