I love words, and thinking about how we use them, and then dont. One such word is jitney.
When I was growing up, a small grocery store at the bottom of our hill was called Jitney Jungle. Jitney can mean nickel. It can also mean cheap, shoddy, poorly made. Or to ride on a bus. (Makes one wonder why youd put such a term in your companys name .)
The Jitney Jungle was where Mama sent us for a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, or even a package of cigarettes. Getting back up the hill, on a bike, with a carton of milk was not easy, but doable! I havent seen one in ages, but apparently they still exist.
According to Reference.com, Jitney-Jungle Stores of America, Inc., one of the largest, privately owned grocery chains in the nation, operates in six southern states: , Alabama , Arkansas , Florida , Louisiana , and Mississippi . Tennessee It is the largest retailer in , its home base, where it enjoys a 25 percent share of the grocery market. It is associated with Delchamps; Sack and Save (McCarty-Holman Company, Inc.); Foodway, Inc.; Megamarkets. Mississippi
The etymology (genealogy of a word!) of Jitney seems to be obscure to many dictionaries, but the Financial Dictionary has this history of the word:
Jitney, or “the jitney game,” is basically the same thing as circular trading. The term originated from “Jitney buses,” which was a derogatory slang term for Ford buses at the beginning of the century. A reporter coined the term by alluding to the five-cent piece it cost back then for a bus ride. It has since been used to refer to something that is cheaply and poorly made.