The thread about least favorite Thanksgiving foods got into the pros and cons, mostly cons, actually, of a store-bought pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table, and the consensus seemed to be that the store-bought kind were uniformly tasteless, and some were destined for the garbage can.
Got me thinking about those pies as convenience foods, especially for the elderly, whose eyesight or nimbleness of fingers don't permit the challenge of baking like they once did. Even the "easy" recipes from scratch may no longer be possible. A neighbor wants to make sure their elderly friend is included in the Thanksgiving guest list, and the conversation of "what can I bring?" ensues. The elderly guest shows up with...you guessed it... that store-bought pie that was always perceived as awful. But it is a gift of kindness, a gesture that is saying "thank you for inviting me." We could tell this scenario over and over with the batchelor who has never baked in his life, or the single mom with her 4 little ones who keep her running from morning to night, and sometimes through the night. We could tell the story for get-togethers other than Thanksgiving. That frazzled mom may put one of those pies in the grocery cart and serve it to her kids as a special dessert, since she rarely had time to whip something up at home. (We get together for covered dishes with other couples frequently, and the majority are working at their employment all day. The desserts are usually out of a box.)
Pre-packaged Mrs. Whoever pies or pastries may never measure up to homemade, but sometimes in our frenetic society, they just hit the spot.