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Mar 23, 2010 08:02 AM

Grocery prices in cowtown

Interesting comparison of the big stores..

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  1. I know Superstore is cheaper and always has been but I hate that place. In general their produce is past it's prime, which is something I buy the most of, and the layout of the store always confuses me. I end up circling around and around again. And the thing I hate the MOST - packing my own groceries! EVERY single time I went there, I found a mistake on my bill when I got home. But I was so busy packing my groceries that I never noticed at the time!
    Now I buy my produce at the Crossroads Market and play Safeway & Coop flyer specials against each other each week (downtown they are so close together it's no effort at all to go to both). I think I'm saving in the long run.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TSAW

      Any place can have old produce, and I have not found Superstore to be any worse than the others on average.
      Also, Superstore strictly adheres to the Pricing Code of Practice, so if you are overcharged for that item, go to the service desk and you will get it for free. Mrs Scary likens it to a game, and is thrilled when she discovers a mistake which has happened about three times in the past year. Watch the items as they're scanned, then pack. Oh, btw, Superstore ONLY has self pack, which I prefer because some ham-handed cashier isn't throwing the anvils on top of the crystal.

      1. re: Scary Bill

        I have never seen a wet gooey brown head of brocoli at the Midtown Coop. Superstore actually continues to keep food that is ROTTEN on the counter. But yes, some produce can be old anywhere.

        Well let me tell you a little story....... I purchased one pair of nylons. I noticed while still at the cashier that I had been charged for two, I asked that the charge be reversed. The cashier said she could not do that and that I had to go to Customer Service. So I did, waited in line for some time. Customer Service would not refund my money, even though it was a cashier error. I was only allowed a store credit! All of this was BS! They treated me as though I was trying to return something without a receipt. So I'm never going to shop there again, so I guess I can't test the PCofP theory.

        As for packing... yes, I get upset when someone puts deli meat with my raw hamburger. And I have seen that at all of the stores! so you have a good point there.

        1. re: TSAW

          Coop seems to have decent produce but in my experience I've found past-its-prime produce at all the major grocery chains. My solution - ask a clerk about their delivery schedule and plan my shopping for that day or the day after.

          As for crowds - hitting the stores at either the beginning of the day (some are open as early as 7am so I can get it done before work) or after dinner/close to closing (but not so close that they've put away the broccoli) - usually means there are more employees than customers in the store.

          Just last weekend DH bought Naan, it scanned at the wrong price and DH went to the CS desk, explained the error and at first they were going to give him the difference back, but when he reminded the clerk of the Scanning/Pricing code of practice they gave him the Naan for no charge. The process took 15+ min though so to me it seems like it's designed to be an inconvenience... and had it been an error on a cheaper item I might have suggested he forget about it. Overall though I think service at the Superstores really varies....I always had decent service at the Coventry Hills store, but godawful service at the one off 36th st NE.

          In terms of the nylons - I'm surprised the cashier couldn't do the void for the duplicate for you - I've had self checkout beep twice for one item more times than I can count and the cashier has always been able to void the duplicate.

    2. My take on it is this - Superstore blows if you're single. If you've got someone else with you to pack up the groceries you're golden. Also their produce can be less than great and you really, really don't want their fresh fish unless they've just taken it out of the tank for you. That goes triple for the mussels. However if you want frozen food they are the place to be. Their store brand is nice.

      Co-op is my favorite but they are definitely not as cheap. I love their desserts and the fact that they sometimes have lovely local items, like the time my mom picked up a Hutterite chicken, I think it was. Best chicken I've ever tasted.

      6 Replies
      1. re: AriaDream

        what did you find wrong with the mussels?iv had good luck with them,but i could have flooked out

        1. re: AriaDream

          I've only ever been to the Southport one and I've never had an issue with the seafood. But I never pick up mussels unless they're tightly closed, if they're gaping I pass (sometimes they are).

          1. re: AriaDream

            I always put my food on the belt in the order I want them to go into my bags, and pack as they scan. It's NEVER been a problem for me.

            That being said, I generally buy all of my produce at Safeway. I actually think I've seen nicer produce at Sobeys (in Royal Oak, in particular) but Safeway is close to me and I've never seen anything that was gross. I find Co-op depressing, but when I lived downtown I'd go there anyways because the Midtown Market always had lots of cute boys!

            1. re: Jetgirly

              I have always found Superstore's produce to by far and away the freshest and most varied of any the chains present in Calgary. I also find the comments on their fish strange---seems to me, again, fresher and more varied than any of the other supermarkets. I go the one in the SW, perhaps it varies by store. They're also relatively cheap, have a good selection of Asian products, and have the best baguettes anywhere in Calgary (which is an indictment of Calgary bakeries. I'm looking at you, Manuel Latruwe.)

              On the other hand, they're located on the outskirts of town, they're huge and crowded and generally a pain to visit, and they inflict all sorts of minor irritations, notably making you pack your own groceries. Unless you go at an obscure hour, expect to fight your way through the parking lot, wonder around looking for a cart (and remember to have a loony in hand for your cart), get your daily exercise hiking around the nine bajillion square foot store, and stand in line for twenty minutes to get the reward of packing your own groceries.

              1. re: ChrisA

                I agree with ChrisA. The Signal Hill Superstore we have gone to has usually had much better produce than the Midtown or the Safeway. I think they turn over a ton of food so its usally quite fresh.
                And usually their prices are far better.

          2. Interesting that the study chose 1 kg to be the portion size for the meat. Superstore often does have much lower prices but you have to buy meat in huge packages. This might be OK for families but for one or two people, not as practical. The specific example I can think of would be ground beef....the "standard" portion is 500 g or 1 lb. I suspect that the study had to buy 2 packages at some of the other stores to get up to 1 kg but at Superstore they bought an enormous club pack at a lower price.

            2 Replies
            1. re: egon61

              Back when I was single I used to buy the family packs and make stuff like spaghetti sauce or chili and freeze it.

              1. re: egon61

                Not true. Superstore sells in smaller quantities, just as all of the other stores in the study sell in larger quantities as well.

              2. I've got two kids now and so I now buy meat and sundry items at Costco at the beginning of the month.

                Tuesday night is pretty quiet at RCSS, if you're looking for a time to go when it's not a madhouse in there.

                1. Superstore has great prices, but at both north and south locations I have seen and by accident (in a rush) gotten fish past it's prime. I try to only buy dry staples at Superstore, and opt to go to Community Foods for produce/fresh stuff, or the farmers markets. In winter Superstore has inconsistent produce, Fri it looks good, Sun. it is picked over and wilted, and mid week is hit-n-miss. Superstore is the best for staple stuff-rice, pasta, basic ethnic stuff, etc.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mokee

                    Funny I like Superstore for most fish - their salmon is a fave around here.... but I avoid Sobey's fish counter because of a bad experience. I do agree that Superstore is excellent for staple dry goods. I think regardless of the store it's a case of getting to know the staff - find out when the fish/meat/produce deliveries are and shop accordingly - for instance the Superstore up here often gets Saturday produce deliveries so those weekends are the best time to get veggies.

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      at my sobeys i dont buy ANY fish from the glass case ,the fishmonger takes me into the cooler for the good stuff ,and to pick out my own cuts.Works good every time.

                      1. re: howlin

                        Wowsa, and I was happy when the produce guy at No Frills went and got a case of jalapenos for me to pick from. It pays to ask doesn't it :)

                        1. re: maplesugar

                          its the only way.if your close to the place and frequent it alot the service and quality just keeps rising.