Purity Closes

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I had been working at the Purity grocery store in Plaistow, NH since I began my freshman year at Bradford in the Fall of 1995. Early in August 1996, I discovered the store was finally going to close. All of the Massachusetts Purity’s had been bought out by Stop & Shop but that company had no interest in the New Hampshire stores. So, we all knew it was only a matter of time until we were out of a job.

On that last day I was the last register open. I came in and I think I maybe got one fifteen minute break. It was complete fucking chaos. They were marking shit down for five and ten minutes only — you had all these old ladies running from one side of the store to the next. It was weird. It was fucking nuts for a full day. I was on the register non-stop.

Once everyone was cleared out, and this might’ve happened a little bit the next day as well, we all gathered ourselves up and started packing stray shit into shopping carts. There wasn’t much left. I remember there was this one one-hundred dollar piece of medical equipment from the pharmacy section. It had never been marked down so nobody took it. Everything that had been marked down at any point was now gone.

It was a strange sight to see a completely empty grocery store. I said my goodbyes, though there weren’t many to say as I hadn’t made too many friends, and then I headed back to Chelmsford for a couple weeks off before the start of the Fall semester.