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Probable grocery store strike?

What will you do if the stores go on strike? I can shop at Food4Less (altho' not my favorite store), plus go more to Sprout's/Henry's or Jimbos. Anyone have any inside info on what's expected? Shocked that Ralph's says they'll close their stores and Albertson's will close some.

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  1. Looks like! No doubt Ralph's will close -- last time they were caught defrauding the federal government by re-hiring striking workers under false names and using fraudulent Social Security #s.

    Last grocery strike I used Trader Joe's, Gelson's, Costco and Whole Foods who either have separate employee agreements or sign sweetheart deals (which is to say they agree in advance to the contract ultimately agreed to by the striking employees and hard*ss chains). I got by fine and never went back to the chains that treat their employees -- whose service they depend on -- so badly.

    1. Scuttlebutt is that the strike is being instigated by some guy who goes by the moniker "Trader Joe". He was doing very well before the last strike, but during that strike he garnered vaster riches and an even greater cult following.

      1. I'll do exactly what I did last time, and exactly what I do every week...hit up the farmers markets, Iowa Meat Farms, and the indies - Windmill Farms and Keils.

        It's not that hard to replace the chain grocery stores

        Iowa Meat Farms
        6041 Mission Gorge Rd, San Diego, CA 92120

        4 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          It depends on where one lives as to how easy it is to replace the chains. Not all people are so lucky to have both a Windmill Farms and a Keils in their neighborhood. :)

          I'm sort of confused about what this all means, myself. Ralph's and Food4Less are owned by the same entity, but if you go to Food4Less during the strike (as they will not be affected), are you "dissing the union" by association? Same for Bristol Farms and Albertson's. Seems that one can do a lot of shopping at the local Targets these days, too - how does people going to them (instead of the traditional stores), then not switching back, help the unions *or* those stores?


          1. re: RB Hound

            The point isn't so much Windmill Farms or Keil's as it is the fact that independent grocery stores are an option, as are Sprouts, Henry's and Trader Joes.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              I often find myself very underwhelmed with the quality of produce in Henry's/Sprouts/Trader Joe's, and I am pretty pedestrian about it. I'm very odd that way - there are a lot of items that are best at Whole Foods, some items I like best at Bristol Farms, and the rest I get wherever. There are seldom items at Henry's/Sprouts/TJs that I think even are equivalent of what is in Ralph's/Von's.

              I pick up a lot of things at the UTC Farmer's Market on Thursday (am I ever glad that they added that), but you still need to fill the gap.

              1. re: RB Hound

                Wow, then you must have some really bad TJs/Henry's and Sprouts near you. Bummer. There's always a farmers market for produce needs.

        2. The only thing I ever buy at Albertson's, Ralphs or Vons is cereal (and only when it's on sale). Life goes on.

          1. Will hardly miss them, I generally only go to these places if I'm needing something quickly, hopefully on the 1st page of their flyer so I know I'm only getting mildly ripped off.

            1. Us older types remember PATCO, and it's not a supermarche.

              1. I do a lot of shopping at non chain grocery stores but there are a few staples that I still need from there. Maybe everyone here only eats premium meat but I can't bring myself to pay $15-20/lb for steak at Whole Paycheck, Bristol Farms or an indy butcher shop. The closest Keils to where I live is a good 15 minute drive. The meat at places like 99 Ranch and Sprouts is very low quality.

                Where would you go to buy medium range meat at a non-chain store around the La Jolla/UTC area?

                17 Replies
                1. re: mliew

                  Is there a Stater Bros. near you? There are, or at least there used to be, some in North County. They're owned by Albertson's but, I think, will not be affected if there is a strike. I used to buy their meats when I lived in Riverside County and they were pretty good and reasonable.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Thanks for the suggestion, I just checked and the nearest one to me is in Carmel Mountain Ranch which is pretty far from UTC.

                    1. re: mliew

                      I think that the closest option that fits your criteria is Kiel's, mliew (I suspect we live relatively close to each other - let's just say that I'm a 5-minute walk from a Von's). Unless you are carless, in the big scheme of things one trip down there a week isn't so bad - especially if you have little to no daily commute. :)

                      Diana - Stater Brother's is independent, and is not owned by Albertson's. Perhaps you have them confused with Bristol Farms?

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        Hmm...perhaps they spun them off. I'm pretty sure they were at one point owned by Albertsons.

                  2. re: mliew

                    I generally rely on Costco for meats.

                    1. re: cstr

                      One weekend at Costco, I stumbled upon some of the tastiest porterhouse cuts I have ever seen in a store that wasn't a specialty meat shop. I failed to see them in my next 2 visits, so I asked one of the meat department guys and he told me that they almost never carry that cut - only when they get a good deal from their supplier. I cried inside.

                      But yeah, that's enough of an obvious answer that I didn't offer it up to mliew, and I should have. Costco on Morena Blvd, which is probably about a 10 minute drive from UTC when you aren't dealing with traffic (Beach Chick could make the drive in 3 minutes, natch).

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        Does Costco sell meat in small quantities? I'm not a Costco member and being that our household only has two people I've never considered shopping there.

                        1. re: mliew

                          Depends on what you are getting at Costco, but generally for a family of 2.5 we are cooking half and freezing half. For example, if you are getting a pack of filet mignon, they'll have 4 decent sized filets, generally.

                          I do not think this is a reason alone to get a $50 annual membership, but some people might think that. If you have a friend that is a member you could always piggyback off them. I'm pretty sure they let you wander in to check out the goods without a membership.

                          1. re: RB Hound

                            Agree with RB Hound. We are only a family of two, but the value is worth freezing 1/2. I regularly buy lamb and veal chops, pork tenderloin, braising and stew cuts of beef, chicken thighs and boneless breasts and catfish. Steaks for the grill are the only meat I usually splurge on because we have it only once or twice a month. I converted to Executive Costco membership during the last strike. Between wine and liquor, cheese, meat, household paper products, cleaning supplies and office supplies it more than pays for the itself. Sizable rebates well above membership cost every year.

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              Oh my dear, if you are hesitating because of a $50 membership fee you are really missing out!

                              I have the more expensive membership that has a higher annual fee but also a rebate. Between that and the Costco AmEx that I now use almost constantly I get back about $1.8K a year. Believe me, what you save on gasoline alone at Costco you'd recoup your $50 very quickly.

                              1. re: rainey

                                I think you misread my post - I was just pointing that out to mliew. I have the same memberships and cards you do, though I'm not quite in the same stratosphere in annual savings. I simply was letting mliew know that for the cost of beef alone, I'm not sure that membership would pay.

                                In the diverting entirely from food category, I've never figured out Costco doesn't have the window squeegies at their cast pumps. Do they *really* slow people down that much, or add that big of a cost? :)

                            2. re: mliew

                              No. But I regularly buy a four-pack of steaks, use two and freeze the rest. For the money, I'll take the small quality hit of freezing.

                              And now, here's Josh to explain why we shouldn't eat commodity meat:

                              PS: He's right...
                              Oh, yeah- for dinner parties, I step up to their Prime grade, and for BBQ I use their ribs and pork shoulder.

                              1. re: mliew

                                The chicken parts are packed into 6 sealed, freezer safe bags (3-4 thighs per bag) and 6 bags together @99¢ per pound . Steaks are 2, 3 or 4 per pack; less than bulk at Vons.

                                Costco has an excellent return policy http://shop.costco.com/Customer-Servi... at any time- (but they stopped doing that for electronics because people were returning computers and cameras when new technology became available). Your membership will be refunded at any time if you don't feel it is worth it. That's the costco.com link, where you can also make purchases of a lot of 'fancy' foods and so much more and great prices.

                                It's just two of us also. There is so much more to Costco than bulk food.

                                1. re: Cathy

                                  Sorry - I'm sounding like a Costco shill, and that is really not my intent! But by "meat" I was thinking "beef" (sorry, it's my inner Hoosier). Definitely, the amount of money you save alone on Foster Farms chicken is incredible compared to what you'd spend at your regular boiler plate stores, if you are buying Foster Farms. They have pretty good deals on Costal Range (or whatever the name of the organic brand is), too.

                                  When the Copper River Salmon was out and around last month, it was less than 10 bucks a pound at Costco - a lot less than you'd pay elsewhere. As far as I could tell with my limited abilities, it was the same quality that I'd see anywhere else, and unlike with other items, you could find it in relatively small servings (though the 1 pound portions would disappear quickly).

                              2. re: RB Hound

                                You might want to check out the Costco business center store on Convoy (where Home Depot Expo used to be) on Mondays. They often will deeply discount meat items that they were running specials on to move them out. And by deeply discount I mean usually under $1.50/lb and sometimes under a dollar a pound. The only caveat is that it's usually very large quantities, i.e. 10-25# depending upon the cut. They don't do it every Monday, but they do it often enough to making it a routine stop.

                            3. re: mliew

                              Costco has excellent meat at great prices. You may want to break up their enormous packages into smaller more convenient ones but I don't think you'll be disappointed with either the quality or price.

                              Plus, BIG plus for me, they pay their employees decently and provide good benefits. The ambiance may be box store but the employee attitude is NOT at my local stores.

                              1. re: rainey

                                I buy mucho #s of Vidalia onions, chop and freeze till the next season. While yucky watery as they cook, with patience, the water cooks out and they're excellent.

                            4. Apparently the threat of so many out of work grocery workers was enough. The strike may be averted.

                              1. Let's use this as another warning to be prepared, just like the after the power outage.

                                There are Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian markets. You can buy food at Super WalMart, Costco and Smart N Final. There are more than 50 Farmers Markets a week all around this 4200 square mile county. The IGAs are in almost every neighborhood and almost all have some sort of in store eating area.

                                Look around where you live, where you work and along the drive to and from. Don't be afraid to stop. There is a place to buy food in every neighborhood. A LOT of is is very interesting.

                                Use the 'discussion' function on the top right of this page. There are other posts here about markets and 'where to buy...'. Specialty Produce and Catalina Offshore are open to the public and have some of the freshest foods and most interesting foods you will find.

                                Major Market, Food Land, Keil's, Northgate Gonzalez, Pancho Villa, Seafood City, Vine Ripe, Valley Foods, Kaelin's, North Park Produce ...stop in and look. Don't be afraid

                                Specialty Produce
                                1929 Hancock St, San Diego, CA

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Cathy

                                  I went to Grower's Direct on University Ave in La Mesa on Sat and bought an absolutely delicious melon. The sample oranges we tried were great and I have a nice looking eggplant on tap next. We will be back regardless of whether there is a strike.

                                  1. re: JRSD

                                    Is that the place at 70th and Univ? I drove by it last month but couldn't stop as I had dairy products in the car, but I wondered if it would be any good. That would be a straight shot down Lake Murray if it's the same place.

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      Yes, that is the place. Passed it a million times and never stopped, but we were having breakfast on the patio of Shirley's and decided we had to check it out. Very glad we did.

                                      1. re: JRSD

                                        Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely want to check that one out

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          North County Produce is amazing. Have found ingredients that I used to have to order online only. Haven't had much luck with customer service, but selection and prices are terrific.

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            I would assume from their name they are North County?

                                                1. re: pine time

                                                  Do you mean North Park Produce? There is no "North County Produce" as a business name.

                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                    Brain lapse--you're right...No. Park Produce. In fact, going there today. Made a huge pot of biryani, and now need to restock spices.

                                    2. re: Cathy

                                      I have always been a little leery of going to some of the smaller Latino markets for meat. I used to work up in the South Gate/Bell/Cudahy area of LA county, which is one of the most conentrated Latino populations in the US. There was a huge scandal up there maybe 15 years ago about the meat markets putting chemicals on spoiled meat to keep it red looking (saltpeter maybe?). I still wonder if some of them doing that even today.

                                      1. re: littlestevie

                                        Same with the asian markets (even the big ones like Zion and 99 Ranch). The meat and fish counters smell really bad and the cleanliness is suspect to say the least. Especially with smaller mom and pop markets I could definitely see them trying to stretch the life of their inventory to save a buck or two.

                                        The exception seems to be the japanese markets, although for the price they charge there are plenty of other options.