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Remember when you used to be able to go to your local grocery store? They were small and modest by today’s standards, but they knew you when you came in and suggested the best steaks or picked out the best tomatoes and put them aside for you. As you made your selections, they’d bag them, help you carry your purchase to the car, and even deliver them to you if need be.              

Supermarkets gradually drove Mom and Pop stores out of business. But then supermarkets learned that they had to act like Mom and Pop stores to be competitive. Today, supermarket employees try to be help you find an exotic pasta or special oil or salsa. E-mails alert you about specials on your favorite items or even better, send you digital coupons based on your purchase habits. Some stores even offer to escort you to your car, under an umbrella if it’s raining.

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