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Picking Up a Date With the Bread and Milk : Singles Mingle at the Supermarket

August 01, 1987|From Associated Press

Singles are shopping for more than groceries at the supermarket. They also are in the market for potential dates and mates.

A number of supermarkets and grocery chains are holding singles nights, according to an article in the current issue of Cosmopolitan, and livening up these grocery galas with free food samples, games and giveaways, prizes and sometimes a disc jockey.

The idea of date-shopping at the supermarket is not new--for years a Washington, D.C., store has been dubbed the "Social Safeway" and recognized as a place for singles to mingle.

The Price Chopper chain of Schenectady, N.Y., is widely credited with planning the first official singles night in late 1985, and soon stores nationwide were throwing their own cart parties.

"We have normal, good-looking professionals--lawyers and psychologists," said Judy Brown, co-owner of the Shop 'n' Bag in Cherry Hill, N.J., where every Tuesday is singles night.

Shoppers can advertise the kind of date they want by the way they fill their cart. Brown told of a 32-year-old male psychologist with his own system.

"To get across what an affectionate, loving person he is, he fills the cart with 25-pound bags of dog food--no small gesture, since he doesn't own a dog," she said.

Most store managers-turned-matchmakers do not leave their customers to their own devices. New England's Stop & Shop has held promotions in Branford, Conn., and the Boston suburb of Needham, with local radio stations broadcasting live from the stores.

"The singles nights are great--everyone dances and has a wonderful time," said Stop & Shop spokesperson Christine Filardo. "It's not unusual to see a conga line snaking down the baking goods aisle."

Like many participating stores, Stop & Shop helps break the ice with mating games, such as Famous Pairs Match-Up. Each shopper is given a name tag with one part of a well-known phrase--TV title, celebrity couple, food combo--and must seek out the holder of the other half to be eligible for the grand prize.

Prizes included memberships in dating services, a trip to San Diego and tickets to a party at a top hotel.

Some lucky patrons have linked up. New Jersey's Stop & Shop boasts 14 engagements. Brown says she has been invited to one wedding.

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