NPR logo What Does Your Grocery List Say About You?


What Does Your Grocery List Say About You?

Performance artist Hillary Carlip collects and interprets discarded shopping lists. She then studies them as if they were treasure maps, carefully dissecting each item, the hand-writing, type of paper and level of order. What type of person remembers they need to pick up Coors and Oreos on the inside of a matchbook cover? What kind of person writes Nair and Fresca in carefully looping magenta ink? Shopping lists are the new memoir, she tells Day to Day's Alex Cohen in an interview.

Below, you can scroll through a gallery of some of the characters she's created from actual lists:

What's on your shopping list? Hillary Carlip has agreed to take one list submitted by a user/listener and turn it into a whole new character. Then she's going to take Day to Day shopping in character. Want your list considered? Because she likes to examine the glorious documents in their original form, it's best if you mail your grocery list to us the old-fashioned way. Mail to:

Day to Day
ATTN: Shopping List
9909 Jefferson Avenue
Culver City, CA 90232

On a separate piece of paper, send us your name, phone number and e-mail.
If you are totally snail-mail phobic, however — you can send us a scanned version of your shopping list at Again, include your name, phone number and e-mail.

Day to Day



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how creative and awesome!

Sent by Crystal Overhuel | 6:44 PM | 7-29-2008

I really enjoyed this interview. I am writing my grocery list right after this comment. Hillary Carlip is creative, fun, artistic and absolutely intriguing.

Thank you NPR and Hillary.

Sent by Krista Lawhon | 6:55 PM | 7-29-2008

If she found (portrait artist) Cindy Sherman's grocery list would the universe explode?

Sent by Nicole Blackman | 10:38 AM | 7-30-2008

The article on Hillary Carp just made me laugh. About 6 weeks ago I opened an old cook book - and an old grocery store receipt surfaced -- from 1983. I was expecting our 1st child. As I look over the receipt, I notice a few things have changed: broccoli is now an occasional item. On the old entry, it was the bulk of the list. Also noticed a change in the price---ugh. The shop still has the same location; the store has changed from one big name to another. Thanks for the fun, I'll keep serving. Respectfuly, Martha

Sent by Martha Cross | 10:47 PM | 7-31-2008