Supermarket a Source of Family’s 'Giant' Tale
Gullible daughter thinks the Giant image update is a sign of the times.
My six-year-old daughter, a kindergartener at Catonsville Elementary School, was inordinately excited when our Giant, on Wilkens Avenue, took down the sign on the front of the supermarket last week.
“I think this is it,” she told me when we saw workers in cherry-picker trucks in front of the store. “It’s happening!”
For years, the supermarket has been the subject of a story that I first made up more than 20 years ago when my oldest son was a toddler. The story has been told and retold again and again, passed along from sibling to sibling, with each child adding their own details and flourishes.
I make up stories. I can’t help it. Kids are so gullible! My daughter once told her grandmother that Sam’s Club has a tank where they let children wrestle live squid.
“Where did you get such an idea?” my mother-in-law asked. They both looked at me. I looked at the ceiling.
When my oldest son was still in single digits, I told him that his mother and I had a message tattooed on his scalp shortly after his birth, before his hair grew in.
"What does the message say?" he asked.
I said it was just something his mother and I thought would bring him comfort in his old age, when he's very old and bald-headed.
"What does it say?!" he demanded.
"The message isn't for you now," I told him, "it's for your old age. Be patient. You'll know the time is right to read the message when you're very, very old and all of your hair has fallen out."
I didn't think anything of our conversation again, but apparently he did. Many months later, I caught him in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror over the sink, chin pressed down to his chest, eyes gazing upward as much as possible, parting his hair, trying to look at the top of his head.
The Giant story is by far my family’s most persistent and popular story. All of the kids know it by heart, except the two-year-old who is still babbling. It goes like this:
The supermarket wasn't always known as Giant. When it first opened, it was called Teeny Weenie. The store was very small, with just one tiny little shelf.
Teeny Weenie only sold one item – a single raisin. When somebody bought the raisin, a clerk would put another raisin on the shelf for the next customer. They even had tiny little shopping bags for carrying your raisin home. As business got better, the store expanded by selling a Q-tip and a raisin. And then selling two raisins along with the Q-tip, and so on, building up their inventory over time.
As the owners offered more things for sale and expanded the store, they kept renaming it. It started out as Teeny Weenie, and then it was called Small. Then they named it Big and eventually Pretty Big. For a while it was called Quite Large, but it's been Giant for a long time now.
The rumor had been that they were going to make the store even bigger yet, and then it will be Humongous.
So when Giant took down the sign last week to spruce up its image for its 75th anniversary, my daughter was sure we’d get to witness the momentous transformation.
But we didn’t, of course. Driving down Wilkens a day later, she showed off her newly acquired reading skills.
“It’s still Giant!” she reported with disappointment. “They just put up a new sign and other signs saying what they have inside. It isn’t Humongous yet. Maybe next time.”
“Maybe next time, sweetie,” I said. “We’ll have to keep an eye on it.”