Author Topic: My grocery store shut down  (Read 3843 times)

Kimera757

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My grocery store shut down
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:15:52 PM »
There's a grocery store near where I live that shut down, supposedly temporarily. I shopped there because it was cheap (even taking advantage of their reward program).

The good news is there are at least two other nearby grocery stores. I went to one last weekend and the other one today and took notes on some of the prices. While average prices were probably a little higher (in some cases ludicrously higher) compared to the original store I noticed that some products I buy were cheaper at one store than the other. Which leaves me in a quandary. Each product I normally buy is available at non-ludicrous prices at at least one of these stores.

I don't want to shop more than once per week. I take a cart (by foot, it's walking distance) to the grocery store so I can carry a week's worth of stuff. I think it would be a hassle to buy some things at one store, then take the same half-loaded cart and go to another store, etc, in order to get the best deal at each store. I use reusable bags but they're all branded with the original store's designs, and I don't want someone to think that the carrots I got at store #2 were in fact obtained at store #3.

So I ask Mustachians... how do you normally shop? Is your time valuable enough that you just pick the store that generally gives the best deals?

JLee

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 08:37:23 PM »
I typically go to whatever store is closest to me and tailor my diet to what's on sale.

With This Herring

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 08:39:01 PM »
I am fortunate in that the two grocery stores I frequent most are only a few hundred feet apart (though they are driving-distance away from home).  So, I keep an Amy Dacyczyn-style price book and buy things almost entirely on sale wherever they can be had cheapest.  Occasionally I will drive out to one of a few other stores for a third stop, but only if their online flyers indicate I can get enough groceries at a big enough discount to merit the gas.  For example, a more-distant store occasionally has cheddar cheese at $1 less per pound than the best price I would get at my main two groceries, so I will go and get 10 to 20 lbs.  As I have already judged the trip worthwhile, I will also pick up other odd items that are cheaper there that week.

I don't think anyone cares what your reusable bags look like.  I have a huge mishmash of ones from various groceries and random giveaways (such as a payroll company, a CPE sponsor, DBF's automobile-based employer, etc.), and I see many other people with weird assortments.

Are you worried that someone might think you are stealing groceries?  Maybe your best bet for that would be just to keep your receipts in your pocket, wallet, or purse so you can prove you did purchase the items if ever it is necessary.  Or, make friends with the service desk staff and say "Hey, I've already done a bit of shopping from store #2, would you mind holding my cart behind the desk until I've purchased my groceries from here at store #3?  I wouldn't want there to be any confusion about this."

Would it make sense for you to go to store #2 and store #3 on alternating weeks?

Kimera757

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 09:00:47 PM »
I don't think anyone cares what your reusable bags look like.  I have a huge mishmash of ones from various groceries and random giveaways (such as a payroll company, a CPE sponsor, DBF's automobile-based employer, etc.), and I see many other people with weird assortments.

Are you worried that someone might think you are stealing groceries?

Yes, that is the biggest consideration.

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Would it make sense for you to go to store #2 and store #3 on alternating weeks?

Unfortunately not for some things, such as meat. (I don't think I could get away with buying two weeks worth of meat at once.) However it would probably work for almost anything else. (I can get fruit cheap near work, so I don't have to worry about getting that on weekends.)

Cpa Cat

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 09:30:09 PM »
What you're thinking about doing doesn't seem very strange. Tie the handles of the bags so that nothing can slip in. Keep your receipt. Place a basket on top of the cart for the items you're buying at store #2. If anyone were to challenge you, you'd just produce your receipt.

But I don't think they will. I've worked at a grocery store, and no one was ever challenged unless someone actually saw them stealing. People would come through my register all the time with bags from another store. They'd usually tell me they had been shopping at the other store, but frankly, it was not necessary unless they were carting around something that couldn't fit in a bag. Even then, in those days stores usually had stickers to put on large items to mark them as paid for.

Think about it this way: I made $7.25 an hour and most people aren't thieves. So my level of caring about what was happening in a customer's cart was basically 0. The chances that your reusable bags are chock full of stolen produce are very slim and no one gets a bonus for catching you in the act.

That said, I decided to stop stopping at multiple shops. Unless it was super duper convenient for me, I decided that my time was worth more than the $5 I was going to save.

With This Herring

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 09:45:00 PM »
Quote
Would it make sense for you to go to store #2 and store #3 on alternating weeks?

Unfortunately not for some things, such as meat. (I don't think I could get away with buying two weeks worth of meat at once.) However it would probably work for almost anything else. (I can get fruit cheap near work, so I don't have to worry about getting that on weekends.)

Why not buy two weeks of meat at once?  (This is an honest question, as DBF is a vegetarian so I don't buy meat often.)  My parents buy large amounts at a time when there is a sale, then freeze whatever won't be eaten immediately.  It is the best way for them to get good prices.  Or are you competing with roommates for freezer space?

Johnez

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 02:29:43 AM »
I typically go to whatever store is closest to me and tailor my diet to what's on sale.

Bingo. Also, stock up on staples as they go on sale. When sausage goes on sale, time to pull out the noodles and sauce out of the pantry and make some spaghetti.

Also, I know multiple trips are a pain, but how bout make it easy and stop by a store on the way home from work? I used to do this all the time if Store A had killer deals on produce and Store B had killer deals on meats.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 02:34:20 AM by Johnez »

pancakes

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 03:53:56 AM »
I used to live in a location that had three grocery stores and a fruit and veg market within walking distance and we would often go to all four on foot.

The markets had the cheapest fruit and veg so we'd do that first. Then I'd look online for which if the two major supermarkets had what we needed at the best prices and we'd buy those things there. Then we'd head to the funny little independent supermarket which would be super expensive for most things but had great prices on frozen fish, meat, cheese and mushrooms. Supermarkets here often have 50% off deals on particular products so it is definitely worth the extra walk if we need something that is available on a good discount.

We always shop as a pair so if we are worried about appearing as though we are shoplifting, one of us can wait outside with our other bags. Usually we just go in with stuff from the other stores. We have receipts after all.

All up including the walking it would take at most 90 minutes. We are not in walking distance anymore to any supermarket except a very expensive one so drive and do the same thing.

MayDay

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 04:56:05 AM »
If its pleasant weather and not to far of a walk, I'd probably just take two separate walks to the two stores.

If not you can definitely combine.

Kimera757

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 05:05:10 AM »
Also, I know multiple trips are a pain, but how bout make it easy and stop by a store on the way home from work? I used to do this all the time if Store A had killer deals on produce and Store B had killer deals on meats.

I only actually need the cart if I'm buying something to drink, so I think I can visit one store after work one day and the other one on the weekend using a cart.

Cranky

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2017, 05:38:12 AM »
Can you leave your cart at the service desk? They'll usually give you a tag/receipt for it. Then you can reclaim it when you've done your shopping at store #2.

I have several stores that I stop at once/month or so, and stock up on specific things. (Neither aldi nor my neighborhood grocery store carries tofu, so we buy that at the italian market.) And we don't eat meat every night, but I usually buy a couple of weeks' worth and repackage it and freeze it, because one store has much better meat than the others.

Laura33

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2017, 07:12:39 AM »
Quote
Would it make sense for you to go to store #2 and store #3 on alternating weeks?

Unfortunately not for some things, such as meat. (I don't think I could get away with buying two weeks worth of meat at once.) However it would probably work for almost anything else. (I can get fruit cheap near work, so I don't have to worry about getting that on weekends.)

Why not buy two weeks of meat at once?  (This is an honest question, as DBF is a vegetarian so I don't buy meat often.)  My parents buy large amounts at a time when there is a sale, then freeze whatever won't be eaten immediately.  It is the best way for them to get good prices.  Or are you competing with roommates for freezer space?

This.  No problem with freezing meat, as long as you have the space.

You also don't need to force yourself into a new routine -- you can alternate some weeks (and just get by on what you have managed to stock up), and other weeks do both (you should be totally fine if you tie the tops of the bags and keep the receipt).  That's what I do -- I have my preferred stores for different things, but some weeks I just don't feel like dealing with the drive to X or the crowds/chaos at Y and I just make a quick stop at the nearby Giant for bare necessities and eat out of the freezer/pantry for the rest of it. 

NoStacheOhio

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 10:10:30 AM »
When my wife was unemployed (most of last year), we'd regularly hit five different stores. She had plenty of time to go over the circulars and shop the sales. Now that she's back to FT work, we have one main store, and then we'll selectively shop others for really good sales, or if they have a better price on something we buy infrequently (i.e. flour and sugar at Aldi).

meghan88

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 12:23:01 PM »
I bike for all my groceries so I'm at the second or third store with a full knapsack (and sometimes a half-full reusable bag).  I keep my receipts.  In all my (many) years of shopping this way, I've never been asked for my receipts.  Saving money at the grocery store is important to me, to the point that I'll make two trips if I need to, i.e., if I don't have enough room on the first trip.  Look at it this way: two trips = double the fresh air and exercise!!

teen persuasion

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 02:11:39 PM »
I'm an opportunistic shopper - if I see a good deal, I nab it.  Five packages of 3 boneless chicken breasts each for 99 - grab them all and freeze for future use.  No fabulous deals on meat this week?  Shop from the freezer, eat what's available.

I used to coupon, rebate, and try to get all the loss leaders, but coupons and rebates have fallen off in value.  I live in a rural area and have to drive to get to a grocery store, so I try to combine shopping with other necessary trips.  That determines which store I get to, but I mainly shop Aldi for staples and only stop at other stores if I'm nearby and it's a screaming deal for something we want/use.  It's not worth the gas and time to chase one or two items, for me. 

I have a stash of staples on hand, and make sure to replace them when I get to the last one, but usually I can get from sale to sale on items that fluctuate in price by stocking up on deals.  So my shopping list isn't based on meals I planned out.  Rather, my meals are based on the deals I find, and what's in my stockpile.

backyardfeast

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 02:36:17 PM »
The easiest thing to do is find out if one or both of the stores price match.  Bring the other store flyer with you when you go to the store you want to and do your regular shopping, then show the flyer at the till to get the other store's price.

You could also stop in a both customer service desks and ask about their price matching process ahead of time, to figure out the best strategy.  Plus, I would be totally transparent about what you're doing--the stores should know that people are comparison-shopping between them! :-)

Jakejake

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 03:29:33 PM »
I bike for all my groceries so I'm at the second or third store with a full knapsack (and sometimes a half-full reusable bag).  I keep my receipts.  In all my (many) years of shopping this way, I've never been asked for my receipts.
I do the same thing, biking to multiple stores in one trip. Sometimes I tell the cashier "the other stuff in my bike bag is from XXX store, I have the receipt if you need to see it." Nobody ever wants to.

Kimera757

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2017, 04:26:04 PM »
Thanks for the great advice Mustachians.

Can you leave your cart at the service desk? They'll usually give you a tag/receipt for it. Then you can reclaim it when you've done your shopping at store #2.

If I were doing shopping at only one store that wouldn't be possible (I've gotten lazy and put stuff in the cart as I do shopping), but I only actually need to do that for the drinks. A tag/receipt would be useful too.

The easiest thing to do is find out if one or both of the stores price match.  Bring the other store flyer with you when you go to the store you want to and do your regular shopping, then show the flyer at the till to get the other store's price.

You could also stop in a both customer service desks and ask about their price matching process ahead of time, to figure out the best strategy.  Plus, I would be totally transparent about what you're doing--the stores should know that people are comparison-shopping between them! :-)

I need to do this then. I think both stores put their flyers online (unlike my previous store, which technically did, but in some unreadable format).

Quote
Would it make sense for you to go to store #2 and store #3 on alternating weeks?

Unfortunately not for some things, such as meat. (I don't think I could get away with buying two weeks worth of meat at once.) However it would probably work for almost anything else. (I can get fruit cheap near work, so I don't have to worry about getting that on weekends.)

Why not buy two weeks of meat at once?  (This is an honest question, as DBF is a vegetarian so I don't buy meat often.)  My parents buy large amounts at a time when there is a sale, then freeze whatever won't be eaten immediately.  It is the best way for them to get good prices.  Or are you competing with roommates for freezer space?

This.  No problem with freezing meat, as long as you have the space.

I live with my mom (who does the cooking, as long as I do the paying and shopping) and she's a pack rat. Very unmustachian. I am positive the mini-freezer has months old stuff in it. (I tried and failed to get the stuff out, as it's literally frozen into some awkward spot, and am honestly confused why it's not stinking up the place.)

One time the main fridge/freezer stopped working for several weeks, but by the time we got to arranging a replacement it mysteriously started up again. Darn. Well I saved us $300 (we could have gotten a decent fridge for that much) but saw that as an opportunity to get rid of a ton of gunk. But realistically the new fridge would have gotten stuffed quickly, so any money spent on a "new" fridge would have been wasted. *Sigh*

JLee

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Re: My grocery store shut down
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 09:50:56 PM »
I live with my mom (who does the cooking, as long as I do the paying and shopping) and she's a pack rat. Very unmustachian. I am positive the mini-freezer has months old stuff in it. (I tried and failed to get the stuff out, as it's literally frozen into some awkward spot, and am honestly confused why it's not stinking up the place.)

One time the main fridge/freezer stopped working for several weeks, but by the time we got to arranging a replacement it mysteriously started up again. Darn. Well I saved us $300 (we could have gotten a decent fridge for that much) but saw that as an opportunity to get rid of a ton of gunk. But realistically the new fridge would have gotten stuffed quickly, so any money spent on a "new" fridge would have been wasted. *Sigh*

If you're doing the shopping, why not stop buying as much food so then you encourage the use of what you already have?