Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Superstores Versus Neighborhood Supermarkets

I've wanted to know how much grocery shoppers save at WalMart compared to their neighborhood supermarket. Or is there a difference?

Apples to Apples
I randomly picked and then made a list of a dozen grocery items to compare. Three were in the produce departments: apples, spring mixed salad greens, and slicing tomatoes. I was surprised to see two United Foods employees checking produce prices. “We do this every week,” one told me.

I'll come out ahead at WalMart I thought, especially when I noticed apples for 99¢ per pound. Wrong. Later at home, comparing pound for pound and package for package, United’s produce cost 3¢ less than Walmart’s.

Who has the crème de la crème?
United also undercut WalMart on Plains Dairy whipping cream by 9¢. But it wasn't easy to compare other whipping cream brands. WalMart handles Gandy’s, while United Foods stocks Red River Farm’s whipping cream at 2¢ more per 8-ounce carton.

Two cents makes little difference between products, but quality does. I recently bought a carton of Red River Farm’s whipping cream, and had to use scissors to open it. How annoying when trying to make supper in a hurry. It’s also potentially dangerous. A person using a knife to pry the spout open could slit a hand open instead. In reporting the defective packaging problem on United’s Website, a glitch prevented my sending the message. More time wasted. I phoned. United’s phone rep apologized, but 
didn't ask for product identification or batch numbers. Strange.

What is Service Worth?
On the other hand, United Food’s store employees make up for the unprofessional telephone worker. They excel in service. And what’s that worth? A panhandler approached me in WallMart’s parking lot today. With a strong employee presence at a United Foods facility, would that man have been so brazen?  

All in All
Differences between the two store’s grocery prices balanced. I purchased a number of generic products and plan taste tests. That may be the subject of another blog.

© 2013, Bernice Simpson


  1. Interesting. I have found that Wal-Mart is cheaper on some things (mostly packaged convenience-type foods) and more expensive on others (milk, meat) and since they never have sales on milk or meat, and the meat is generally an inferior quality (or was the last time I bought it, which was a couple of years ago)I tend to only shop in Wal-Mart for groceries when I'm already there for something else, to avoid making a lot of stops.

    1. That's usually my reason to shop for WalMart's groceries, too. I'm curious to find out more. I did very little comparison shopping when my children were young and I really needed to stretch the grocery money. Like you, mothers with children don't have enough time. I put a mere dozen items on my list. With label comparisons and limited taste test notes I had only a draft written by critique group time on Wednesday evening. I enjoy reading about your bread baking.