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Aug 9, 2012 02:14 AM

How many places do you buy groceries at?

I currently shop at 2 different open air markets, 1 bakery and 2 small grocery stores near where I live weekly. Part of it I do for price/quality reasons, and part for preference (this bakery makes the best bread, etc.). I also live overseas where buying in bulk isn't something that provides the same kinds of discounts that it does in the US.

While I think this is a lot, even for where I'm based, I'm curious what other people's habits are for buying food.

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  1. My shopping is psychotic at decreasing order:

    Two major hypermarkets, with occasional purchases at a third (this is mostly geographically driven - if I'm going this direction, I shop at A, if I'm going that direction, I go to B, if I'm over there, it's C....sometimes it's driven by who's got what on sale this week.)

    The overwhelming majority of my fruits and vegetables come from my local open air market.

    Other items may come (price and/or availability) in any assortment at Lidl, a small ethnic grocery near me (which has great produce for fill-ins), or a smaller grocery chain. (these are usually driven by time/energy constraints)

    There are 7 bakeries within walking distance, but we buy most of our bread from one of two favorites, depending on which one is open.

    I, too, live abroad, and "one-stop shopping" means you sacrifice a lot of quality. When I was in the US, it was usually one major grocery chain, plus Costco, as the quality tends to be pretty much the same regardless of where you go (and there are no high-quality options for produce!)

    3 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      When I lived in Ireland, I was the worst - I would shop in a loop that included 5/6 different groceries/stores as well as an open air market. The behavior followed me back to the US out of habit more so than whether or not it really achieved much. At least now that I'm back abroad, the habits seem a bit more normal - though I don't know too many people who go to both of the open air markets I do. Luckily I work near one and live near the other, so it's a bit more natural.

      1. re: cresyd

        That's a big part of it -- I tend to shop where I am at the moment as much as anything. Between the majors, the price differences are small enough to be inconsequential most of the time, so the high price of fuel usually overrides any non-promotional savings.

        1. re: sunshine842

          For me there also remains a fairly significant price difference based on some unique elements of being in Jerusalem. The Palestinian market in East Jerusalem has dramatically cheaper prices for produce - but I really only buy the sturdier produce and very in season items. The cheaper food are the very local/traditional items, and items such as packaged pasta are far more expensive. In the West Jerusalem open market, I get more delicate produce (herbs, greens) as well as things that aren't as much in season, along with packaged items. Finding the right quality/price system has taken a while - but at the moment I seem to have a system.

    2. Here on the NJ Coast, there are four large supermarket chains within a couple of miles. In the course of a month, I probably go to at least two of them. The smallest is within walking distance and the one most commonly visited.

      At one time or another, I have bought meats, fruits, vegetables, dry goods, etc., from such large markets, but I prefer not to. Instead I take advantage of two butcher shops, three fishmongers, a pair of Italian specialty shops, a health food store, a Mexican grocer, and several local farmers' markets. I go to the various places largely because of what each one carries even though it would be simpler to purchase everything from one place. Quality is the ultimate issue. Supporting small local businesses is similarly important.

      1. All my meat comes from one CSA and most of my veggies come from another. Pick up for both is the same location. Meat monthly and veg weekly during the season. I shop at one major grocery store but will occassiobally hit others for sales,coupons, or convenience. I will go to other smaller ethnic markets or a specialty grocery for obscure/gourmet ingredients.

        1. Most of our shopping expenditure is at one of two local supermarkets.

          Other than that, we buy meat direct from the farm via the internet, use specialist local shops (like the fishmonger and cheesemonger), buy at the farmers market, occasionally use discount supermarkets (like Lidl) and buy "ethnic" products from "ethnic" shops.

          1. 2 supermarkets (1 company, 2 locations), Bi-weekly organic produce delivery, and occasionally Trader Joe's.