Here is what is happening with grocery stores, in America: the recession and rising commodity prices are squeezing profits. Weird stores like Walgreens and Target are now selling groceries. And men who buy groceries hate grocery ads. No love, anywhere!

Last year was great for stocks. Yea, except grocery stocks. The Washington Post runs down the troubles facing the humble American grocer today: food costs are up. Consumers are broke, so stores have to absorb those costs themselves. The number of Americans on food stamps has risen 50% in the last four years. For grocery stores with clientele that can't afford to shop at Whole Foods, this all means steadily eroding profits and the disdain of Wall Street.

And! On top of that, all these non-grocery stores are trying to elbow in on the grocery stores' turf. Target. CVS. Walgreens. Not to mention Wal-Mart, which already has a third of the grocery market in the U.S., and that will surely rise, what with the current popularity of food stamps and poverty. Who wants to ever enter anywhere besides a neon-lit chain store that sells a wide assortment of mass-produced items, anyhow?

"Instead of having you stop at a supermarket or a fast-food place," said Bryan Pugh, vice president for merchandising for Walgreens, "could I potentially entice our shoppers with a better range, better assortment?"

Yes, instead of going to the Taco Bell, why not make it a Walgreens night, once in a while? I bet you can't get your shrinkwrapped turkey sandwiches and hemorrhoids cream and frisbee and 84 varieties of energy drink at the ol' corner grocery store, can you?

So who's to blame for all this? Men, of course. Men now make up the majority of "primary grocery shoppers." Allow the implications of that to sink in for a while. For one thing, all you stores better start making some fucking masculine ads, pronto: "only 22% to 24% of men felt advertising in packaged goods, pet supplies or clothing speaks to them."

Can scantily-clad women posing in Walgreens sell groceries? We shall soon find out. You can be sure of it.

[Photo: Flickr]