So Much Depends on a Little Red Cart.

Here on Martha’s Vineyard, the town of Oak Bluffs has a rare jewel.

A family-owned supermarket on its Main Street.

The “Reliable Self-Service Market”.

The market is of a type that was once common, the centrally-located town market. In most parts of the United States, the chain supermarkets and big box stores have killed off stores like Reliable.

I stopped at Reliable not long ago to buy a few items.

Right now it’s mid-winter, and there are few tourists. Almost every car you see has Massachusetts license plates. With patience, you might see some vehicles from the New England states. On this trip downisland I saw vehicles from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, plus one from New York and another from …… Alabama?

There’s a story there, but I didn’t stop to learn what it was.

The real story was inside the supermarket. The story is about a mother and her little girl, shopping for groceries. Take a look at the photo. There’s something really special going on.


Mother and daughter shopping. Reliable Self-Service Market, Oak Bluffs, MA. For more about this store, see:

What’s particularly special is the little red child-sized shopping cart.

In the winter time, when the store is relatively peaceful, the owners keep four child-sized carts near regular carts, next to the door that come in from the main street, for parents and children shopping together. This is a wonderful way to help kids learn how to go about the business of life.


“What’s next, mom?” Mother and daughter shopping. Reliable Self-Service Market, Oak Bluffs, MA.

Isn’t it nice to see such awareness, kindness and consideration for “small people”?

4 responses to “So Much Depends on a Little Red Cart.

  1. I love Reliable. I started shopping there regularly when I lived in Vineyard Haven, maybe a dozen years ago. I got hooked. For the last eight years I’ve been in West Tisbury. I’m still shopping there, with occasional forays to up-island Cronig’s to fill in the gaps. Sometimes I do fantasize a flyway over the state forest so I could get there from here a little faster.

    P.S. I saw Nebraska outside Good Dog Goods on the 29th of December. There has to be a story there. I hope they haven’t left the island yet.

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