The Saturday shop ...
Ladies were doing it for themselves
So near and yet so far. Well-dressed ladies grimly prepare for the ordeal of crossing the road to the beauty salon and hat shop. With no aid from zebra crossings or traffic lights, they’ll be running the gauntlet, a safe arrival by no means assured. Very aptly, just down from the hat shop, a large sign advocates “SELF HELP”. Ladies, you’re on your own.
Self Help was more than just advice to pedestrians. Self Help Co-Ops or “groceterias” were a precursor to supermarkets, offering quality groceries at cheap prices, provided you chose and wrapped your own goods and carried them yourself to one of these many, many cars. Prior to their existence, you’d tell the grocer what you wanted and they’d get it for you, possibly having their “boy” and his enormously basketed bicycle deliver it. There were fears that the typical housewife would suffer from the loss of her sparkling interactions with the grocer, and that she’d resent not being waited on; the housewife, however, redoubtable figure that she is, has muddled through somehow.
Groceterias gave way to supermarkets, which have the benefit of carparks. This melee of cars, buses, lorries and trams is not for the faint-hearted. In the 50s Broadway was already handling more than half of its current 40,000 vehicles a day. A hundred years before this photograph was taken, farmers drove their stock up Manukau, Great South, or Remuera Roads to the “New Market” for livestock, which is how it got its name. This means of course that if you do end up in a car accident on Broadway it’s a genuine stock-market crash.