What Does Cash and Carry Mean?

Cash and Carry Meaning

Definition: Sold, often in bulk, but not delivered.

This expression describes products that a person can buy and then take away from the store. The store does not offer a delivery service.

It is common in the wholesale sector where people will buy a large quantity of goods from a wholesale warehouse, oftentimes for cash, carry it out and the store, and take it home.

Origin of Cash and Carry

This expression originated in the first half of the 1900s. It comes from the idea that consumers pay for their items in cash and then carry them away.

Examples of Cash and Carry

cash and carry definition Two young women use the expression while talking about where to order dinner.

Cassie: Do you want to get pizza at someplace nearby?

Rebecca: Sure. I’m pretty hungry after dancing at that club.

Cassie: Let’s order from that place that’s a block away from our house. They can deliver it pretty quickly, I bet.

Rebecca: Oh, unfortunately, that place is cash and carry. They don’t do deliveries, and you can’t eat there.

Cassie: Oh, well, I guess we can do takeaway.

Rebecca: Yeah, that sounds good to me. Let’s do it.

cash&carry In the dialogue below, two friends are discussing what kind of business they should open.

Antonio: I’m glad we are going to open a liquor store together.   

Igor: Me too! I had an idea that I think would really set us apart from the competition.

Antonio: Oh yeah? What’s the idea?

Igor: Delivery! People can order drinks, like beer, liquor, or even cocktails, and we can deliver it right to their doorstep!

Antonio: I feel like there are probably some legal reasons why we can’t do that. We should probably stick to being a cash and carry store.

Igor: All I’m asking you to do is think about it.

Antonio: Okay, I’ll think about it.

More Examples

In the article excerpt below, diners who order food at a tourist attraction can’t have it delivered.

  • In addition to the multi-media high-tech visitor experience, One World Observatory’s 101st floor will include a restaurant incorporating the panoramic views, a gift shop, and cash and carry food sites serving what Checketts called “iconic” New York fare. –New York Daily News

This article excerpt uses the expression to describe products at an auction. Some items can be delivered, but the customer must carry items with a sale tag away.

  • The sale will feature something for everyone interested in art and antiques, with prices from $100 to $5,000 and up. Tag-sale items are cash-and-carry; auction items will be sold Saturday and Sunday. –Denver Post


Cash and carry means that a store sells something to a person who then takes that purchase with them. The product is not delivered.