If you’ve ever seen a store with a cartoon pig logo, you know what a Piggly Wiggly is.
While the name may seem silly, the company has earned a lot of love over the last century. Many Southerners represent the Pig with branded shirts that feature silly catchphrases.
You may feel the allure to stop if you see a Piggly Wiggly on your travels. Join us as we discover more about this popular store and find out if you can park overnight in your RV.
Let’s check it out!
What Is Piggly Wiggly?
Piggly Wiggly is a grocery store established in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. While the chain is associated with the South, you can find it as far north as Wisconsin.
When the first location opened its doors, it introduced the concept of self-service shopping. Since the store needed fewer employees to fill orders, prices were lower. It was a breakaway success.
Saunders saw potential in creating a franchise. He had strict standards for cleanliness and organization. Each new store had to pay a franchise fee and follow his model to use the Piggly Wiggly name.
In many ways, Saunders established the modern business model for retail stores. He pictured a fully automated supermarket where customers did everything for themselves. Saunders eventually lost control of the business, but he didn’t let go of his dream.
He later opened Keedoozle, the first fully automated grocery store. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t ready yet to capture his vision in a realistic way.
Though there aren’t as many of his stores as there used to be, the legacy lives on.
Why Do People Love Piggly Wiggly?
The Pig maintains a loyal following in part because of its commitment to local goods. This makes it feel like you’re walking into another era. You’ll see a wide selection of smaller brands that don’t have the same national exposure. If you’re coming from out of town, you’re likely to find something new to try.
Most franchises also have an excellent selection of beer and wine. Many of them offer growler fill-ups so you can get keg-quality beer to-go. The deli counter offers cheap, tasty sandwiches that rival national chain restaurants in quality.
Another reason people love their local Piggly Wiggly is because of the great deals. From cheap sodas to their weekly four-day specials, you’re sure to find a bargain. Loyal shoppers can even collect Pig Points to trade in for some extra discounts.
Finally, you have to admit the name is just plain fun to say.
How Did Piggly Wiggly Revolutionize Grocery Shopping?
In the early 20th century, shopping at a grocery store was a totally different experience. Customers would approach the grocer, tell them what they wanted, and wait for their order. Shoppers often didn’t know what brand they got since the grocer picked it. Most things came in generic packaging.
When Piggly Wiggly opened, they changed the game. For the first time, customers saw all the options between different national brands. In addition, every item on the shelf had a price tag, another first, which meant companies had to do more to compete.
With the self-service model, brand recognition was crucial. So companies began designing distinct packaging to attract customers to their products. And since customers were browsing independently, the stores made more money on impulse buys.
Piggly Wiggly continued to revolutionize the shopping experience. They were the first store to offer shopping carts and checkout stands. The stores were also the first to use refrigerators so produce could stay fresh longer.
Now, Clarence Saunders’ vision of the fully automated store is closer than ever to becoming the norm. Love it or hate it, most of the national chains use self-checkout stations.
Why Is It Called Piggly Wiggly?
There’s no confirmed origin story for the silly name. But, according to one myth, Saunders found inspiration in some pigs he saw struggling to get under a fence. Supposedly, the rhyming name came to him soon after.
When someone asked him directly why he chose the name, Saunders said it was so people would ask about it. It certainly has inspired a lot of curiosity over the years.
No matter the reason for the name, people love the stores and the cartoon swine that mark them. The pig, named Mr. Pig, has an equally mysterious origin. But his little hat and smiling face create a warm welcome as you enter the doors.
Can You Park Overnight at the Pig?
Piggly Wiggly doesn’t have a firm policy for or against overnight parking. Many of the stores are independently owned franchises.
If you want to park your RV overnight, it’s best to talk to the store about it first. Many large cities have ordinances against overnight parking. So, if you don’t want a surprise visit from local law enforcement, make sure you know the rules.
Luckily, most Piggly Wiggly’s operate in small or medium-sized cities. If the store owner or manager gives you the okay, make sure you purchase something as an informal thank you. You should also follow the Escapees Good Neighbor Policy for overnight parking.
Find a parking spot out of the way, skip the patio setup, and save the grilling for a campsite. Be mindful of using hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces, including asphalt, and don’t leave trash behind.
Pro-Tip: Keep a copy of the Escapee’s Good Neighbor Policy handy whenever you plan to park overnight in a store’s parking lot.
Plan Ahead for Overnight Parking
Finding overnight parking on the road can take time and effort. It’s best to have a plan in place before you’re ready to stop for the night. Consider calling potential overnight locations before you hit the road. You should also prepare a few backup options in case you need to call it a day earlier than expected.
Still, if you see a Piggly Wiggly on your travels, it’s worth stopping to ask. At the very least, you can stock up on some essentials while you get your bearings.
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