Sunday, July 15, 2007

COMPARISON SHOPPING

I grew up in the grocery business. My parents owned a supermarket. I've owned a produce market. With 20 years experience in retail food I know the ins and outs of this business.

I don't usually compare prices from one store to another. Experience tells me that an item that's a bargain in one store is not a bargain in another - and vice versa. It used to be that in the long run whether you shopped at my dad's store, Albertson's or Safeway, your monthly grocery bill would average out to be about the same.

Then came the day when I had the time to do most of the household grocery shopping. It didn't take long to discover that things have changed in the grocery industry. What opened my eyes was a quick trip to Raley's to pick up a couple of Kids Cuisine frozen dinners for Grace. Not wanting to drive across town to where we normally shop (Winco), Raley's is a convenient place to shop. The frozen dinners are treat for Grace and easy for me to provide a quick, easy snack in the late afternoon.

At Winco, a California/Oregon/Nevada discount grocery chain, Kids Cuisine dinners are $1.66. They just went up from $1.58. They had been a buck fifty-eight forever. My trip to Raley's, thinking there would be 20 to 30 cents higher than Winco was an eye opener. Raley's price was $2.68 a dinner or a $1.02 more. Ouch! Together the four dinners were $4.08 more than what I would have paid at Winco. When I walked out of Raley's I was feeling more than a bit ripped off.

Okay, I thought. Probably a mistake in pricing. But to make sure on my next trip to Winco I made note of some of the items I usually buy with the idea of comparing them to Raley's. Here's what I found:

Kraft Mac and Cheese: Winco: .66 - - Raley's 1.35
Florida Grapefruit Juice 1/2 gallon: Winco 2.50 - - Raley's 4.79
S&W Black Bean 15 oz can: Winco .58 - - Raley's .80
Tyson Game Hen 22 oz: Winco 2.32 - - Raley's 3.99
Kids Cuisine Dinner: Winco 1.66 - - Raley's 2.68
Top Ramen: Winco .10 - - Raley's .20
Contadina Pizza Sauce: Winco 1.39 - - Raley's 2.25
Herdez Canned Salsa 7 oz: Winco .64 - - Raley's 1.09

Total Winco: $9.85

To buy the same eight items at Raley's: $17.15.

Things are not what they used to be. It does pay to comparison shop. Need I say more?

And now you know where to find me grocery shopping.



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4 comments:

twilite said...

Hi bob! I patronise whichever supermarket offer the lowest. Here a small island state, one finds two supermarkets located within walking distance. But I cannot compare prices for perishable foods though.

Yes I'd have the same feeling of being ripped off...nice of you to quote the actual price difference. Have a good day.

Lil-Lolita said...

There really is an amazing price difference in the stores. And no more double coupons!!!

Thanks for your kind comment on my blog!

Love
Lolly

Sexy Duet said...

I have to admit to being a lazy shopper and just stop in wherever is convenient. Maybe I should pay more attention to prices, I might be able to afford another handbag with the savings :)

Ms SD

Bob said...

Twilight: Looks like I should open a What About Bob Market where you live. We'd rock!

Lolita: You're welcome!

Ms. S.D.: You'd be surprise at how much you'll save if you shop around. Again, it's all about having time to do that. In this busy world, who has that luxury?

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