12 Worst Supermarkets In America

grainlady_ksDecember 30, 2013

I just read the article, and here is the list.... The only one on the list available here is Walmart Super Center, which I shop once a week because there are things in this one-horse town I can't get anywhere else, or they have the best price. The store is very clean, and at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, never crowded. There are some things I don't purchase there, such as meat and most produce..... -Grainlady

12. Stop & Shop
11. Acme
10. Ralph's
9. Pick 'n Save
8. Food Lion
7. Weis Markets
6. Top Markets
5. Jewel-Osco
4. A&P
3. Shaw's
2. Walmart super Center
1. Pathmark

Here is a link that might be useful: 12 Worst Supermarkets in America

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In our area we have both Wegmans (usually one of the top rated supermarkets) and Tops which is on the worst list.

I have always been a Wegmans shopper due to what they call every day low prices, high quality, and great customer service. Unfortunately they have been getting busier and busier. The stores are expanding and the great customer service now seems a little strained.

My son works at Tops so I get a little inside info. Tops is more about higher regular prices and then major sales. They are less busy which makes it easier to get in and out. While I still they their customer service is lacking overall they do seem to develop more of a rapport with their customers. Tops was recently bought by some of the top managers. Previously owned by an investment group. Inside word is that Tops will start to move to the everyday low pricing strategy.

FYI Wegmans pays employees more per hour then Tops who has a union. My son could have worked at either but choose Tops as it seems more lack back and friendly. I still stop mostly at Wegmans.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Here's my 2 cents worth based on those I have shopped:

Stop & Shop - Prices are very high, produce is mediocre at best, meats are just OK, selection is OK. Cleanliness is OK.

Shaw's - Prices are high, produce is usually good, meats are horrible, selection used to be very good now very limited. Cleanliness is OK.

Walmart - Prices are OK, but don't buy the meat or produce. Cleanliness is variable depending on the day.

Food Lion - It's been a few years since I've shopped a Food Lion but it was one of the dirtiest store I had ever encountered. Meats and produce were horrible.

When I shop a chain, I go to Demoulas/Market Basket. The prices are good, selection is good, produce is good, meat is OK. I use a local butcher shop for my meat. Cleanliness varies from store to store but the ones I shop regularly are very clean.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:18PM
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I'm surprised to read that S&S is considered expensive - it's among the most reasonable in my area. It's not among the cleanest though.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I don't know how these "surveys" are done. Typically a bigger store will have more customers, and more complains. Mostly satisfied customers seldom comment.

The Stop & Shops (3 in my area) are all good. Great prices.

I would much rather see "12 BEST supermarkets".


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I always liked Shaw's, it was the first big market in our small town in Maine. I hit the Walmart super center about once every week or so. Good prices. Stuff I can't find anywhere else and I can get most of my other stuff there too.

A & P is still around?

Ya' gotta eat.

Food Lion is dreadful, have to agree with that. Love Wegman's, my favorite.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 2:25PM
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I am always blown away with the selection of foods in American supermarkets. Not so much meat and produce but deli, breads, frozen, prepared and packaged foods. Way more selection than we have here...although most of it I don't select anyway!!! LOL

The Publix market I frequent when in Florida must have 25 feet of shelving just for canned soups...I am not exaggerating.

Also no end of tex mex ingredients and a deli section the size of my entire meat section at home....and condiments and sauces ...lordy, lordy!

I wish I could find another market close to where we stay but Publix seems to have the monopoly on grocery stores in the area.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Food Lion is right on my way home, so I do often shop there, two miles from my house. The location on Hwy 70 is cleaner and better stocked than the location near me. It is in a more affluent area of town - so I understand the difference. If the cupboard is bare and so is the bank account, then Food Lion it is.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Of those, we only have Walmart which is just OK. I used to LOVE Walmart back in the day and it was so good and so cheap. It is neither good nor cheap anymore...very sad decline of a once great store. The thing about Walmart is that they think they can run a store with only a few employees on staff and expect only a hand full of people to be able to do everything. The store manager actually receives bonuses based on how low their payroll is for the year! INSANE! So if you ever wonder why you can never find anyone to help you at Walmart...well that's why! :(

I shop at Marc's and ALDI for most things.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 4:16PM
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First, the article is from 2012 so I think some of these stores may have cleaned up their act.

We have Walmart and Jewel here and I have no complaints on either. The Jewels here have been remodeling for the past year or more. They also know that they will be getting more customers since the 70 Safeway stores all closed at noon on 12/28/13.

I rarely shop at Jewel since we have so many indy stores to pick from. Marianos is a upscale Roundy's, Tony's started small 30 years ago and is now giving the others a run for the money with 6 new stores, whole Paycheck, and many smaller ethnic based markets. And Aldi's is going gangbusters here with many new locations.

My latest gripe is Costco. Salmon they claim to have packed that day stunk to high heaven when I went to cook it that night. (When I returned it the next morning the CS clerk told me that happens a lot. Gee, thanks for the warning.) The rotisserie chickens have either been so over cooked they fell apart in the package on the way home and the next one was still raw inside. And the take and bake pepperoni pizza have virtually no cheese on it.

Also note that the Shop and Save listed is not the ones in the Chicago area.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Must be regional and i believe the management plays a big part in satisfying customers. My local Stop-n-Shop is outstanding in service. Starts with the managers, always present and they hire across the board, local students, elders and many with disabilities. Very friendly and helpful. It is just our 'milk and eggs' quick shopping...would not go near the meat/fish area.
They also have local produce in season.

In another direction and not that convenient is a ShopRite that has a very good butcher and has unusual ethnic meats and the odd veggies very fresh. Not so nice and a bit 'private club' in customer help...once every few months for odd things. I dread the trip bit do it when needed.

In NY we have smaller mom and pop markets that i prefer to do business with.
They have and supply what we demand. Good produce and a good butcher dept.

A shame so many markets are not giving customers what they want. Is it really that hard?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 6:22PM
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Ralphs does not have an apostrophe, and I noticed that they spelled it correctly in the review but not in the heading or list. The Ralphs stores vary greatly from one location to another, and so they are not all equal. Some stores have great sushi (such as the Marina Waterside location) and some do not have it at all. I go to at least two different Ralphs stores to get different things that the other store does not have. Some of their stores I will not go to at all, but the Marina Waterside is particularly nice. There is another Ralphs in the Marina about two blocks from the other one, but it is totally different. I shop there because the prices are lower than Gelson's, Bristol Farms, Sprouts, or Pavilions (an upscale version of Von's), although I go to those stores as well - just not as often. The closest store to me is Von's, but it is not nearly as nice as the worst Ralphs in the neighborhood. I do quite of bit of my shopping at Trader Joe's, but there are a lot of items that they simply do not have, particularly when it comes to staple items like grits, dried beans, bread flour, certain herbs, etc. Their fish and meat department is very limited also, but they are good when it comes to frozen items. I do visit a Lebanese market regularly for Middle Eastern items plus cheap produce, and we get good fruits and vegetables from Farmers' markets all year, but they are not cheap and not that convenient. I don't mind going to multiple stores for different items - I got used to that when I lived in San Francisco, and I still go to Japanese markets for certain items that are more expensive or harder to find in other markets. Fortunately there are several Japanese markets fairly close - I have to travel a bit further for a Chinese market and even further for a Thai or Korean market, and so I do not go to those as often. Last week-end we went to the Santa Monica Seafood Market for fish, and since it was after Christmas, it was easy to park and there was no line, but around holidays, it is almost impossible to shop there. I bought some Opah and cooked it with leftover sauce from the duck I made for Christmas. Since my duck sauce was hotter than it was sweet, it was very good for the fish. We happened to be in Santa Monica last Saturday buying some flagstone that we will be installing between the patio and the pergola. We got enough so that we can also make a separate walkway from the patio to the pergola. We bought the fish while we were waiting for the stone yard to load our stone onto a pallet. We bought half a ton, and it was a bit of effort to get it from Kevin's pickup to the back yard.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 6:59PM
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The only store on this list that we have anywhere close is Walmart. The nearest one is in Fremont, 18 miles away, the other is in Big Rapids, about 30 miles. They both are horrible, the product is abysmal, the stores are crowded and unclean and the employees are sullen and unhelpful. The store is woefully understaffed and the shelves are seldom stocked. They don't carry simple ingredients like ground ginger. Ugh.

The nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is 4 hours away. We do have a Meijer's in Big Rapids, as well as a brand new Aldi. They are both clean, well light and have pleasant employees. I have a small independent grocery here in town where I get basics and "emergency" groceries, and the clerks all know me by name and they have better produce than anyone.

My milk comes from a small local dairy, Hilhof Dairy, it's organic and still comes in glass bottles and tastes like I remember milk tasted when I was a kid. I raise my own beef, pork, chickens, garden. I can vegetables and fruit and have a root cellar for potatoes, onions, apples, etc., and if I can't produce a product, I try to buy it locally. I buy green beans and roast my own coffee, I buy the green beans from a company in Wisconsin, Burman Coffee as I haven't figured out how to grow that. (grin)

I do still have to buy fresh produce in the winter (no citrus in Michigan), paper goods, cleaning supplies, that type of thing, and for that rely on my independent (Houseman's) or Meijer's.

Every two or three months Elery and I make a trip to Grand Rapids and go to the Mediterranean Market, to the Asian Market, to Russo's, to Costco, and we stock up. Grand Rapids has a new Downtown Market, so we'll check that out in a few weeks, it looks very "upscale" so I doubt it'll be a regular stop, but it should be interesting.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I'm always surprised when I hear others decry the cleanliness and employee demeanor at Walmart. It really must vary store by store as ours is very clean and you have to practically BEG an employee to NOT usher you to a requested item location. No lie. In addition, Walmart prices are either equal to or significantly lower than our nearest supermarket, Giant Eagle. Walmart (W) Giant Eagle (GE)

Thomas English Muffins (W) - $2.68 (GE) - $4.19
Parchment Paper (W) - $3.00 (GE) $5.99
Ritz Crackers (W) - $2.50 (GE) $3.59

You get the idea. One drawback to Walmart is that sometimes items are randomly discontinued. Like my favorite huge bag of completely unhealthy animal crackers:)

I shop produce and meat at Giant Eagle holding my nose, picking up touted "fresh" green beans that could be tied in a perfect bow before they would ever snap. Ugh. Can't wait til summer.

As an aside, I find that Target many times has items on sale that beat both my local grocery and Walmart.

Interesting list/comments.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:57AM
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The only ones near us on the list are Walmart and Weis.

We do have a Pathmark about 15 miles away and I make a semi-annual pilgrimage there to stock up on 7 oz. paper cups (ever try to buy that size in paper rather than plastic?) but I never paid attention to the rest of the store.

I'd agree that the Weis Markets belong on the list for lackadaisical customer service and lack of management presence. I have never seen a management person on the floor in any of their stores except when company executives are visiting.

On the other hand, Weis private label items like frozen vegetables, canned tomato products, etc. are consistently superior to not only to the private label of supermarkets not on the list (Wegmans, Giant, etc.) but often to the well-known branded items.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I refuse to shop at Walmart, and it's the only store on the list.

I've gotten either more critical, or all the grocery stores have gone way down hill over the last few years. For convenience, I shop at Tom Thumb (which is a cousin to Vons), but it's expensive and mediocre quality. I've gotten to where I shop mostly at Central Market or Whole Foods. They are not really any more, or much more expensive than Tom Thumb, but their quality is usually much higher.

I do shop at Target, also, but their selection is limited. I like their nuts, and in general they have the best house brand of any I've tried, especially frozen vegetarian pizza. I don't get it much any more, but I used to. I got tired of it, and after all, frozen pizza can only be so so at best.

For produce its Central Market or Whole Foods. No one else has better.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have the same experience here, Cathy in pa, with the the wal mart and if I don't like the produce, I ask for what is in back and there are always helpful employees around.

But our Aldis is great too and practically next door to the wal mart and other main grocery store, Bilo, so it's all convenient.
The main store, however, Bilo, had the worst fresh salmon recently and I had to show the seafood manager recently why it was so bad, but he was indifferent. It wasn't cheap either but my opinion of the store dropped significantly.

But if I had to pick a really bad grocery store, it would be Hometown. Ewwww

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I would agree with the other NC posters that Food Lion is not our first choice either. Our local store is OK as far as cleanliness, but we generally do not buy meats there unless pre-packaged. Another regional discount supermarket chain, BI-LO, has had a few of their stores bought up by Publix who are now infiltrating our area. I have yet to shop at a Publix, but the one near my work will be open sometime mid-2014. If we need something quick near home, it's either Food Lion or the Hispanic supermarket Compare depending on what it is we need.

Debrak, I remember back when Tops was locally owned, it was a much better store than when it became owned by conglomerates. Then Wegmans came into the area. I would definitely put Tops on the level of Food Lion here.

Don't shop at Walmart, mostly because they do not carry the deli meats DH likes.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 2:27PM
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I used to live in Syracuse, NY and Wegman's was always a decent store.

Here, in South Carolina, I prefer Publix overall.
I do not like BI-LO and Harris Teeter closed.
Food Lion is very close so when I need something quickly I do run in there but it is not my fave (at all!).

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Publix all the way. Well, except when I haven't put on makeup or fixed my hair...then I go to Winn Dixie (Bi-Lo is their parent company) .

We do have Sweetbay here (FL). They are fine but they are closing and will reopen as Winn Dixie; I prefer Sweetbay.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:00PM
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beachlily z9a

You have to wear makeup and have tidy hair to shop in your Publix??????? I NEVER wear makeup and the hair is usually well kept, but I go to Publix with a teeshirt and shorts or jeans whenever I need something. Guess we are a little more laid back on this side of the state.

Do find that I like to shop at BJ's Wholesale. They have name brands and good personnel. It's big and clean (and new) so it's a surprise for me. Target--purchase canned goods there and sometimes they have products that Publix doesn't carry. Publix is facing new competition with BJ's and Target is across the street from the new place. I've seen prices adjusting with the new player in the mix.

I swear, financial analysis never stop analyzing!! And I've been retired for quite some time.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I remember being shocked when I lived in Sarasota as a college student, of grocery shoppers wearing bathing suits. It's a regional thang!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:21PM
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The dress code for supermarkets is funny! I remember a conversation recently where I asked friends and family....if you had been camping and hadn't washed your hair in days, or was covered in mud from 4 wheeling, or some other calamity which store in our area would you stop for milk? TOPS was the answer. Not because the store is dirty but rather the customers are less judgemental.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Actually, my self-inflected dress code is because I can go to my Publix for a quart of milk and spend an hour because of friends, family, and neighbors I run into.

The product clerk calls me Aunt Cathy because my nephew worked with him before he (my nephew) passed away last year while waiting for a transplant. He says he wants me to continue to have a nephew to hug when I come in.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I pretty much am always well groomed when I go grocery shopping as running into lots of people is a given.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:23PM
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A brief comment about Walmart: My grandson worked briefly for a Walmart in Kentucky. He was working as a stocker, and was repeatedly and severely reprimanded for helping customers who asked for information. He was assigned the same aisle every day for weeks.

His instructions were to say, "I am just a stocker. I don't know." and continue stocking shelves without interruption.

Compare this with Trader Joe's where every worker rotates to a different job every hour. In any given few days, they all are everything, from checkers to stockers in every aisle, to you name it. They all know all of the stock, they are willing, able, and eager to help a customer, and they are not bored out of their minds. I spoke to a young man at TJ's today who was astonished that at Walmart he might have to restock shelves for an eight hour shift day after day. He thought every supermarket worked on 1 hour rotations!

It is really interesting to talk to the workers in the various supermarkets. Ask them about their jobs, what they like, what they don't.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I can't imagine reprimanding an employee for being helpful to a customer.

It's also hard to imagine trading tasks every hour. I don't know if I'd like that or not. It certainly would break up monotony, but I like to finish what I start, too.

I wish we had Wegmans here.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 8:13AM
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I knew exactly what mustangs was talking about when she made the comment about dress when going to either Publix or Winn-Dixie. I think it has more to do with the type of clientele at the stores. I normally shop at Publix and will see friends there regularly but Winn-Dixie is much closer, so I will frequently have to make an emergency run there, and feel comfortable running in with flour on my jeans and no make-up. I find that Winn-Dixie caters more to the 'home-town' crowd.

Surprisingly, I'm frequently able to find more exotic items at W-D that I'm not able to find at Publix.

Oh, to have a Central Market near!!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 10:05AM
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CA Kate

It - apparently - matters what you wear at our Fresno Whole Foods. One day I went in wearing jeans, sweater, and low shoes (versus heels), with hair neat, but no elaborate makeup. I was literally shoved out of the way by 3 other customers who apparently thought I was "just the help". One woman, who had shoved in front of me three times, was really surprised when I spoke up the third time and told her off for being so rude. Finally, at check-out, a woman just put her things on the belt right in front of mine. When the clerk asked what she was doing the woman replied that 'she' was in a rush and the maid could wait. Good for the clerk who sent her away.

'Maid' status is a new one I can add to my list. (And, yes, we 'maids' do have a right to courtesy too!)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I was in my workshop building/making/repairing in my dirty work outfit. Suddenly I remember I had to get a few things for dinner. I didn't bother to change and drove to the store.

All worked out fine in the store. I decided to walk over to the Salvation Army Store a couple of stores away.

I walked around in the store for a while, checking to see if there was any bargains. A Lady who worked there was kind of keeping an eye on me.

Then as I was about to leave. She asked," Did you find any thing you want?"

"Not really."

"Look, why don't you go to the back of the store, you will find lots of coats, pants, shirts--- pick anything you want. No charge. Looks like you can use some stuff to wear."

Based on my appearance, she probably thought I was a homeless bum.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Hmmmmm.....the only store I can really speak of in this list is Ralphs. It is a Kroger-owned store, and for me, it's about the most expensive store in the San Diego area. Needless to say, I don't shop there very much because of that. We'll stop in if we are looking for a specific item and haven't found it anywhere else.

Our Wal-Mart is not yet a Super Store. However, that should happen within the next 6-9 months, because they have been under remodel for this purpose for a long time. My mom states that she has to be really picky about the meats there, usually buying hers at Fry's (Phoenix area).

The military Commissary is our once-a-month shopping place. Stater Bros., a local chain, is our go-to for meats and dairy products. Sprouts is my favorite for produce. Occasionally I will stop in at Vons for something (Safeway--owned). We just got a "Grocery Outlet" store in our town, but I haven't been in there yet. Hubby and I just took out a CostCo membership, 2 days after Christmas, but we haven't spent a lot of time in the food aisles yet. Smart & Final is supposed to move into our town within the next 6 months, too.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:51PM
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We have Ralphs and Walmart but the store I love WINCO is just getting to our area. I have to drive far out of the way but it's worth it. Better than Walmart prices and the store is employee owned so the people are earning a decent wage with benefits. And they are very nice there. The store is no frills but the items are the same name brands at low low prices. The store is open 24 hours.

I've been snobbed before in stores. You never know who you are standing in line next to. Clothes don't earn you the right to be rude. One time I was in some black pants and a crisp white shirt from a presentation at work and a lady came up to me in the market and started complaining. I just let her spout. Finally I told her I wasn't the manager. Her fury was all used up and she went away.

Whole Foods is wonderful but very expensive. I like the produce at my farmers market for the same wonderful high quality and I can talk about it with the families who grew it and that's always nice. Also they will give me a sample to try first.

This post was edited by kittymoonbeam on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 16:23

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:35AM
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LOL dcharch. Reminds me of that Columbo episode when a nun tries to give him a better coat mistaking him for a bum.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:39AM
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Wow, Westelle, just wow. At least the clerk was good about it. I find the employees at Whole Foods to be very helpful. Twice, when they asked if I had found everything alright, I've had to reply that I hadn't. Once, the clerk closed the register and went to find what I couldn't find. I felt a little embarrassed, because it held up the line, but he found what I was looking for. The second time, I wanted a certain brand of yogurt, but all they had in that brand was expired. (quite unusual for WF.) I had picked out another, more expensive brand instead. When I told the clerk about the expired yogurt, he gave me the substitute for free.

As for going shopping while not dressed up, once I went to Neiman-Marcus after work to buy a Texas or food related gift. I work at a nursery, and had been working outside all day, and had gotten fairly dirty. I really didn't want to go home to change, since it was in the opposite direction. So, off I went to NM in jeans, t-shirt, all sweaty and dirty. True to NM's reputation, no one looked askance at me. I was treated courteously and kindly. (I almost never shop there, but I knew they'd have at least something in their food department I could give as a gift and I wouldn't have to take a second mortgage out to buy.)


    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:19AM
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She thought you were the maid??? I had to laugh, who has maids?

Wegmans also asks you at the checkout if you found everything? If you say no they will send someone to get it for you. You usually have the item to you before you finish checking out.

I made the mistake of going to the grand opening of trader joes in our area. The checkout lines went to the back of the store. The cashier in my line left to go find something for a customer. I said out loud WTF!? They could not send someone else? I have never been back to trader joes.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Too funny. Whenever I have makeup, matching clothes, etc. it's guaranteed I will never see anyone I know. Such a waste! Needing milk, go for the incognito (dark sunglasses, baseball hat, slinking) covered with sweat, mascara smeared, long lost hordes will be waiting with open arms to say "Hey! Haven't seen you in ages!!" Gah!

Whole Foods -- great experience. Asked the sales associate cauliflower price. When she returned she had brought over a basketball size beauty! She said for $4.99 I want to get my money's worth:)

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Here in Charlottesville, VA we have a wide range of choices for grocery shopping. Of the major chains, we have Harris-Teeter, Kroger's, Giant, Food Lion, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's, the last two moved in just in the last year. We also have a Great Value, two local stores: Reid's Super Market, and Foods Of All Nations, and an Asian market, an Indian market, and an African market I've been to most of them at least a few times.

We also have a Walmart (and a Sam's Club) but I've not been to either and don't know whether the Walmart has groceries or not.

Of the major stores I usually go to Harris Teeter, but will sometimes go to Kroger's when it is more convenient such as when I'm also going to Lowe's (although Kroger's seafood often looks like it was forced to swim overland to reach the store) Giant is just inconveniently located. Foods Of All Nations, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's or the specialty markets I'll go to if I'm looking for something particular that the other stores don't carry. If I go to Food Lion or Reid's for whatever reason, I'll only buy national brand pre-packaged food, and will check the "best by" date.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:41AM
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The Tops pictured in the article is MY Tops! The one I shop at, I mean. It was recently renovated and enlarged in a companywide effort to standardize and improve the stores, so it doesn't look like that anymore. But I usually go to a small Wegmans. As debrak2008 explained, the prices at Tops tend to be higher than Wegmans to allow for reductions during sales.Tops runs a lot of BOGO sales, and I don't often have the space to buy doubles of things. OTOH, Wegmans has a policy of eliminating brands and carrying only Wegmans products - higher margins, of course. For some things, I prefer particular brands, so I go to Tops for those. I also like the sale prices of fish and shrimp at Tops. And many people around here feel that while Wegmans has better beef, Tops has better pork. So I think a lot goes into deciding which are good or bad stores.

Funny about needing to dress up to go to some stores. I feel that way about the flagship Wegmans in Pittsford, NY. People are in fur coats in there, and not just because it's cold out. I try to avoid that store, but if I have to go, I make sure I'm presentable. Never know who you'll run into.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:34PM
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CA Kate

Yah, " the help" . When I say this I'm not being a bigot: we do have " help" in many homes here, many are live- in, and all are from Central America; I'm white, Anglo-Saxon and so didn't even tic to what was going on until the woman at the checkout called me a maid.

I too shop in many stores... whichever carries what I want. Whole Foods is expensive, but has the best selection of organic fresh foods. Unfortunately Trader Joes is no longer on my route home and so I don't go there as often as I use to. Our neighborhood store is a high-end private market that is really nice. Savemarts vary greatly in cleanliness and content and are good for the basics like sugar.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Ginny20, you made me laugh. Even though I haven't lived in Rochester for 40 years, on every visit back I have to go to Wegman's flagship in Pittsford. It epitomizes the ultimate upscle American supermarket for me, and I usually spend an hour and a half perusing its offerings with mouth agape. What a remarkable store! I wish we had one here. In contrast, the Tops in Penfield near my childhood home seems like a dump.

At home in Richmond, VA, we lost our beloved Ukrops a half-dozen years ago. It was never as exciting as Wegmans, but it offered the nicest service and overall shopping experience. Since they sold out, I no longer am loyal to any one chain. My grocery dollars go to Costco, The Fresh Market, Kroger, and Martins depending on what I need and where I am. I refuse to go to Food Lion (which seems dirty) and Walmart (long lines and surly cashiers.)

If anybody has a Fresh Market in their area, go check it out! It's a wonderful boutique store -- limited offerings and higher prices, but exceptional butcher shop, produce department, and bakery. I won't buy ground beef anywhere else, as they grind it fresh daily with no additives (e.g., pink slime). The fresh organic turkey I got there for Thanksgiving was one of the best I ever roasted. They do have weekly sales that mitigate their high prices.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:42AM
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In addition to the stores I mentioned above, Charlottesville also has a Fresh Market that recently came to town. I've not been there yet, but I've heard that I should check them out. :-)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:21AM
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I've never heard of many of the stores mentioned. I get organic produce at Sprouts, and groceries at Vons and Albertsons.
Albertsons is nearby, but it has higher prices than Vons and is the worst chain ever. The produce area is small with very little organic, the so called flowers/plants/floral area is pathetic, and TWICE the same cashier failed to give me my cash over.
Vons though is so crowded and so dark and it's weird how there is almost always some inconvenient something happening there. The pharmacy is snail slow.
When I read the TJ flyers it all sounds so good but the few times I've been there I could not for the life of me find anything I wanted.
I like Vons dairy products and their cheddar is really good.
Gee, I sound like a real grouch !

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 1:48AM
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The only two to which I have access on a regular basis are Walmart and Weis.

I like Walmart. Good prices and, I have to say that I've had very good meat from them. Produce is kind of spotty, but you can do well if you are picky.

Weis Markets is local to where I grew up. My Grandparents used to shop there. In the last 15 to 20 years, though, it's really started to go downhill. The stores generally aren't all that clean, and selection can be very spotty.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:04AM
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Wegmans just got named #1 by consumer reports. As I said before in this thread, Wegmans is started to get too busy. They need to start building more stores in my area. There are already several stores but they need more!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Our Wegmans store has finally settled down to normal business after going through about an 18-month total remodel to accommodate the addition of a Pub and expanded prepared foods section.

I am a member of their consumer opinion panel and it's been interesting to see what issues grocery store chains are facing. Most recent ones involved overestimating the number of vegetarian customers and the possibility of "pink slime" coming back into the picture but with its new name of "finely textured beef".

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:19AM
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Ruthanna, I would love to be on a local consumer opinion panel, I'm very opinionated! I'll bet you do get good insight.

Publix, my go to supermarket, is in a pricing war Walmart so the customers are benefiting.

A TJ's opened in my city last week; as you can imagine the traffic is such that I won't be going there for 3 months. I did go TJ's while at a ball tournament (Mustangs won!) in Sarasota last weekend and stocked up on some favorites.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 1:47PM
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kframe, welcome back, I've missed you!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:01PM
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beachlily z9a

Oh my! My local Publix is simply a back wall and two side walls. It's being rebuilt. I miss it so much and it closed on March 1. On the way to market, I'd stop to get cash. Now I have to plan ahead. Well, duh! I can go out of my way, but this rebuild is a good thing. It will be 80% bigger when it's done (took over a Walgreen store and will incorporate that into its new space.) It will no longer be the 7-11Publix that caters to the tourists. I might be surprised when it reopens!! Or maybe not.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:52PM
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It appears that Albertsons has purchased Safeway. It remains to be seen, whether prices will improve at either store. I have a Vons within 1/2 mile from me, but Albertsons is a good 3 miles away on the other side of town.

I will add that when it comes to holding a bake sale, Albertsons in the town where I work is much better to the schools than the Stater Bros is. Albertsons just lets the group schedule. Stater Bros wants information from the District that the District doesn't want to share (for very good reason) before they'll schedule a school group outside their doors.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:04PM
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Thanks, Annie! It's been a long time!

Wegman's is starting to move into this area. I like them, but the one that is closest to me is IMPOSSIBLE. It's always so freaking crowded, and the parking lot is an absolute nightmare. Last time I was there I saw two cars collide.

My personal favorite is Harris Teeter. They have the best fish and seafood, and the best sales on fish & seafood.

Unfortunately, they closed the one near me so I don't get to them nearly as often. When they have cod on sale, I make it a point to go.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 10:54AM
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beachlily z9a

Glad to see you again, Kframe!

News just broke that TJ's is building a huge warehouse on the north side of our small town. Currently they have no plans to build a store here, but things change, and I'd be really surprised if we don't get one.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 5:49PM
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We are getting several new Publix here in the Carolinas to compete with Harris Teeter. This will be interesting. A new store opened last week that is on my route home. I haven't checked it out yet. There are a couple more that have opened already but just not convenient for me.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:12PM
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This is all so interesting! Gelsons, which is a small, local chain, which used to be very upscale, is not what it was. You used to be able to get anything at Gelsons and the quality of their produce and meats was legendary. Then you couldn't get just anything there, but they'd order it for you. Then they'd only order it if their distributors had it and they had many fewer offerings on the shelves. They also seemed to have joined that thing where brands can rent shelf space because there bloomed whole shelves of cheap strawberry and grape jam for PBJs and all the lovely selections of different jams was no more. Finally, the produce started to be meh, and the meat was no longer top tier.

It used to be that at Gelson's you didn't really have to look at the produce. Pick up one from the top, it's pretty, put it in the bag. Pick up the next one, it's pretty, take it home. No more. They now have wrinkly peppers! That might not sound shocking to everyone, but it's horrifying in a place like Gelson's. And the last straw was when the meats turned tough.

I'll still stop in if I'm parked nearby, but I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe's (great prices and good quality) or Whole Foods (great variety and top to near top quality, though not sorted for perfection like the old Gelson's). Whole Foods, however, has taken to having more and more of only their house brands and less variety. I know they need to make a buck, but they're relying too much on computer models. A recurring pattern is I find a product I like and then have to order it direct from the maker or on Amazon because they don't carry it any more. It's like they swallowed a Trader Joe's pill and only want their name on stuff. :) At least with the branded products, you can get them on Amazon. You have to beg for canned tomato puree. It'll be on the shelf for awhile, then disappear. The only people who use it are people who cook, so it doesn't have a big sell through and they don't reorder until someone complains. And it's not the kind of thing TJ's has at all. :) Plus, if you order meats for a party form the butcher at Whole Foods, they might or might not have it when you come to pick it up.

So you see, I'm currently on a hate of most grocery stores. The only things I buy at the big chains are paper goods, and a very few national brand staples. Every single Trader Joe's parking lot is crazy. They also are far more likely to have packaged goods which have gone off. Even one of their freezer tote bags had a smell problem. They give refunds cheerfully, though, and always make good. And everyone is so nice there (it's company policy) and they empty your cart. So even though they don't have everything (they were founded as an accessible gourmet store for people with educated palates on teachers' salaries), and the parking is crazy-making, it's my current favorite. Yeah, they only have some favorites during specific times of year and others disappear, but they don't nix whole categories and shelves. Can't get a rutabaga there though. :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 7:13PM
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