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February 2012, Grocery Outlet - Is it worth it anymore?

San Pablo

50 cents - small container of whipping cream
50 cents - Wallaby organic dark chocolate yogurt
79 cents - Jif peanut butter to go
99 cents - Mother's circus animal cookies

It just seems like the deals aren't that good anymore. is it just me? Maybe they are overextending themselves. I could do without the matching shopping carts and the commercials if the prices were as good as they were in the past. I'm not going to Grocery Outlet for the ambiance.

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  1. What can I say, my wife likes Green Giant corn. $1.99 at Safeway, $.79 at Berkeley GO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      I'm not saying there are no deals, but they seem fewer and fewer while the prices are closer to regular market prices.

      The same English muffins that are 99 cents at FoodsCo are $1.50 at Grocery Outlet. The Lindt Bars at $1.99 are less at Walmart. The Christmas Hersey kisses were the same price after Christmas as Raleys ... and like a lot of items I could use coupons bringing the prices below GO.

      Could just be me. I've been sick and this was my first visit back since my last post. I only made it around the perimiter of the store and couldn't make it any further. So i wasn't in a bargain hunting frame of mind. However, so little looked like a deal, it just wasn't worth it to go on.

      Also I'm kind of ticked they doubled the price of a boxed wine I liked since my last visit.

    2. They're pretty much following the growth path of Trader Joes. When I first moved to LA my local TJ's was in an old gas station, grungy and full of an ever changing variety of goods that were pretty hit and miss. Odd small quantity lots were their stock in trade, this doesn't work as you expand, you need large quantities to supply lots of stores.

      There are still things that I go to GO for, but it isn't the happy hunting ground it once was. I'm looking for the next entrepreneur at the bottom of the curve now.

      1. The oddball one-off "gourmet" deals are pretty much gone or a minimum. The everyday items seem to still be discounted and can be a decent deal but stuff has gone up. I was in the Berkeley store some time last year and walking down the freezer isle when an older gentleman was doing the same thing...except he added commentary out loud. He said while looking at a pot pie, "that's the same price as safeway!" He was right.

        1. yes, it's worth it. you're missing the forest for the trees by concentrating on sweets and candy bars.

          for dinner, i'm drinking a tasty 2003 Stratford Syrah from napa county for $3. also, heating up 1 lb. of farm raised Chilean mussels for $3. I haven't seen anyone beat their prices on 1 lb. packages of various cheeses. a few weeks ago i got earth balance natural almond butter and flaxseed, 16 oz., for $2. no one carries quality breads like vital vittles and alvarado street at the prices they do. they have a selection of soy, sunflower and rice milks at prices not seen anywhere else. quality sausages at low prices are always available. yogurts are at low cost and sometimes a giveaway if they are at or slightly past the 'best buy' date. often they have a wine guy in the wine aisles that you can chat up and he can be seen talking to people asking for cases.

          almost all my shopping has been at the oakland store and many of the workers have been there for years and years and i have never had a bad experience shopping there.

          i find shopping at grocery outlet to be fun. a few years ago i worked for a few months at a site near the SOMA Whole Foods stopping by almost every day and I have notes on an article I was thinking about to be entitled, "Whole Foods vs. Grocery Outlet; a clash of Cultures" in which I was going to compare the two on price, quality, service, entertainment value, etc., noting of course grocery outlet's limitations. If I had done the piece, you might have been surprised at the result.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zippo

            I agree. There are some things they stock regularly, and those aren't particularly bargains. But there are still good bargains. You just have to go in with the same attitude you've always had to go in with: don't look for specific items, look for the bargains. And of course prices have gone up. Prices have gone up everywhere. Apparently they use a formula to set the price, based on what they paid for it, so if their costs are higher, their prices are going to be higher.

          2. Berkeley

            I mostly went in for dry cat food, but found a few good things. .50 avocados are a good deal. Earthgrains Whole Wheat bread, 1.79 is fine for sandwiches. 3.99 for Newman's Own Ginger-Os doesn't seem like much of a deal, but I got them anyhow. The .99 Queens stuffed green olives are mushy and chemical-tasting. Not recommended.

            1. Agreed. There are still a few deals here and there, but prices do seem higher. The Lindt bars used to be 75 cents, about 5 years ago, remember that?

              That said, I did score a bunch of Scharffenberger bars at GO this year. I think they were 3 for a dollar, or 2 for a dollar. So, I still go in occasionally.

              I also scored some Rice Dream chocolate bars, 4 for a dollar. That was a screaming deal.

              1. We've got Grocery Outlet stores here in So Cal too, and I've noticed the same trend of fewer unique items and more regularly stocked items at not very competitive prices. However, I still swing by once a week and occasionally do find something really wonderful.

                1. Tonight at Oakland:

                  3/$1 Cadbury Flake! (just a few boxes in the specialty food shelves over the frozen pizza)
                  $1.49 16 oz. Oscar Meyer "deli select" shaved smoked turkey
                  $1.49 Horizon organic unsalted butter (half pound)(the also had Land o Lakes, $2.99/lb)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    According to the GO Facebook page, the South SF location will open on March 24th.

                  2. I found the 50 cent avocados and 19.4 oz. jars of artichoke tapenade (made entirely with olive oil) for $3.99. (San Jose/Winchester)

                    1. I had not been to GO in a couple of months, but I have still made some finds in past 2 weeks in Berkeley

                      Thomas Kemper diet "soda" - did not like the Citrus flavor, but the Berry one has a nice nose and is drinkable (although now gone from the store).

                      Westminster? British cheddar cheese aged at least 10 months - not Old Quebec or Neal's Yard, but if I tasted it at the Cheeseboard, I might even buy it. The 1st cheese I have had there that I thought was actually good. There weren't many packages and when I went back I bought the last 3 at about $7/lb.

                      Still a variety of Saags and Hillshire Farm sausages.

                      1. San Pablo

                        99 cents - Fresh cauliflower

                        1.49 - Carnation dry milk - five 1 quart pouches

                        Quick stop for olive oil so didn't shop much.

                        The dry milk is quite the deal. Because I always seem to run out of milk when I want it for coffee, dry milk is my emergency backup. This is 30 cents a quart. That it is in one quart pouches is a bonus for me.

                        Lots of cauliflower too and it was good looking with fresh green leaves still attached,

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rworange

                          So glad their produce is looking up - if only they carried parsley!

                          1. re: sydthekyd

                            The cauliflower was an exception. It is the height of cauliflower and broccoli season, so i'm sure number of farms are looking to dump what they have. They had those cutie tangerines for $1.99 for a 3 lb (I think) bag. However, Berkeley Bowl is charging the same price and I'd rather buy my produce there.

                        2. I stopped in the Petaluma GO this afternoon. The two items that caught my eye were:

                          - Agru Lemon Soda @ $1.99 from Italy

                          - Renwood Sierra Foothills 2008 Barbera @ $3.99. This wine lists for $9.95 on the Renwood website. Renwood had a bankruptcy sale last summer. The new owners are likely liquidating inventory to raise some cash.