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Grocery chain evaluations


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There doesn't seem to be a right master topic for this, but I think it is important to have somewhere.

 

Been all over the country, usually end up in some kind of grocery store for supplies while on the road. I'm not going to try to rank them but I do have comments. In some cases, I have not been to these places in a while because I have not had occasion to be in their territories, so I'm working off last experience. I'm separating them into three classes -- traditional suburban supermarkets for everyday purchases, traditional urban groceries for everyday purchases, and non-traditional markets that you go to once in a while. I'm omitting the membership chains like Costco, the on line order companies like Amazon, and the larger somewhat specialized by product or by ethnic group markets like Uncle Giusseppe's Italian Foods market.

 

Traditional suburban:

 

Wegmans. Amazing. Should have them everywhere, though they are pricey.

Meijer: Huge. Great. If you can't find it there, stop looking. You'll never find it.

HEB: Terrific. Also enormous. Excellent ready to eat food. Good shopping experience.

Publix: Very, very acceptable. Fabulous cannolis. Pretty much everything.

Krogers: Went to one in Cartersville Ga. New. Outstanding. Big selection of groceries and everyday items including clothes, stationery supplies, pharmacy. Really impressed.

Ingle's: Seems to be refreshing the entire chain. The newer ones were awesome. The older ones needed refreshing.

ShopRite: Meh on a good day. Staff not friendly. Recycling machines malfunctioning. Apps come from outside and not available when the store opens.

Stop and Shop: Stores poorly designed. Selection meh. Long wait for appetizers and deli. Underwhelming.

Lidl: I don't know what is going on there, and I don't think management does either. Selection of packaged foodstuffs poor. No appetizing, bakery, deli or fish counter. Random miscellaneous merchandise like kettle bells clogged the aisles when I was there. Poor selection of produce. Lidl bought out other chains; hope those guys got their money.

King Kullen: Meh. Selection limited; store brands not available in all categories. Appetizing Ok, but don't always have fresh.

Walmart Groceries: Not special. Not cheaper. Ordinary selection. Apps packed externally, can't tell how fresh.

Giant: Meh

Piggly Wiggly: Meh

Winn Dixie: Meh

Food Lion: Meh

Food Town: Meh

Safeway: Meh

Albertsons: Meh

Hannaford's: Meh

Fairway: Poor. Disorganized, overpriced, and despite claims otherwise, nothing new or unique except for sandwich shop occupying gobs of prime real estate where there should be merchandise for sale.

 

(Never been to a Ralphs or a Vonns).

 

(Fond fairwell to Goodings in Florida. RIP middling at best chains Pathmark, Grand Union, A&P, and Waldbaums)

 

Traditional urban markets:

 

These are all meh on their best days: Associated, Aldi, C-Town, Gristedes, D'Agostinos, and other independent grocers.

 

Non-traditional suburban markets:

 

Trader Joe's. Ok for a small number of items, otherwise just overhyped. A large number of exotic but ultimately only passable choices for frozen dinners and a number of varieties of bread, beer and soda, but very costly for most miscellaneous items such as produce. I don't recall any hot food like rotisserie chicken.

 

Stew Leonards: Avoid. The layout is a ridiculous maze meaning you can't go in for a few items without undue delay. The prices on what I wanted were out of sight, and though I am told that there are some very good discounts, I didn't see a one. The rotisserie chicken I ended up with after being priced out of what I wanted was overcooked. The various over-the-top plastic displays are terrible https://npaper-wehaa.com/pub-files/134462150850254bc4d2a1d/pub/New-Haven-Living-07-18-2013/lib/137444140851ec4fc003b13.jpg and https://njfamily-images.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/IMG_0045.jpg A hot sandwich I purchased at the one near the Tappan Zee Bridge was just under meh.

 

Whole Foods. Definitely Whole Paycheck, but they have what you want if you are looking to eat healthy. True story: fell into both Whole Foods and Stews on the same day a few years back; noticed that all the Whole Foods customers were lean and mostly in running garb, and the Stew's customers not so much.

 

I leave it to someone else to begin a discussion of the various ethnic and specialty food markets that dot the landscape.

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They all have their pros and cons.  It depends what you're looking for at any given time.  IMHO, if you're not shopping at multiple places, you're not being smart shopper.

 

Some that you've characterized as 'meh' are definite 'go to' places for me.

 

ETA: there are already dedicated topics for ALDI and Trader Joes where I think you'll find many useful opinions.

Edited by IndyRob
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And regional as well. When I have the luxury of multiple markets there is no single place. I love food shopping and I know what is where.  My guys gave me the lamb shank we will hold for you low down - high end - way cheaper than anywhere else.  - We build shopping relationships in many different venues. When your fish guy knows you know where they source (and maybe you went to school with them) - in a major metropolis it makes life seem more like family.  Ratings/schmatings...

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3 hours ago, Rodk said:

 

 

Wegmans. Amazing. Should have them everywhere, though they are pricey.

 

 

If Wegman's is your favorite, I might have a bridge to sell to you.

 

Either that, or a poorly cooked roast chicken, which is probably what every single place selling them has.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I guess I would have to see your check list or more details on how you came to your conclusions.  By your standards, I live in The Land of Meh!  Strange as it may seem, we actually eat pretty well.  Granted, local stores lack many of the exotic ingredients that you may find essential but they are more interested in pleasing local repeat customers than someone who comes in once!  My family has traveled over much of the country and finding local treasures is part of the fun.  Never felt that I was one to judge what a grocery store in Northern Minnesota or Southern Florida should stock.  My "meh" might be the local favorite.   It just so happens I am reading "The Secret Life of

Groceries" by Benjamin Lorr......very interesting.  

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Acme...pure mediocrity in meat and produce

 

Food Lion...good for certain meats. Dirt cheap pork tenderloin and flat iron and brisket. Limited selection otherwise.

 

Giant...less mediocre than Acme. They do carry d'artagnan stuff. And you can buy a goose .

 

Wegmans...not cheap but good selection and meats.

 

Shoprite...not bad

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I have a problem with this whole concept (now there's a concept, me having a problem), as supermarkets, wherever they may be, are certainly geared to the clientele in that locale. A supermarket in my neighborhood may have a big Hispanic/Orthodox clientele; I doubt one some 100 miles away has the same. 

 

And the change in supermarkets over the past 2 decades, with prepared foods (both cooked and not) has certainly changed the industry. I have never in my life bought a sandwich in a supermarket, or a container of chopped carrots; to others, those items are probably important.

 

All that said, supermarkets that have impressed me include the Harris Teeter chain (a Kroger brand since 2014) I became familiar with when we had our pied-à-terre in Washington, DC. Big, clean, well-stocked stores; nice knowledgable employees and great prices once you "joined" their marketing schtick, aka the HT club.

 

In the tri-state area, there's also a privately held supermarket chain I happen to think is one of the most fun supermarkets I've shopped at in this country; it's called Netcost (I mentioned it in this blog post 8 years ago). Initially geared to the large number of people who came to NY from Russia, so it's chock full of products from there, as well as other fun countries. Stuff never seen before, crazy amounts of things like dairy, smoked and cured meats, etc. etc.

They also have an insane candy selection, which doesn't surprise me, as my Minsk-born grandfather sure loved his sweets.

 

Though maybe they need to be more careful with what's inside those sweets...

 

Liquor-filled candy seized in police raid in Somerton; store owner facing charges

 

Others think (or thought, at one time) it was the best supermarket they'd ever been in.

 

Is NetCost The Best Supermarket In The World? Epicurious Thinks So

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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As @JoNorvelleWalker notes, your experience at any given store may depend on whether they are company owned or “franchise” models. There are 5 different Shoprites I visit based on geography and they are all pretty different in areas such as produce or specialty/ethnic foods. Meat and fish is mediocre. The one thing I will give them is good pricing across the board.

Wegmans is far from the ideal supermarket unless you are someone like my divorced Uncle who can’t cook and likes to buy their prepared foods. Produce, meat and fish are certainly better than average, but they don’t carry many brands in dry goods, it is primarily geared towards you buying their house brand. I find it too frustrating to use it as my regular market.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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12 minutes ago, BeeZee said:

As @JoNorvelleWalker notes, your experience at any given store may depend on whether they are company owned or “franchise” models. There are 5 different Shoprites I visit based on geography and they are all pretty different in areas such as produce or specialty/ethnic foods. Meat and fish is mediocre. The one thing I will give them is good pricing across the board.

Wegmans is far from the ideal supermarket unless you are someone like my divorced Uncle who can’t cook and likes to buy their prepared foods. Produce, meat and fish are certainly better than average, but they don’t carry many brands in dry goods, it is primarily geared towards you buying their house brand. I find it too frustrating to use it as my regular market.

 

You've made me think about how I shop.  I pretty much shop around the rim of a store...produce...meat..dairy. and only occasionally venture into the world of cans and bottles and paper towels.

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I shop at multiple stores (well, I did pre-Covid.  Now I use instacart.)  I like Wegman's for dry goods and meat, but do not like their bakery and I feel that their produce does not last long enough.  They have a good wine department.  Whole Foods is good quality everything, but their parking lot is tragic.  Eataly is top notch, but pricey.  There is a local to me chain called Roche Brothers which is excellent all around, but probably the most inconvenient for me to get to.

 

I have shopped in Publix in Florida, and though it is better than the other options, I really don't feel comfortable there.  I have been followed more than once. Workers escort you to your car for your safety.  This is in the Orlando area, other stores are probably different.  

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

You've made me think about how I shop.  I pretty much shop around the rim of a store...produce...meat..dairy. and only occasionally venture into the world of cans and bottles and paper towels.

 

This is interesting, as I shop (or did) in an opposite manner.  That is, I use (or used) the supermarket for cans and bottles and paper towels and kitty litter, and bought dairy, meat, fish, produce at stores specializing in those items.  Which is why, I suppose, it's so hard to generalize about supermarket "quality."

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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12 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

This is interesting, as I shop (or did) in an opposite manner.  That is, I use (or used) the supermarket for cans and bottles and paper towels and kitty litter, and bought dairy, meat, fish, produce at stores specializing in those items.  Which is why, I suppose, it's so hard to generalize about supermarket "quality."

You have a cat?

 

We shop the same way, and I try not to forget what a privilege that is. Safeway is for paper products and Cheetos; things not sold where we buy vegetables or protein or bread. Many people don't have those options. It helps to live somewhere with a large multi-ethnic population. Or in a climate with a long growing season and a lot of farms and farmers' markets. It gets very complicated. 

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In Canada we have two national chains, Loblaws and Sobeys, and a few regional players.

Where I live I have a Sobeys nearby, a (Loblaws) Superstore a bit further away, and a No Frills (Loblaw's discount brand) across town. I tend to shop the specials and time-sensitive markdowns at the main supermarkets, while pantry items and bulk packs come from No Frills or Costco. Our local pharmacy (Loblaws-owned Shoppers Drug Mart) is usually cheapest for milk, eggs and butter, so that's where I buy those.

I have three small independent outlets near me, and my produce largely comes from those. Two offer mainly local produce and are only open seasonally, while the third offers local products where possible and orders in whatever else it needs to fill in the blanks. It adds up to pretty frugal shopping, and wouldn't translate well to a remote-ordering kind of scenario. Thankfully, we've been minimally affected by COVID (so far) and I haven't had to work around it very much.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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17 hours ago, IndyRob said:

They all have their pros and cons.  It depends what you're looking for at any given time.  IMHO, if you're not shopping at multiple places, you're not being smart shopper.

 

Some that you've characterized as 'meh' are definite 'go to' places for me.

Life is too short for me to spend all day shopping, and with the virus floating around, multiple stores means multiple risks, with a number of customers refusing to have masks because they think the pandemic is a fraud.  Ideally I'd like to go back to the day when there were separate mom and pop bakeries, butchers, green grocers, fish mongers and so on, down the street, but the rents are too high, there isn't enough parking, too many hours at work, etc., so I don't mind paying more for convenience but IMHO, the chains mostly have not exploited the situation properly to create "must go" experiences and have forced customers to shop the hard way.

 

At the same time, I also recognize having any supermarket is a luxury in many places. We were in parts of the country where, before the Amazon boom, the town ladies got in a pickup loaded down with coolers and drove as many as 3 or 4 hours to town to shop at Walmart for groceries because their home town only had Dollar General. (I also suppose some part of their diet consisted of hunted game.)

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Getting quite circular and not ranking really. Interesting to hear people's favorites.  As @Rodk the OP himself notes - access is a key determinant. I lived in an area where the local Albertsons (great store) had to close (antitrust issue) - so if you had no car, and had to walk it was not pretty. Groceries on a bus - not fun.  Did not affect me personally but it made life difficult for many. After lying vacant a small chain of a multi-ethnic market opened and thankfully 99 cent store is thriving.  Decent array of canned and fresh produce.Durng this Pandemic I am stuck with Instacart mostly and the Ralphs I use (Kroger) is quite acceptable as a "one-stop". 

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As to grocery chains, I grew up with King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway. Albertsons was a distant third, mostly because the store was in a different part of town that I didn't often get to. Lucky's Markets, which originated in Boulder (CO), had at one time almost 80 stores, but as is so common in business they expanded too aggressively and in the past year or so have had to declare bankruptcy and close most of their stores. I think the only 2 left in Colorado are the north Boulder store and the one in Fort Collins. Too bad, because they had an amazing deli department, and made some of the best pizzas I've ever eaten. Made their own cheese and dangerously good cookies. I confess I didn't get too far into the store in Longmont because I was seduced by the pizza and the wonderful offerings in the deli. I expect the rest of the store was pretty straightforward.

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I’ve just come back from the supermarket. Always an interesting experience.

 

Having climbed over piles of destruction construction debris from the open cast mining roadworks outside Jia Yong No. 1 Supermarket, I then have to negotiate the much more difficult entry to the store.

 

For some unfathomable reason, they have posted guards at the door to catch anyone rash enough to try to enter their store carrying a plastic bag from any other store. These have to be deposited in a left luggage office by the entrance. Any other kind of bag is OK. I regularly carry my large empty shoplifting bag marked ‘SWAG!’ in the appropriate Chinese characters. They ignore this but confiscate my tiny and already overfull plastic bag from the local DVD store.

 

Having overcome this hurdle, I have to make my way to the back of the store where they hide the things I really want to buy. Like supermarkets the world over, they have learned to put the over-priced dross that no one really wants right by the entrance. The only difference I can see is that, whereas UK supermarkets invariably have the veggies at the entrance to give the unsuspecting customer a sense of freshness, Jia Yong stick them at the back. Maybe they are telling me something.

 

I then have to struggle through the crowds to reach my target. It becomes immediately clear that the crowds blocking every aisle are not actually buying anything, but are generally standing around looking completely vacant. On closer inspection, it emerges they are all dressed identically. No! Not in Chairman Mao suits, but in the company livery. These are the staff! They are apparently employed to block up the aisles, slowing the customers down so that they spend more time gazing at the over-priced dross.

 

Resolutely, I battle on and eventually reach the back. Here is the fresh food. Well, fairly fresh. Nowhere near as fresh as in the local market, but conveniently much more expensive. Here I find my fish, meat, fruit and veggies. The fish area is short but to the point. Under great piles of ice (renewed frequently by blue-nosed staff), lie what look suspiciously like overgrown samples from my mother’s tropical fish tank back home. To actually see what they have, you have to dig through the ice with your bare hands, hoping that the polar bears are hibernating.

 

Then, on to the meat counter. This is in two sections. In one, you find film wrapped plastic trays containing the ingredients for some particular dish or other. It is impossible to see what is under the thinly spread layer of the most expensive ingredient lying on the top. More than once, when not paying attention, I’ve arrived home to discover that I’ve just bought 2 oz of beef and several pounds of shredded carrot – all at prime beef price.

 

The other section has the raw materials. You make your selection, bung it in a bowl and hand it to someone to weigh and price. At least you would if the person was there! Due to staff shortages (they’re all busy on aisle blocking duty) there is usually a ratio of one server to 100 customers. However, no-one seems to mind and they all amuse themselves by arguing as to who saw that bit of pork first!

 

Then, on to the fruit and veggie section. Again this is self-service. Grab your goodies and stick them in a plastic bag. What plastic bag? The ones on that roll. That empty roll? Oh.

 

Then get them weighed and priced! Been here before, haven’t we? Typically, the store has devised a policy to prevent wear and tear on the staff.

 

Rule 1. Allocate staff to the weigh stations in inverse proportion to the number of customers waiting.

 

Rule 2. Fruit weighing staff must never weigh vegetables and vice versa.

 

Rule 3. As there is no queueing system anyway, serve people in order of their attractiveness, unless they are family members or friends when you should give them priority.

 

Rule 4. If your boyfriend or a more than usually interesting colleague is anywhere near ignore all customers and chat for a while

 

What I haven’t mentioned is that 99% of the commodities on sale are totally unrecognisable to the average foreigner. Which brings me to the deli counter. I tend to avoid this. I am not in the least sensitive and regularly horrify other foreigners by my willingness (and sometimes enthusiasm) to eat pretty much everything. But having once bought a kilo of ducks’ tongues by mistake, I know my shopping skills are not quite there yet.

 

They do occasionally have some surprising western goods. These we bulk buy as if we are expecting World War 3 tomorrow. However, we have found over the years that this tactic tends to backfire. Every time they introduce a new range and we buy it ‘like hotcakes’, they never stock it again!

 

“We’re not getting that in again. People only go and buy it! Messes up our shelving arrangements!”

 

Either that or they price it at ridiculously high levels to deter prospective buyers. Recently they introduced those cheesy spread triangles and pseudo Kraft Cheese Slices. As far as I can see, they haven’t sold any. The little box of cheese triangles costs more than I could take my entire extended family to dinner for and we can get real Kraft slices for half the price round the corner! Not that  I do. I prefer cheese.

 

Anyway, having stocked up on what I can find that satisfies my simple needs, I head for the checkouts. Cunningly, I have learned not to go to the shortest line, but to actually look to see if the people in front of me look as if they might have friends. It is quite common to queue up behind someone who only has a couple of items, then at the last minute their friend turns up with three full baskets and two trolleys and goes straight to the front of the line to join their companion. This is perfectly acceptable behaviour. I also have to be wary of the occasional person who hasn’t quite worked out the supermarket concept and tries to haggle over the price.

 

I recently got stuck behind an old man who was refusing to pay ¥1.20 for a tube of toothpaste, instead sticking out for ¥1.00 (Note ¥0.20 is about 3 cents US, but perhaps significant to him.)

 

The checkouts are usually manned by two people. One to scan your goods and one to bag them. The bagger never starts bagging until everything is scanned. In times of staff shortages (yes, aisle blocking duty) the scanner also bags. Well, I hear you say, you can bag yourself. Sorry, it is absolutely forbidden to give the customer any bags until everything is scanned and paid for. Then they guestimate and provide the smallest possible bag to carry all your purchases.

 

Finally, they have sorted it all out and you hand over your cash. Then you wait for a while as the checkout person runs around the store asking everyone else if they have any change!

 

Exhausted, you stagger to the exit, where, just for your amusement, they demand to see and stamp your till receipt which of course you have lost!

 

You swear never to return. But you do.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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I live just outside (15 minutes) a relatively small town (30,000) and feel I'm spoiled for grocery shopping options. I won't rate them as they are more similar than dissimilar.

 

Zehrs

Food Basics

Walmart

Metro

No Frills

Costco

Giant Tiger

 

 Obviously Costco being a member only store might not qualify and Giant Tiger is like a mini Walmart as it sells clothes etc as well as food and is not as well stocked as the others in that area.

The only drawback of this cornucopia of options is that few exotic products are on offer. There's only one store that has anchovies other than in a can or as a paste!

 

p

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I also multiple shop, before more than now. I used to live on the same block of Whole Foods when it first opened in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, totally different place that my current WH,  offering all Brooklyn products. Now that I am in Miami and Covidtimes, the last 3 times I was sooooo disappointed with the WH. It’s ok only if I am looking for certain brands of packaged stuff I don’t find in other stores. Publix, I went 2 times and left, don’t like the place at all, I found it very mediocre and with high prices given the quality. We have a local chain that is called Milam’s market and honestly, likely the vegetables are not to the level of the good times of Whole Foods but I have found vegetables to be kind of poor in Florida compared to NY, but I like the place. My neighborhood is pretty international and I think they do a decent job carrying stuff to fill the needs of the different international groups. I miss my Brooklyn Korean veg guy for cheap shopping or my farmers market for fancy stuff. Another local supermarket here is Fresh Market and the fresh stuff I find it mediocre too but they have good quality of the package stuff, or better, I can fill some holes. Di Martino pasta for ex., some more interesting condiments, the crackers flavor  I cannot find elsewhere. And good or bad I LOVE Trader Joe’s for some stuff. I have friends asking me, what do you buy there? There are some items that are dirty cheap in Trader Joe’s and are hard to find elsewhere. Love their sardines under oil, love  their hazelnut, they sell gruyere and comte and parmigiano stravecchio to very decent prices, love the pork pot stickers and xialongbao and few other items I always buy. So I truly believe as other have mentioned it all very depends from many factors. 

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On 9/26/2020 at 8:34 AM, BeeZee said:

Wegmans is far from the ideal supermarket unless you are someone like my divorced Uncle who can’t cook and likes to buy their prepared foods. Produce, meat and fish are certainly better than average, but they don’t carry many brands in dry goods, it is primarily geared towards you buying their house brand. I find it too frustrating to use it as my regular market.

 

I have the opposite experience with Wegmans, honestly — I think it really depends on what you shop for. I find that since they don't waste space having twelve brands of everything, they have room to carry a lot overall variety. Pre-COVID, they were our primary store in large part because I could get the largest share of the items on my list in one place. But I am not typically someone with incredibly strong brand preferences for a lot of things, and the majority of my grocery shopping is for things I'd probably consider raw ingredients.

Case in point: while I prefer to head to a specialty store for various international foods, there's a much better chance that I'll find the one thing I'm out of at Wegmans than any other mainstream grocery in our area. E.g., they have multiple varieties of gochujang, vs one or none at other stores, and have Red Boat fish sauce and three varieties of Maesri curry paste where everyone else only carries Thai Kitchen for both. Likewise, I don't think anyone else in our area reliably has Chinese soy sauce — anything decent is Japanese or Japanese-style. Wegmans always has Pearl River Bridge. The Indian selection isn't as good but what they do have is stuff I'd actually buy.

Their produce really depends on the store, though. Of the three we go to, only one is really reliably well-stocked, and they waste a lot of space on prepped stuff I don't buy. Probably the biggest source of frustration for me. But we have a CSA in the summer and the best produce market in Boston is near my office. (I think it was called an office? Place with the little cubicles.)

 

Prior to Wegmans opening, I would typically go to Whole Foods for stuff I cared about, and a mainstream store like Star / Shaw's / Stop & Shop for more middle-of-the-road things that Whole Foods didn't carry. Wegmans replaces both of those, which saves me a trip. That frees up time I can spend going more interesting places.

 

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Add to the "meh" list, in the Boston area: Star Market / Shaws (same chain), and Stop and Shop (same as one of the Giant chains). We also have Hannaford and Roche Bros in the suburbs but I have almost never been in one.

Market Basket — a local chain — is both excellent and frustrating. They have an enormous selection, great prices, and fantastic produce. I find the experience of shopping in the one near my house almost completely unbearable, though — they really pack things into the store, which has narrow aisles and is always crowded. My partner actually gets overwhelmed and claustrophobic after about a half hour (and that was before COVID). If I could shop in one of their larger stores in the suburbs more conveniently, I would go much more often. The selection is also a little bizarre sometimes — like I think once their Thai section had prik khing paste but no fish sauce or something like that.


@Rodk — if you're categorizing Aldi and Lidl under "traditional," you're misunderstanding them — they are a completely different concept. Same limited-SKU concept as Trader Joes, but aimed at a more mainstream demographic. They don't intend to be full line retailers, but to have basics cheap. Aldi isn't my favorite store, but I go occasionally to get specific things they do well (German products, thanks to their ownership, and often weirdly good cheese), and if I were on a tight budget I would be there a lot more often.

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