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Grocery Game.....

 There is an interesting article on the blog walletpop today about the best and worst grocery stores.  I think most of us have a love-hate relationship with the supermarkets.  I mean most of us need them, unless, of course, you're Amish.  The Amish generally can still survive just fine without grocery stores. The Amish are venturing into the grocery store more and more as the years go by and they become less agrarian.  But, still, if push came to shove most Amish could get by just fine on their gardens and livestock.  Most of us non-Amish, unfortunately, are stuck with supermarkets (Rachel and I did plant a garden this summer...but not until August 1, so we will probably get some produce for about 10 days before the first frost quashes it)  So if supermarkets are part of our lives, might as well have some fun bashing the ones we dread to go into, and giving a thumbs up to the ones we like.  So, here are my top five, the grocery stores that are pure pleasure to go into and the bottom five, the ones I would rather starve than shop in...


1) Harris Teeter: this is a regional, southern chain....I think I just like it because we always go to the store in Hilton Head, South Carolina to stock up on staples the first night of vacation. So there is sort of a sentimental, vacation warmth about the whole place for me.  And I love their store-brand cookies!

 2) Sobey's:  This is a growing Canadian chain.  The stores are bright and airy, the produce fresh, and, yes, I love their store-brand cookies also - especially the oatmeal!

3) Wegman's: the name says it all.

4) Kroger: not a very "sexy" choice, just your basic everyday supermarket, but they do groceries very well.

5) Publix


1) Marsh: a regional chain in Indiana and Ohio.  If I shopped there for a year I think I'd need to take out a second mortgage. Prices too high, selection awful.

2) Wal-Mart:  good prices, but poor quality - on everything.

3) Whole Foods:  Lives up to its nickname "Whole Paycheck"

4) Aldi's:  Sorry bargain-lovers, I just can't get into this store.  Going in there depresses me......

5) Save-A-Lot:  Again, I like a bargain...I really do, but the stores just are dumpy and depressing......

So, I'm sure most of you have your additions or subtractions to the above the list and I know there are plenty of regional chains to talk, what are your favorites and least favorites?

Re: Grocery Game.....

I can't believe I've only heard of a couple of these stores! I know Walmart and Krogers! That's about the only two! Here in VA, we have many Food Lions, some IGAs, and for the real bargain hunter, we have a place called Sharp Shopper (kind of a shady place that's somewhat like the county fair in that it brings out all kinds of people!) We also have Martins, which is top-notch in produce. Unfortunately, I do most of my grocery shopping at WalMart and our local IGA for the convenience. My time is worth more to me than anything, and at those two places I can get more accomplished without going every place.

lorraine stoddard's picture
Re: Grocery Game.....

I'm an Aldi's shopper.  We buy all of our dairy,bread,canned goods,cereal,some forzen items,paper goods,and the list goes on and on.  We save big shopping at Aldi's.  For other grocies I go to Wal-mart.  I was sad when Albertson's closed it's doors in Omaha.  When we lived in Hammond,Indiana we always brought our meat at Southside Batham in Highland,Indiana.  It is a small Mon and Pop type store.  When we do visit Indiana we always stop there to buy polish ham to take back to Omaha with us.

LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Grocery Game.....

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that's why they call it the present."

Well, I can't give too much comparison considering I have few choices in Smalltown, USA.  Our Aldi is pretty decent, as it was recently remodeled, and I do like to buy produce there.  However, you have to be careful; one week, tomatoes might be 99 cents, then the next week the same tomatoes could go up to $2.59.  I don't quite understand the system.  I bought some really nice mums there for $2.99, and everywhere else they were $5 and up.

County Market is another locally-owned grocery chain that we also have.  In the past, I have thought the meat dept smells rotten (literally!), and have seen chicken with brown speckles on the skin.  Therefore, I do not buy meat there.  They do have some good sales on canned goods, cake mixes, etc.  so I will go there when there is a deal I want.  They are remodeling the one here in town, so hopefully it will get better in terms of cleanliness/appearance.

 Walmart... I go there a lot.  Sorry ;-)  I DO NOT buy their meat, though... I used to when we were first married.  The steak has, what my parents call a "wang to it", sort of an unpleasant aftertaste.  Mostly the prices are low, and I can get other things I need when there... but the produce and meat dept are horrible.

Hy-Vee!  WHOO HOO!  I love that store.  It is big, clean, well-lit.  The produce is fresh, the meat is good.  They have a good selection...but it can be a bit pricey-er than the rest.  I watch the sales flyer, and they often have special coupons in the Free Press.  Sometimes they will have FREE coupons, like a free box of mac n cheese, chili seasoning packet, etc.  And their gas discounts are great.  This week, a $20 grocery purchase gets you 10 cents off per gallon, $40 purchase gets you 20 cents off. (If you don't want to buy that many groceries and still need gas, you can get a gift card to use towards gas, and it counts toward your total).

Re: Grocery Game.....

I live in small town USA also, so I don't have very many options to shop for groceries.

We're now starting to shop at Aldi's, the place it not too bad and they do have great bargains in the canned goods mostly vegetables that we do stock on, they have added a meat dept and lots of good frozen items.

We also have a County Market, I don't hardly ever shop there, I find the prices a bit high and I'm not to thrilled with their meat dept.

Then we do have Hy Vee's, that's the main store I buy groceries at because I know a lot of people who work there, I live close by, I love their deli dept and to save money I buy store brand items.

Now I wish I can drive over to the next towns to the Walmarts...but I don't want to waste the gas and I don't want to waste my money buying less quality meats and produce. 

I understand that Dollar General is selling some groceries...I just haven't checked that out yet and I have a feeling they are not in good quality either :(


LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Grocery Game.....

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that's why they call it the present."

Howdy, neighbor :)

I rarely go to Dollar General (it is on the other side of town), but in my opinion, I think some of their stuff costs MORE than at a normal grocery store.  People automatically think a dollar store is cheaper, but they tend to round up to the dollar/half dollar.

Re: Grocery Game.....

Oh, if only everyone could have a Wegmans! One of the few benefits/pleasures one has living in New York state! Clean, smart, innovative, fresh, comfortable, helpful, accomodating,and #3 on the best companies to work from Fortune magazine. Also, a strong committment to the communities they serve.
And no, I don't work there ;) I just really enjoy shopping at and supporting such a wonderful store. It's a half hour drive, closer to home, there is a very nice local IGA with most of the things you're looking for, good meat slection, and accomdating to the customer. (P&C, Price Chopper, Tops, Walmart, Aldi's, Big M, BJ's, Save-something or other, I rarely visit. Well, BJ's for bulk stuff.)

Re: Grocery Game.....

We have a place called Saar's Market Place - I believe there are 3-4 in the Northwest - and there is one that is less than 2 miles from my house.  It's a nothing fancy store, prices are good - meat "deals" every week.  I agree with most comments about Wal-Mart food - not impressed.  We have some "discount outlets" for mostly canned goods, fresh produce when in season, again, nothing fancy just warehouse atmosphere.  I do shop Safeway and Albertsons when they have a decent sale, just have to watch and compare.  Who knew grocery shopping would be a competition sport. Ha!

Re: Grocery Game.....

I guess I'm in a minority, but we shop primarily at Aldi's.  The quality has improved over the past few years and now I can get almost all I need there.  WE cut our food bill a lot once we started shopping there.  I'll admit it has no ambiance but life's a trade off and I appreciate the prices.  Our other choices are Wal-Mart and Krogers, but I always spend too much at Krogers compared to Aldi's.  Once our store added meat I don't really need to supplement at another store.

Re: Grocery Game.....

here in northern new york we have superwalmart, bj's whole sale club, p and c, save a lot and aldi's and hannaford is not good, their prices are higher then our locally owned grocery store called big's is fine if you want to eat one item for six months, everything there comes in gigantic sizes, hannaford is ok but you have to bag your own and i agree with kevin on save a lot and aldis, discount food at discount prices and dirty dingy stores where you have to again bag your own groceries, besides, has anyone else noticed that aldi's produce always, and i mean always smells musty........wish i had more of an amish work ethic, farming, gardening, etc, i paid five bucks today for a jar of mayonaise, this is getting ridiculous..........when wall street crashes and the rest of us are scrambling to survive the amish will get along just fine................

KJuneBug's picture
Re: Grocery Game.....

Here in the NW, Kroger's are called QFC and Fred Meyer.  QFC used to be locally owned in Seattle and FM was locally owned out of Portland.  QFC is a little bit upscale, FM is like a superstore, or as the ad says "one stop shopping"; they have everything, like  super Walmart or Target; but better quality. Since bought out by Krogers, they have pretty much kept their personalities.  We found traveling about that the Kroger stores in Ohio were like the QFC's as far as groceries, but offered some of the housewares type stuff of a FM.

For us our favorite is a local owned chain of stores, lots of organic, relaxing atmosphere, great quality and not as high priced as Whole Foods (I went in one just north of Columbus on our trip, first time I had been in one) and we are definately a Costco sized family.  I can't stand Albertsons or Safeway.  I did like HyVee when we found those on our trip and we did stop at Meijers a couple times.

I think one of the funnest parts of the big trip was discovering the local supermarkets and trying to figure out which we liked. And it is so cool to know exactly what ya'll are talking about, 'cause I've been!        

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:5

Re: Grocery Game.....

Yes, KJunebug, it is cool in reverse, since I have been to your area, I know the chains you are talking about, too. Fred Meyer stores were awesome, the QFC stores looked kind of funky/minimalist on the outside, but I never went in one....There is a chain in Tacoma/Seattle that Rachel and I visited several times called Top Food Market, that is a local chain (not to be confused with the Tops out east)....I liked that grocery store a lot!

KJuneBug's picture
Re: Grocery Game.....

I forgot about that one! Top Food and Hagens Stores are owned by the same company.  I like Hagens but not Top Foods.  QFC pretty much looks like a Kroger inside, the Kroger we went to Louisville was alot like the QFC stores here.   My Mom and MIL both shop at Top Foods.  The store in our end of town is kind of far from us and they just have the usual products.  

Funny story about one location of Top Foods is that it stands where another grocery store stood when in the neighborhood we lived in when I was a toddler, apparently I was adventurous, I ventured over the the grocery store to ride the pony or merry-go-round, my Mother "lost" me she was frantic going to all the neighbors, I don't recall how she ended up finding me at the groc. store, but when she did I was apparently in big trouble, I was so young I don't even remember.  I got a "payback" though when one of our daughters wandered down the beach one night, it was a youth group thing for our oldest, I was completely freaked, so I know how my Mom must have felt.      

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:5

Re: Grocery Game.....

I live in San Antonio, TX.  Your choices here are HEB, Walmart, Sam's, Whole Foods or Sunharvest.  They took away Handy Andy years and years ago and Kroger's and Alberson's several years ago.Whole Foods and Sunharvest are definately "whole paycheck" places, though very fresh with things you can't find in the regular grocery store.  Walmart has quality issues along with HEB.  HEB is also always very busy and gives me anxiety attacks.  Sam's is great for stocking up, but I hate the very long lines there.   Edited to add:  I totally forgot about Costco.  I don't have a membership there, I guess that's why I forgot it. 

Re: Grocery Game.....

BK, yea, I didn't talk about Meijer...they are OK (in my opinion), I put them in the "average" category....Rempke and Biggs, for people who don't live in this area, are scrappy local chains...Biggs is snobby, stores in "nice" neighborhoods are stocked with sushi, olive bars, fresh cuts of meat, the most prime produce....Biggs in "not so nice" neighborhoods are stocked with crappy bolognas, shriveled fruits, and generics...I don't like grocery stores that do their own "profiling".....Rempke is expensive, but I have to give them credit for carving out a niche....

Re: Grocery Game.....

As for favorite I do agree with Krogers and Publix.  I like Krogers for the deli, produce and meat, Publix is our vacation store when we go to the Florida Keys.  I think every key has one.  I would add to this list Meijers for it's low prices, double coupons, and the ability to get everything at one stop.  I agree with your less favorite on the ones I know (Wal-Mart, Save-A-Lot,).  In our area Whole paycheck is Remke Market.  Not sure where to put Bigg's.  They had lower prices for the most part but never any really good buys and they don't double coupons.  Plus I never liked their deli, always had a funny taste to it.  Never been to Aldi's even though we have one close by.  I have looked at their adds and think I need to go there but never had.  Maybe this week-end...........

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