ABOUT: This project

WTF

What is this? It’s a collection of found grocery lists. No, really. This site is all about other peoples’ lost grocery lists. There are nearly 4,000 posted here.

A short history

In 1997, I picked up a discarded grocery list at a St. Louis supermarket. I found it to be a fascinating glimpse into a stranger’s life and decided to pick them up whenever I found one. In 2000, I posted my collection of about 40 lists to the web. By 2004, when the New York Times Magazine profiled me and this collection, I had about 500. In early 2006 I started working on a book about these lost lists and by the time it was published in May 2007, there were 1,600 lists on the site (with thousands more yet to be scanned and posted). Now there are almost 4,000.

I wrote a book based on this site

Buy the grocery lists book!It was one of the first blog-to-book projects (originally published in 2007, reprinted in 2011). It’s called Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost & Found. and was published by HOW Books, part of F+W Publications, the publishers of Print and HOW and many other quality books and magazines. So in addition to the certain crisp wit you’ve come to expect from me, you are be guaranteed a great presentation from the design-savvy folks at F+W. It has 20 hilarious chapters, is printed in full-color, contains 240 pages and will look really cool on your coffee table (or your dining room table!). And hey — it’s available on Amazon, in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle versions!

Things learned

More people than I thought like onions. Mayonnaise is difficult to spell. So is banana, apparently. And anchovies. And yogurt. A lot of people cannot spell very well. I try not to make fun of them too much. That’s not true. I make fun of them. A lot. Some people buy weird combinations of things or leave funny messages on the lists. It makes for an interesting collection. I used to think my handwriting was lame. Now I don’t. And lastly, very few people leave their grocery lists in the cart like they should!

Things you should know

By submitting lists to the GLC, you grant the GLC a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to those lists its sole discretion, including posting it to websites and incorporating it in other works in any current and future media, including without limitation published books. If you do not wish to grant the GLC these rights, it is suggested that you do not contribute your lists or any lists you find. All submissions are essentially anonymous, and no specific personal information is published without your permission. The basic idea is this: If you send me a list, you are releasing it to me to have some fun with it, to try to become a billionaire with it—and to share it with everyone. btw, I made a pretty comprehensive downloadable PDF for you to use when you go shopping. It’s free, and it’s called The Ultimatest Grocery List.

Origins of the collected specimens

I don’t keep track of where each list of from. I sort of wish I had when I started, but this project is ridiculous enough without having to scientifically catalog each item. Many of them were found by me in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, but numerous people from around the world have contributed individual lists, an envelope full, or even entire boxes to the collection since it started, including a few wonderful people who have donated in the hundreds. Thank you! You can donate as well.

Tech

This started out completely hand-coded HTML. That was a pain. Then the weblog portions were powered by Blogger for years but everything’s now running on the wonderful WordPress. The ads are served by Google AdSense (this helps pay our bandwidth-heavy site hosting costs—50+ gigs/month!—and buy our groceries).

Other

btw, my name is Bill Keaggy and I like the Web. Some of my other projects include keaggy.com, 50sadchairs.com, and Tremendousness, among others.

Want to contribute some lists? Contact us!