We can learn about life in the past by reading historic newspapers. This newspaper ad for groceries was written in 1858. That's about 150 years ago.
100 lbs. Flour, all kinds,
3000 lbs. Sugar,…
15 chests [of] Tea,…
Molasses of all Grades,
Stuart's best New York Syrup,…
Porter's Fluid, Patent Oil.
Butter, Cheese, Lard, Pork, Hams, Tripe,
Mackerel, Codfish, Raisins, Figs, Dates,
Oranges, Lemons, Spices [of] all kinds. Pickles,
Salt all kinds, by the Bag, Bushel, or Quart,
Cranberries, Horse Radish, Tomato Ketchup…
All of the above we shall be glad to exchange for CASH at very reasonable rates.
Please call and examine before purchasing.
E. BOWLEY & Co.
Excerpt from the Haverhill Gazette, April 10, 1858.
Long ago, grocery stores did not have as many kinds of food as they do now. It was harder to keep food fresh then.
In 1858, many stores were willing to trade one type of good for another with their customers. The ad above told readers that this store wanted to receive cash rather than other goods in exchange for its groceries. Notice that the ad does not tell the reader how much each item costs. Today, most grocery store ads give prices for each thing being sold.