Clarence Saunders’ Turnstile
Piggly wiggly interior
Entrance to the Piggly Wiggly storefront, with turnstile located at the front


Clarence Saunders




Allows user to take anything for personal consumption


Possessions of equal worth placed on display for resale


Walking through

Collected by

Warehouse 13


Artie's Office

Date of Collection

May 29, 1974



Customers before the 20th century normally ordered from the catalogue and a clerk prepared packages for shipment. Clarence Saunders flipped the idea and allowed customers to make their own choices from products. You wouldn’t know from the name alone, but Piggly Wiggly was designed as the first successful self-service store. The change was commercial genius.

Hiring less staff for stocking and sales only allowed stores to drop prices lower than competitors. All the inventory was placed within direct reach of consumers and their shopping baskets. Turnstiles and a serpentine layout of shelves forced buyers to view all the products offered before checkout. Thus, shopping became more interactive and nudged along plenty of chances to buy new goods. Innovations like price tags and receipts helped make the same experience possible at different locations.

Saunders quickly lost his fortune, mansion and company with the introduction of stocks. Other ventures failed: Sole Owner, Keedoozle, Foodelectric. The retail world only later found itself emulating his ideas of self-serving registers, pre-made prepared foods and computers for shopping lists.


Going through once turns the user into a ‘customer’ until they enter another turnstile or one full day passes. When active, the user can take anything they want from anywhere for personal use. Private property and shared heritage pieces can both be whisked away by the user without any payment or repercussions. Nobody will know where the items went unless they interacted directly with the customer’s ‘purchase’.

Compensation comes as trade. Possessions of equivalent value will disappear for resale, sometimes even behind nearby window displays to jest the user. Whatever they lack in material worth will be repossessed from their life. Health, relationships, even memories will be gobbled up.


  • Became part of the inspiration behind the Twilight Zone episode ‘’The Mind of Simon Foster’’.
  • Used by Artie as a primitive security measurement in the entrance foyer to the stairs. Unwitting newbies who reach the main floor and take souvenirs learn the consequences of artifact usage without harm (usually).
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