I was reminded recently that US grocery stores often have strange names. I grew up shopping at Big Bear and Giant Eagle and thought it was very normal for grocery stores to be named after megafauna.

Given a list of real but strange grocery store names to complete (such as Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, Hinky Dinky, and Smart & Final), I wondered what other names an AI might deem equally normal.

I used OpenAI's GPT-3 neural nets for the project, since they were trained on so much internet text that I could get away with relatively few additional examples. I immediately ran into a problem where the larger models recognized my examples as grocery stores and merely added more real-life stores to the list. But I had better luck with the smallest model, Ada. It seemed to respond to my list by alternating between random real brands, weird fanfiction, and stores like these:

Dandy Orchard
Large Bag
Boonie Weasel
Now & Then Foods
Eggfooted Turtle
Goomy Foods
See How Much!
Sleepy Bloom Bloom
Rhino On Windows
Brash & Haunted
Big Fuzzy
Blue Why Why
Jumbo Boost Built in Juice
Too Good to be True Foods
Fair-Oil Edible Foods
Rash Dung Parade
Little More Large Brook
McSkinney's Pile
Unknown Foods

It took me a while to collect these, because Ada would only add a few items at a time before stopping or veering off into text like this:

ABC Supermark offers price reductions on items that are free of per lot regulations, higher discounts on milk per gallon, milk AA's, corn bags, frosted yogurt containers, vitamins per gallon, orange juice, partiers' jerky, frozen pizzas, frozen pizzas with chain, baked beans, cans of soup/stir fry, unlimited unlimited milk milk milk milk milk milk milk milk milk milk milk milk

Still, I'd like to see the logos for some of these.

Bonus content: several other brands Ada invented that didn't quite sound like grocery stores (although I Will Never Be The Same Again Specialty Foods does sound like it could be a supplier for some of the stores above). Or become a free subscriber to get new AI Weirdness posts in your inbox!

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