A DG in every backyard

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

went to sleep one night and dreamed that when I awoke the next morning a DG had been built in my backyard. What’s a DG? A Dollar General store. That may seem an unusual dream, but that corporation seems to be building stores everywhere. What’s wrong with my backyard?

The 1928 Presidential campaign slogan of winner Herbert Hoover was “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Why not a DG in every backyard?

Donna Sue and I recently drove to Jekyll Island for our Methodist Annual Conference. That is a one-way trip of about 200 miles. It’s hard to believe, especially from someone who dreams that a Dollar General store was built in his backyard, but there was hardly a stretch of mileage that did not include a DG, either in sight through the front windshield or in the rear view mirror.

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One way of knowing that you have “made it” is when your name no longer has to be spoken completely. No one says Presley after Elvis. Or Haggard after Merle. There is no need.

The first time I heard DG instead of the full name, Dollar General, was at my momma’s house over in Mitchell County. It might have been one of my nephews saying, “I’ve got to go over to DG for so-and-so.” At that point, I knew that the Rubicon had been crossed and there was no going back.

Momma loves the DG near her house. Because of her macular degeneration, momma doesn’t drive anymore so when she needs to go somewhere her sisters or community friends take her. Sometimes I do and we were in Pelham and she needed some groceries. We went through their Piggly Wiggly store and bought quite a nice buggy full of groceries.

I noticed, however, a peculiarity in her shopping. We’d go by something and she would say she needed that. I would say, “Let’s get it.” Then she would tell me, “No, I get that at Dollar General.”

As Larry Munson would say, “Get the picture.” We were going by an item she needed and the price was good, but, “No, I get that at Dollar General.”

On the way home, she said, “I want to stop at Dollar General.” I thought, well, we have just bought more groceries than momma and daddy used to buy for all of our family, but we’ve got to stop by Dollar General. Is that a medical disorder?

At the counter of every Dollar General is a book by the name of My Father’s Business. It’s the Dollar General story as written by the son of the founder. The first Dollar General was in Scottsville, Kentucky. It was in the mid-1950’s and Cal Turner’s store went by the name J.L Turner and Son Wholesale.

Hurly Calister “Cal” Turner loved to buy out the inventory of manufacturers whose items were not selling. He would buy them at a rock bottom price and, then, sell them at his and other stores at a reasonable mark-up. He soon found that people loved a good deal even if they didn’t actually need the item.

One day he was inspired by the idea that his store would price everything for a dollar. I think I read where he would sell one shoe for a dollar and, naturally, the person would want to buy the other shoe for another dollar.

Cal Turner passed on in 2000 and his family no longer has any monetary interest in the stores, but the one he started has turned into 16,000 nationwide. And one day, who knows, there may be a big yellow sign with black letters in your backyard!