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Which is your favorite supermarket chain, and why?

There's been several threads derailed lately by some (myself included) talking about which chain does a good job and which do not. My feelings are clear that I'm a Market Basket supporter. Maybe it's because here on the Cape, Stop and Shop has had such a monopoly with only the horrendous Shaw's chain as competition. Before MB came to town, we had to put up with S&S ridiculous pricing, low quality, surly service (when you got any service at all) all with a "We could not care less" attitude. Although I must endure the crowds at MB, I enjoy over 40% savings, a wider selection, fresher quality, and service with a smile. An added bonus, there's no "scan your own order and bag it yourself" lines at MB. It does often boil down to price, where S&S is sometimes borderline criminal. Just one example is Boursin Cheese, $6.79 at S&S and $3.99 everyday at MB. How can they justify that kind of discrepancy? And it's throughout the store.

I'll always pay a premium and still patronize my local TJs for some specialty items, Roche Bros. for some of their prepared items, and my local independent grocery for their excellent butcher counter and my local fish monger for their great selection and quality. But the bulk of my shopping is MB. Even cheaper than BJs without the member fees and huge sizes.

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  1. Roche bros.

    Though my go to is the N. Quincy Stop and Shop. Which used to be awesome and now is only fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      N Quincy S&S is my go to, if only because it's about 5 minutes from where I live. I find this S&S decent, with moderate prices, but no real bargains (unless one of their occasional deep discounts) -- I for one love their scan/bag your own. I typically have zero wait, and I don't mind organizing my goods into my own shopping bag the way I like it.

      If I had a choice, I would love an MB or a Wegmans more accessible to me. As it is, I generally like the product selection at Hannaford's (which is still close enough for me to make regular visits) and Roche Bros (the occasional trip if I hit Walmart) better.

    2. Market Basket is really the best..however I will say not all Market Baskets are created equal. There are a couple I would not shop at due to cleanliness and freshness issues but overall I don't think any other supermarket can compare to their prices.
      They are also very good to their employees and don't need a union to do this. I've never been treated rudely and the grocery manager at the location I shop at will stock specialty items if you request them. He's done it for me on several different occasions...virtually eliminating my trips to Whole Foods.
      One caveat..I don't purchase meat or seafood at any grocery store..so can't speak to that.

      1 Reply
      1. come on MB and then Whole Foods.

        small groceries have advantages

        1. I do the majority of my shopping at Market Basket. The prices can't be beat and I like the quality. Seafood I buy from Whole Foods.

          8 Replies
          1. re: viperlush

            there are better options in cambridge for seafood; new deal and then courthouse top the list.

            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

              Of course, I shop at both when I plan to cook seafood. But neither are within easy walking distance and most of the time seafood is a last minute quick meal for us.

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                I would shop at both of those stores so much more if they were open a half hour later. By the time I'm on my way home from work, they're always either closed or pretty well packed up.

              2. re: viperlush

                I find the quality of MB's seafood in its newer stores to be generally of noticeably higher quality than WF's; probably because they sell what moves at a price point that moves it in high volume and fast, and that's the way to keep the seafood fresh. (Then again, I am not buying much high-end seafood species, but for about 8 months last year, I was buying fish every other day and got to know well the strengths and weakness of the fish counters at all of the contenders....)

                1. re: Karl S

                  I absolutely agree 100%. I hate to say it, but the fish counter at my local MB in Sagamore moves so much product and is so fresh, it rivals many of the best fish mongers around, and that's saying some. Yesterday I asked for, and received the Captain's Cut on a piece of Atlantic cod. Fresh as can be and wild caught, over 2" thick and only $7.99 pound. Same pice is $12.99 and up anywhere else, including S&S and Shaws. Those stores move so little product these days I refuse to buy fish there anymore having been burned more than once on product that never should have been still on the counter. And What surprises me most about MB is they aren't shy of sometimes offering higher end seafood at their usual great pricing. I bought knuckle and claw meat yesterday at $23.99 lb. Last week they had Chilean Sea Bass for $24 lb, something one usually only finds at fine dining restaurants and never at a local fish counter. Their dry sea scallops are a steal at $13.99 on sale. And I often treat myself to fresh local halibut for $14.99 pound when my local monger is getting almost $30 lb. this summer.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    My local MB (Somerville) doesn't have a real seafood counter. Only prepackaged. So I only buy lobsters from them. I wish the Chelsea MB was more convienent because they are one of the newer MB's with an extensive seafood counter. I've never had issues with the River St WFs seafood department.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      The fish at the River Street WF is underwhelming compared to what can be had in better quality and for a better price at newer MBs.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        viper, I've bought both haddock and swordfish a couple of times from the Somerville MB. It's always been on sale so there is a good turnover but it's been fresh. I pick through the packages carefully to get the best sell-by date. So if you're really pressed for time and in the mood for fish, you might take a chance.

                  2. My wife and I are both Whole Foods people, though now that we live further out toward 495, we do a lot of our shopping at Donelan's and Trader Joe's. I work in the city and will get odd groceries at WFM during the day; she works along 95/128 and will either go to WFM Alewife or TJs/Donelans in the evening, depending on time/need.

                    We prefer having the option of purchasing the organic version of many products, which is an option that no chain besides Whole Foods really gives you. That's something we place a lot of value in. The tradeoff is obviously that you will wind up spending more money pound-for-pound at Whole Foods, but it's worth it to us.

                    We actually find Market Basket to be rather dreadful. Go to the bakery section, pick up an item, and look at the list of ingredients. It's a bit frightening.

                    I have no doubt that there are things the chain does very well, but they are just not things I tend to value. Stop & Shop and Donelan's remind me a lot of one another. They're very uninspiring. Maybe people like that in a grocer, but I don't know. We choose WFM and only shop elsewhere when forced, though my wife does pick up a lot of little snacky things at TJ's that she tends to enjoy.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: FinnFPM

                      The horrible bakery section at Market Basket is on of the reasons I love shopping there. Although I prefer homemade baked goods, the bakery sections at WFs, TJs and Wegmans are tempting. Too easy to blow my budget on sweets at those stores. Don't get the same temptation at MB.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        Haha. This made me laugh. That's a pretty good perspective. I in fact do tend to avoid the sweets at WFM but I can't say the same for my wife, and I grumble (but of course eat it) when she brings it home. But she wouldn't dream of buying something at the MB bakery.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          the b/f buys jessica's brick oven bread at mb. no weird ingredients, just flour, water, salt yeast.

                          we don't buy pre-made cakes/cookies etc.

                          we shop most frequently at ghetto basket. i've got dueling m/b and s&s across the highway from each other now and that s&s is highway robbery on produce and meats, even WITH my "savers'" card.

                          we're shopping farmer's markets now for produce, but in winter, i get that stuff mostly at asian markets, or haymarket when i am in that hood. dairy and eggs we get at shaw farms in dracut.

                          have given up on tj's for anything other than nuts and baking chocolate. the cheeses all suck and mostly everything else is processed or pre-made stuff i don't want.

                        2. re: FinnFPM

                          We are pretty much aligned with FinnFPM with our organic food choices. We shop the Fresh Pond/river st WF , ,as well as same location TJs. We live near Russos, but rarely frequent, I haven't found enough organic produce to make the trip worth it , for us. We frequent a lot of non chain places to round out our needs. Formaggio, Arax, Sevan , fastaschi...

                        3. For me it depends on what I'm shopping for. If it's bakery products such as muffins or rolls I go to Stop and Shop. For steaks it's the prime counter at Hannafords. Roche Bros is for on-line shopping and Market Basket when I'm in New Hampshire. No matter what if it's seafood I go to Burkes. Often times I go to more than one store.

                          1. I live in the heart of MB-land. There are 3 of them in my town and a total of 10 within a 20-minute drive. That said, I prefer Hannaford. I find that overall, the prices are a wash.
                            MB charges 10 cents less for some things than Hfd, but HFd is 10 cents less than MB on other items. However, Hfd has
                            better quality in its produce and in-house bakery items than MB. MB packs a lot of their produce on styrofoam trays, which I do not like. Hfd does not. Overall, their packaged house-label items are, IMO, also better than MB's. For example, I can rarely finish a pint of MB's light cream or half&half before it sours (and I used to shop regularly in 4 different MBs so it wasn't a single store's
                            coolers). I do not have that problem with the Hfd dairy (the only one I've shopped at is Chelmsford).

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: greygarious

                              Funny, I've had the same experience with MB brand of fat free half and half. It does spoil quickly, which never happens with Hood or Garelick farms. (Either are 80 cents to a dollar cheaper in MB than SS, however) I only have 1 MB near me and it's a brand new store now in it's second summer. I've heard the knocks on the older stores, especially regarding overall cleanliness and often of the wrapped produce, which I wouldn't like at all. Thankfully, the Sagamore MB doesn't do that and is impeccably clean. This time of year I buy the majority of my produce at local farm stands, and farmer's markets anyway. Like others here, I specialty shop for many categories, especially meat, fish and produce. On national brand products, at least compared to Stop and Shop on the Cape, MB is at least 40% less with more selection mainly because MB doesn't have the 6-7 aisles in the center of the store with overpriced general merchandise like S&S.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                We used to live in Chelmsford and managed the retirement community on Summer St so the S&S was within walking distance, and we would only go there in an emergency. Unless it was updated since we left four years ago, it was dirty and expensive. We used to go to MB which I loved, both in Chelmsford or over the border in Nashua. Miss MB a lot.

                                1. re: mrsbuffer

                                  That S&S has closed, which is bad news for the retirees on Summer Street. There's a bright & shiny Super S&S on 110, across from MB at the Rt.3 interchange. Even for retirees who drive, that can be a problem. The jumbo supermarkets have replaced many smaller stores that were easier for folks with limited physical stamina to navigate. There are a few motorized ride-on carts, but some people have trouble driving them.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    You make a good point about older folks navigating the larger store models these day. Heck, even I won't shop in a Super Walmart. Frigging stores give me a headache. There's a small, full service supermarket that in my opinion is the perfect size and footprint for today's older population. It's called simply, The Market at Pinehllls off exit 3 on Route 3 in Plymouth. It has everything you'd want or need for a complete shopping, just less selection of basics in the middle aisles. It does have great produce, excellent prepared foods, a high end cheese and antipasto bar offering. The butcher counter and fish counters are top drawer and the in-house bakery is remarkably good. It's befitting the high end community it services yet is rather competitive price wise. I'm always surprised that more of the big chains don't copy the model to be honest. The store is very easily navigated as it is less than half the size of today's supermarkets.

                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                      There was an articles in the Globe Sunday Magazine back in 2008 about the Market at Pinehills: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/mag...
                                      It does seem to have been deliberately designed to have all the items needed but not a wide range of versions of each item.

                                      The Market was designed and developed by Michael Szathmary, the owner of the two Zathmary's deli/grocers (in Coolidge Corner and Needham) which closed abruptly in 2006 leaving many vendors in the lurch - discussed in several threads on this board:

                              2. Roche Bro Burlington is our go to. Their gluten free section is excellent and with breads and pastas that we use on a weekly basis. Their store managers have been helpful at getting specific products as requested if the brand is already in their store. Their produce is good although not inexpensive. Their meat is fresh. When we grill when the weather is nice, we prefer their ground beef. They do claim to grind their beef daily. Not sure what makes it tastier to us, but my picky little ones can clearly tell the difference. For our other special diet items, we do still resort to Whole Foods, mostly between Alewife and Woburn.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: makonna

                                  I shopped at RB Burl fairly regularly before retirement necessitatied paying more attention to prices. It was more or less on my route home and I do like their overall quality better than MB or Hannaford. RB's bakery and prepared food sections are larger and better, too. Nowadays I go there only when I need Schaller & Weber liverwurst (they call it pate these days). I do occasional online home delivery orders when they have a particularly good sale or in winter when I'd rather not fight bad weather. That service is excellent. They even do a good job following your specific preferences in produce selection. RB specifies no tipping but I always have (more generously in bad weather), since when I order online it's a large order, and no one has ever declined the tip.

                                  I did not include Trader Joe's in my list because although I am a loyal customer, I put them in their own category, apart from supermarkets.

                                2. My favorite supermarket chain: most certainly Wegman's. Having spent some time living in upstate New York, that's hardly a question. I'm looking forward to the store openings in Chestnut Hill and Fenway.

                                  Like the OP, I also occasionally patronize Trader Joe's - I enjoy their wine, and some of the frozen food.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: addiez

                                    Looking forward to the Burlington Wegmans as well. Took a stroll around the Northborough Wegmans once and was impressed. There's something for everyone regardless if you're shopping price or quality including many selections that are appealing to me that aren't otherwise available. A lot of high volume basics items are available at extremely competitive pricing as well. Sushi is a bit expensive at Wegmans for the quantity, even moreso than WF but I heard it is excellent.

                                    1. re: kreptol

                                      Addiez - couldn't agree with you more. We are also from Rochester NY - the Wegmans mother lode location. We moved to "south of Boston" over 5 years ago and the supermarket story has been a struggle. Our closest is S&S but we have so many horror stories we keep praying they will be replaced by a Wegmans someday. I just got home from the nearest S&S - 8AM on a Tuesday morning and the produce department looked like a bomb went off. What was left on the counters was old and wilted. Absolutely no grapes or bananas and the apples all had rotton spots. Not an employee in site. How these people stay in business always amazes us as well as how our neighbors seem to accept the status quo. I was driving 20 minutes to the nearest Market Basket where I was saving up to $500 a month on family groceries. I just got lazy and tired of the trip. We now like Trader Joes and I do go to a fairly close Hannafords which we like.

                                      1. re: davefoxdad

                                        It was such a shock coming from upstate NY to the Boston area which we were sure would have so much more to offer in the supermarkets. Anyway, just heard that the Polaroid site in Waltham has been delayed indefinitely due to the Demoulis family feud. Wouldn't it be awesome if Wegmans could buy them out and develop there instead? Never will happen as they are building in Burlington, but I can dream...

                                    2. re: addiez

                                      I almost cry with happiness every time I meet someone with a connection to Rochester, and then we inevitably have a Wegmans love-fest (not to mention Dino BBQ). I lived in Rochester for five years (went to UR), and I've sorely missed Wegmans ever since I moved back to Massachusetts. Yep, totally went to Northborough on opening day. Since I'm near Union in Somerville, I'm thinking Burlington will be the most convenient upcoming location, but I'll be happy to make the occasional trek to Chestnut Hill while waiting for Burlington.

                                      The best things about Wegmans, in my mind, are the prepared foods and the produce - which is generally reasonably priced and 1000x times better than what I've ever been able to get at my nearest Shaws (Porter Sq.) I've also heard great things about how Wegmans treats its employees, and it's always landing on those 'great employer' rankings. And the store's generic brand is really pretty good for most products.

                                      As for my favorites closer to home, I guess I'm a reluctant Market Basket (Somerville) devotee. I want to curl up in a ball in the middle of an aisle and die nearly every visit because the crowds are insane, but the prices can't be beat. Well, at least for now - guess the Demoulas drama isn't looking so good? And the produce is usually good because the turnover is so fast.

                                      1. re: blumiethekoala

                                        Yes - they are indeed an exceptional family run business that totally takes care of it's non-union employees. If I recall Fortune Magazine voted the company the best to work for in the whole USA for two years in a row (maybe more). There are lots of examples - - just do a Youtube search for Wegmans Northborough and listen to the departmental managers introduce their departments. Wegmans hires college degreed professionals to run their departments (often from schools like Johnson and Wales, Providence) who know what they are doing around food. They don't open new stores in a rush - usually only a couple a year so they can control the process and quality. I used to work there as a kid and have met some of the family. I think here in Massachusetts the big problem is acquiring large enough sites for new stores and I am guessing that is what led to there new smaller store concept for Boston city. Be patient - I am sure they will continue to expand in New England over time.

                                        1. re: davefoxdad

                                          Actually, there were two structural practical problems for Wegmans in MA, as my brother in Rochester learned when talking to Wegmans mgmt. First, there was MA's unique item pricing requirements, toughest of the 50 states, since relaxed somewhat. Second was the 3-per-chain liquor license cap, currently in the process of a decade-long set of stepped increases in a deal to avoid the likely scrapping of them entirely in a referendum last November.... Wegmans only wants to open stores with their considerable liquor feature.

                                        2. re: blumiethekoala

                                          Go to Chelsea. 32 registers (40 during the holiday season), often nearly all staffed in peak hours. Aisles are wider, more selection. Plenty of parking. Was the biggest supermarket in New England until Wegmans in Northboro opened (it's about 5% larger, IIRC). I think the Wegmans in Burlington will be the biggest of all.

                                      2. We do mostly Whole Foods (River St.). It's a love/hate relationship. Love selection of produce, fish, cheese, beer & wine. Hate the people and the parking lot. We supplement with TJ's for meats, assorted other stuff (oil, vinegar, rice etc.) and some frozen stuff. Have a similar love/hate relationship with the products vs. people/parking lot. Personally, I'd pay 10% more for a grocery store that didn't allow kids, but that's just me.

                                        3 Replies
                                          1. re: mkfisher

                                            I'd pay even more for one that didn't allow entitled soccer moms.

                                          2. MB, and then local markets for produce/meat/deli whenever I can. Always local markets for fish.

                                            1. Definately Roche Bros! By far the best customer service and staff of any grocery store, especially in the catering and butcher departments.

                                              15 Replies
                                              1. re: Kblb387

                                                Roche is a great store w/ great service. I'm a bit concerned about the Burlington location after Wegmans comes to town though. Volume has gone down there over the years and they ended up cutting hours to 8-9 everyday. Like S&S, you can do well with double coupons if you're into that especially when matched up with an item on sale.

                                                They have been differentiating themselves w/ curbside pickup but there's been talk that Hannaford will be rolling out that service soon on their FB page(they've been testing it w/ good results in Dover NH).

                                                1. re: kreptol

                                                  We used to shop Roche Brothers exclusively, never a complaint other than prices. The one near us at least seems to be more expensive on just about everything.
                                                  We now shop mostly at the new Westford or Hudson MB, much better than the older ones and a huge savings in money.

                                                  We get a few things a TJ but mostly just nuts/snacks.. Seems most of the store is snacks to me..I couldnt imagine using that store for meats, deli, produce. I hate going in there, the parking lot is annoying and the entire store always seems full of people browsing/lost/looking.. I think cause the brands are different, people have to spend more time reading labels and wandering around.. I am sure i do the same.. Place drives me nuts.. That said, i like a lot of their mini cookies in the plastic tubs..rice crackers and some other snacks.

                                                  Having lived in upstate ny for a while, Wegmans is my favorite, just not close enough for weekly shopping just yet.

                                                  1. re: hargau

                                                    Yeah; that Acton TJ has a tough parking lot. Fortunately, the Nashua one is more more roomier and easily navigable, with it being a little tough just before Christmas, and a major improvement over the MB across the street which on an extremely busy day, will have a line of cars waiting to pull into the parking lot; and clogging traffic on DWH. Sometimes I am in the area and stop there. I'm a big label reader myself and I find that as a new shopper, you read labels at TJ to get used to the selection. When I started shopping years ago, it was just for snacks. But as I read more and more labels, more and more items became sensible to buy there as the price/quality equation ends up being much better more often than not.

                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                      Tell me a Trader Joe's where the parking ISN"T annoying!

                                                      1. re: fantundo

                                                        TJ in Nashua as it's in a big plaza w/ Modell's, Toy R Us, etc. Even when DWH is slammed during the last few days up until Christmas, I may have to park a little far away from the door to keep my sanity in check and pull directly into a space, but it's a huge improvement over the MB across the street which clogs the street in that area w/ cars trying to turn into it during this time. Otherwise, I get easy parking a very reasonable distance from the door.

                                                        1. re: kreptol

                                                          The TJ on rt 9 in framingham is perhaps the worst i have experienced. Too much to go thru for some nuts, cookies and rice crackers!

                                                          1. re: hargau

                                                            Yeah but, what about that BIG bag of Pirate Booty?!

                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                              With it being 40% off the other store's sale price per pound at TJ's I'd still buy it :) along w/ all the other groceries and fixins I need.

                                                            2. re: hargau

                                                              I believe you on the Framingham parking. Went 8 pm on a Sunday night to the Framingham store and I was amazed how busy it still was. But when there's not many TJ's in MA that sell alcohol (thanks to ye puritans) and that is one of them, and you consider the 3 buck chuck effect and the good private label beers that taste like microbrew beers selling at relatively cheap prices, it makes sense. It was almost a full lot at that time as well on the Sunday before Christmas.

                                                              I think the popularity of the Memorial Drive TJ w/ alcohol is why they built one over by Alewife; not much of a drive from each other.

                                                              1. re: kreptol

                                                                According to Massachusetts' liquor laws, a supermarket chain can have no more than 3 locations that sell alcohol (not counting cooking wine, as distinguished from drinking wine). Obviously, they choose them based on demographics and revenue volume.

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  Must have expanded to 5 as now TJ's in Peabody, Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Framingham, Brookline, and Foxboro all have beer and wine. And I know Hannaford was seeking to put beer and wine in Chelmsford and I know they already have 3 stores w/ beer and wine but I don't think they were successful thanks to how much clout Harrington Liquors has in the town.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    That was raised last year to 5, and will get raised further over the rest of the decade in stages, in a compromise to avoid the ballot initiative that would have completely scrapped the cap.

                                                              2. re: kreptol

                                                                Just curious, but how does MB clog the street? By being so popular and competitive that they attract crowds of shoppers? Damn them!

                                                                1. re: kreptol

                                                                  But if you're coming from the north, the left turning lane into the TJ's plaza gets incredibly backed up too, since there's only space for 4 or 5 cars, and the others wanting to turn left end up blocking the traffic that's trying to continue heading south on the DW. I see no appreciable difference in the traffic headache created by the MB vs. that created by TJs.

                                                                2. re: fantundo

                                                                  Burlington's not bad. Nashua is a breeze.

                                                          2. I can't comment on chains, since I tend to hit the same handful of places: my local Foodies Urban Market, Ming's, C-Mart, Kam Man, the South Bay Stop and Shop, with regular pilgrimages to Russo's and the Chelsea Market Basket. I very occasionally hit Whole Foods in Symphony and the Trader Joe's in Cambridgeport or Coolidge Corner.


                                                            1. Maybe I'm the odd one out but I find Shaw's has improved greatly recently. Their berries and fruits are often fresher AND cheaper than costco's. Their fish has been fresh and well priced. I can often get excellent deals on meat that's a day pre sell by date and they are great for long cooking and curries. My go to branches are Newtonville and Auburndale.

                                                              14 Replies
                                                              1. re: winmeover

                                                                I've never had a problem with the Packards Corner Star. It's handy that it's a 24-hour store (not least since it's less than a five-minute walk from my house), it's relatively clean and spacious, and they quite often have good sales in the fliers, and since we have a large walk-in pantry and a downstairs freezer, we can take advantage of those sales. To be fair, we rarely purchase produce there, since we get all of our produce needs met by farmers markets and Russo's, and we also buy the vast majority of our meats at Blood Farm and we get our milk delivered by Crescent Ridge Dairy.

                                                                That said, the seafood counter there is way better than it is in any other Star/Shaws I've ever been in, as in there are things that I would actually purchase there. The butcher counter adjacent to it sells Bell and Evans boneless thighs, which come in handy for quick weeknight meals, and with one douchey exception, the deli counter staff there are both competent and courteous. So while I understand the general level of hate for the chain -- there are some genuinely awful stores -- this one is actually pretty good, and for us, you can't beat the convenience.

                                                                Other stores in our usual rotation include the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe's (which we only patronize while on foot), Cambridge St. Bazaar, and, with declining frequency because the whole chain has become fairly useless, the Everett St. Stop&Shop. Occasional runs to either the Chelsea or Burlington Market Baskets and the Northborough Wegmans if we happen to be in those neighborhoods. Like Roche Bros fine, but there just aren't any anywhere we shop. Two or three times a year we stop in the Whole Foods next to Marty's to buy a couple six-packs of house brand tonic for cheap, since it's as good as Fever Tree for less than half the price, but I'm not on board with John Mackey's glibertarian BS, so he doesn't get my money otherwise.

                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                  I've popped into Shaw's on DWH Nashua a few times thanks to their amazing front page sales in lieu of a Hannaford trip. I agree that Shaw's has really come a long way in the past couple months, but they still need more improvement. They still need to drive at least 2x the volume they drive there but from talking with people, they start their sale week on Friday with a number of perishables being fresh and discounts on stuff that doesn't move (and stuff is older) Monday through Wednesday. So with the weekend deals, I would only go there Friday though Sunday as well. With a $5 off $50 from Recyclebank and with a good amount of perishable and HBC/cleaning supply sales added in my cart, I probably come out a little ahead vs Hannaford pricing for what I want to buy at a conventional supermarket. Still, I'm not going to go there if there isn't at least a good 5-6 sales that I want.

                                                                  Wouldn't say they are overall cheaper on a large basket of goods vs a Costco though.

                                                                2. re: winmeover

                                                                  Really, Shaw's berries are cheaper Costco?

                                                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                                                    When they are on sale they can be cheaper at Shaws/ Star. And I have seen berries at a ridiculously high price at Costco before.

                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                      What do you consider ridiculously high? I've never seen the huge clamshells of berries at Costco for more than $10, and they are usually $3.99-$5.99 for 2x+ the amount of berries in a supermarket container. I usually shop at the Everett Costco.

                                                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                                                        Agree, here are some facts. Ex; Costco blueberries, 2lbs clam shell for 4.99, Shaws on sale last week, 4 oz clam shells 2 for 4.00, do the math. Also, peaches the size of softballs at Costco, 6lbs for 7.99. Shaws small peaches on sale, 2.39 per pound. Recently Costco cherries, 2.34 per lb, no other super market was even close. Costco's fruits are better quality and affordable.

                                                                        1. re: treb

                                                                          Those are pretty impressive prices re: Costco. How much are the Chobani? It usually has some minor fluctuations at Sam's but it ends up being about $.90 each in a 12 pack. Would be nice if there was a club pack of just 12 6 ounce plain flavors; I typically buy the blueberry/strawberry/peach and then a quart of plain for $4.29 each. Cherries were $9 for 3 lbs for much of the summer but there was a special buy on rainier ones yesterday for $2 for 2 lbs (alright quality). Peaches have been $7.98/ 4lbs for much of the summer w/ nectarines at $6 for 4 lbs. But then I get boneless chicken at Sam's for $1.98/lb.

                                                                          The front page sale pricing at Shaw's does beat Sam's pricing on average, even if it is by a narrow margin but regular pricing ranges from being fair to ridiculous.

                                                                          Maybe I should check out using Costco even though I do get cheap gas at Sam's (which is unavailable to me at Costco). Both stores get good volume in Nashua. Last time I checked Costco, the pricing was roughly in line with Sam's.

                                                                          1. re: kreptol

                                                                            Is that natural boneless chicken from Sam's at $1.98/lb?

                                                                            1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                              It does say it's all natural albeit it is the kind of chicken much like you would get at any grocery store for $3 or so per lb. Nature's Place chicken at Hannaford is still a step up in quality.

                                                                        2. re: Gabatta

                                                                          Not saying that it's always or frequent, but it happens. However the quality is usually better at Costco, and the sales price at MB/Star isn't much less.

                                                                          I can't remember how much it was (probably 2x the price of blueberries at the grocery store), but it was high enough that a couple of us stood there staring at the price with confused expressions. Everyone who looked at the price quickly put the clamshells back and moved on to other berries. It was weird. Everett this past spring.

                                                                        3. re: viperlush

                                                                          I bought six 2Ib clam shells last weekend at Newtonville Shaws for $2.99 each! The produce stocker there said the management wanted to make it the same price as the 2Ib strawberries! I rinsed and dried 3 of those boxes to freeze and made pies and clafoutis with the other 3. Hardly any bad berries in the 6 boxes! Whereas oftentimes at Costco, I'll be dealing with a mushy and moldy bottom layer. Can't beat that!

                                                                      2. re: winmeover

                                                                        The N. Waltham Shaw's is actually fairly decent for many things. Some organic and their Wild Harvest and international sections are pretty extensive. I can also get a number of Iggy's breads there most of the time. I tend to go there on weekends when I don't feel like trekking down to Newton to WF or TJs. I pass WF/Framingham, TJ/Shrewsbury and Wegman's on my way to work everyday, so shop there weekdays....frequently!

                                                                        1. re: Science Chick

                                                                          That Shaw's is less than a mile from me but hasn't been on my radar much. When they expanded, it seems that they didn't increase variety or quality and just had longer aisles of coke and chips. It is improving from what I can tell since the takeover, although I still kind of forget it's there. I'm hoping it's one they are going to remodel soon.

                                                                          Belmont is on the short list for renovation, according to the Globe. It will be great if the new owners follow through and we have a quality supermarket in the N. Waltham neighborhood!

                                                                          1. re: bear

                                                                            Check it out, Bear! It's not my go-to place, but there's plenty there to work with. Fish has been good too. Of course, with Wlison Farms and/or Wagon Wheel just down the street, I get less and less items from Shaw's.

                                                                      3. For basic day to day grocery shopping I hit either the S&S in Hingham or Norwell, occasionally Cohasset. I love the hand scanner and prefer packing my own groceries so that is a huge plus too. I can get in and out quickly.

                                                                        The Cohasset Shaws is dirty w/ lousy selection but they used to have a wonderful butcher but he is long gone. I can't remember the last time I stepped in there. I can't put my finger on why I can't stand the local Hannafords- I think it's the lay out and the produce area often has an off putting smell.

                                                                        For speciality shopping I regularly go to Whole Foods in Hingham. In the winter they are pretty much the only place I buy produce.

                                                                        I hit TJ's once or twice a month and BJ's about once a quarter.

                                                                        I never buy seafood at any grocery store if I can help it. I am lucky to live close to the ocean and have a number of good fishmongers around here. I will occasionally pick up seafood specials at WF but the price has to be right.

                                                                        1. We're in North Reading, and S&S is the only grocery in town. It is convenient, but I have a hard time supporting their business practices (long story, short - they left a large, stand-alone building to move into a smaller spot in a strip center just to block MB from coming to town, leaving their original location sitting empty for a couple of years now). If I am in the mood to put up with the chaos, I shop at the MB in Middleton or Reading since their prices tend to be better than S&S. We don't eat a lot of processed foods, so I try to buy as much as I can at the farmer's market or Calereso's, and fill in with things from the grocery as needed.

                                                                          1. I completely agree with the OP regarding the awesomeness of Market Basket. I am especially in awe of their seafood department. Excellent quality.

                                                                            I live in Marblehead, and typically shop at their Salem location. This is probably one of their older and less flashy stores. But they still have everything I need, and a friendly, professional staff. It amazes me when people around here blow it off as "going to a third world country" to "save a few bucks". How can you not love better quality and variety and getting to keep that extra 30 to 40% of your money???? Oh, and I LIKE the diversity!

                                                                            1. 1. The more recent iterations of Market Basket (eg, Chelsea, Reading & Burlington, but especially Chelsea; reserving judgment on the soon-to-be-opened Revere location, which won't save me much time as compared to Chelsea except perhaps during rush hour, when I am not marketing anyway...) are primo. Excellent produce and fish/seafood that is fresh because it's priced well and there's so much volume in sales that it moves fast so they are able to keep it fresh. And, in Chelsea, you have a higher volume of customers who won't and can't pay for the mediocre produce and fish that many middle-class Americans might otherwise buy because they value time/convenience over quality. And, to top it off, MB staff are so much more friendly and cheerful (I am aware that was not always the case) than S&S or Shaw's. You do need to contend with pallets in the aisles (because they stock during the day, rather than at night; this, btw, is one of the ways they save money...) and a certain level of contact sport among the customers, but it's generally cheerful (because most people are happy to be shopping there). MB was ranked by Consumer Reports in the top five supermarket chains nationally for a good reason.

                                                                              2. Wegmans - not a value chain like MB, but think of it as Roche Bros on steroids, and with a good corporate philosphy I appreciate. I have close family in Rochester, NY, so I knew the chain from there. I only get to Northboro about once a quarter, and very much look forward to the Burlington location next year. Wegman's and MB together deliver a much-needed kick in the caboose to too-dominant-and-lazy S&S and Shaws/Star (the latter chain appears to be aware of the pending doom and trying to reposition itself; S&S remains oblivious as of yet). The combination of Wegman's & MB within a mile of each other in Burlington's gonna be a killer (with TJs, Roche Bros and H-Mart also in that local mix, a super-killer).

                                                                              3. TJs. Not a general purpose market, but vital for certain things.

                                                                              4. Hannaford: the best of the mid-market local chains near me (that is, within 10 miles).

                                                                              5. Whole Foods: important for certain items, and I am glad I now I have one in Melrose so I can be more efficient in my tour of market duty, as it were.

                                                                              6. Price Rite: underappreciated (it's on a similar model to Aldi, but more inner-city oriented, in a good way). Fabulous for things like Australian grass-fed beef at prices that even MB won't match. If you're a MB denizen, be sure to check it out.

                                                                              1. Since the change in ownership at Shaws has been completed we are now shopping there and things are really different for the better, we asl just ahd a new WF open in Weymouth, we rae dissapointed they do not sell anything that we buy.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Tucker23

                                                                                  This makes me think I should give Shaw's in Burlington and Nashua another chance. I haven't been in either in probably a decade.

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    There certainly is a great degree of variability in the various Shaw's locations. The one in Shrewsbury is huge, but pretty weak in food I am interested in (organic, veggie diversity, vegetarian protein sources, international). Don't know about Burlington, but it would be nice to hear a report.

                                                                                2. S&S and Hannaford are my run-in-run-out places by virtue of the fact that they're both within a couple of miles from me. I've never done a complete shopping trip at either. S&S, as others have pointed out, isn't exactly cheap. I like Hannaford's selections overall, but the one near me doesn't have the breadth of choices as other stores within the chain do.

                                                                                  We do a monthly grocery stock-up at MB, which is a bit of a hike but worth every penny. We buy our meat and paper goods at either Costco or BJ's. We've found that combining both not only saves more in the long run, but also balances the strengths/weaknesses (I, for one, don't trust MB's produce nor its meat. I wouldn't know about its deli/seafood because we don't eat either).

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                                                    After buying about 15 pounds of rancid pork from BJs for a party once, i dont trust their meat.. I think MB has a GREAT meat dept! Especially the new fancy stores like the 2 we shop at.

                                                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                                                      I agree with you hagau. I actually think that MB's meat and produce is one of their strengths. I like that even smaller packages of meat are priced the same as family packs. When boneless chicken is $1.99 for instance, it doesn't matter what size you buy. S&S doesn't do this. The produce is fresh and cheaper than BJ's, and we don't need to buy a bag of 12 when we want red peppers! We stopped renewing our BJs membership because for most everything at MB is same price or less. We can't justify the $50 membership for the lttle savings we got on the few itms where they are cheaper.

                                                                                      1. re: hargau

                                                                                        Ewww :winces: I've never, ever had an issue with the meat at BJ's. We mostly buy the preportioned chicken parts (either breasts and/or boneless thighs), the occasional package of ground turkey, and maybe steak tips or pork chops every once in a while. A family friend who owns a small pizza/hamburger joint sings the praises of their burgers, but he says that you've got to watch the dates on the package very carefully.

                                                                                      2. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                                                        I like buying the portioned vacuum packs of chicken from Costco. Been buying them for years. However I made the mistake of buying a rancid pack of chicken breasts and not noticing it until it was too late. I highly suggest using one before adding the rest of the packages to the freezer to prevent any future surprises.

                                                                                        I've always been happy with the meat and produce at MB. Sometimes their meat is cheaper than Costco. But I've never been in a Hannaford's and don't shop at S&S so I can't compare.

                                                                                      3. Unfortunately, the closest supermarket is a S&S, and it is the worst one I've ever seen. Horrendous produce, dried out meats, and outrageous prices on just about everything, even with the stupid card. I shop there when I don't feel like dealing with the Burlington MB, but MB is my preferred market. Also like TJ's and, yes, WF. WF actually has the cheapest organic milk.

                                                                                        I keep fantasizing that some hideous catastrophe will happen to the Stop and Shop (a sinkhole or a gas explosion while no one is inside, of course) and the company will simply abandon the site and a better market will move in.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                                          Even S&S's weekly sale prices are higher than MB.

                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                            Be careful what you wish for. The Hyannis Stop & Shop is a brand new store 10 years in the making. What happened when they built a 25% larger box? The departments and slection got smaller, except for their outrageously overpriced Nature's Miracle aisles and their equally expensive general merchandise dept in the center aisles of the store. Everything that mattered got smaller, produce, meats, fish and bakery. It's no wonder that every time I'm shopping for something there I overhear management griping about the MB that opened up 15 miles away.

                                                                                          2. 1. Market Basket. In Salem, NH- we have 2 MB's. One is a huhge new one and it has all the bells and whiles. Love the meat and seafood dept's. It is clean, and the customer service is top notch!

                                                                                            2. Aldi- I dont' get much here but it is god for snacks and the occasiional pabtry staple.

                                                                                            3.. McKinnon's Super Butcher Shop- Prices are high. I always go for the sales and family packs that is where you can save.

                                                                                            4. Shaw's- I just started going back there to pick up 1 or 2 sale items. Not sure if it is worth the extra time spent.

                                                                                            5. TJ's Nashua. -For the wine and my other favorate items.

                                                                                            6.- My Garden & local Salem Frmer's Market!

                                                                                            1. I feel like Price Chopper deserves to be on this list

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: meeps2002

                                                                                                They used to be good. The prices now are OMG so high!! Its highway robbery!!

                                                                                              2. Market Basket for staples and really cheap funny items gotta love the double-sided receipts, Russo's for produce, fresh pasta, tofu and cheap dairy, WF for fish but obviously New Deal is the best for fish, meat is not my specialty, but I would shop local Halal butchers who actually source meat themselves, not frozen. Asian? Mediterranean? Doesn't matter, whatever is closest.

                                                                                                1. I really want to like Market Basket, but I just cannot cope with the crowds and the parking lot at the Somerville store. I feel like I'm constantly in rush hour traffic and feel the need to leave after about ten minutes. (I tend to avoid the Mem Drive TJ's for the same reason -- just as densely packed but with the added benefit of everyone being insufferable.)

                                                                                                  I understand the Chelsea MB is much nicer than the Somerville one, but is it any less crowded? It's not on my way to anything but it's a reasonable drive from here.

                                                                                                  For that matter -- are there any times when the crowds at the Somerville MB are surprisingly thin? I'd definitely plan around it.

                                                                                                  In general, I'd rank Wegmans > TJ's > WFM > MB > S&S > Shaw's, in general order of preference. The Shaw's near me is enormous and always vacant for good reason.

                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: dtremit

                                                                                                    I do my shopping at the Somerville MB around 9:30. Crowds aren't too bad and parking is easy. But they are stocking shelves and there are the occasional delivery trucks.

                                                                                                    1. re: dtremit

                                                                                                      I go in the AM. Another "light" time is after 7pm Monday-Thursday. Friday night is packed, but the average age is MUCH younger.

                                                                                                      At this point, I am willing to go to MB even during busy times, but only because I know the store so well, I can do a targeted operation for the four or five items I need.

                                                                                                      I have come to love this MB in spite of, or because of, its urban personality.

                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                        It's like going to the United Nations. I love it but try to avoid Sundays, even worse than Saturdays. The people are much more courteous than at Whole Foods even though it is so crowded and the parking is so difficult. The urban personality is exactly what makes it special. I do understand why it can be difficult for many, however. I just prefer this kind of difficulty to the Whole Foods variety. I've had remarkable brief conversations with fellow shoppers.

                                                                                                          1. re: bhyde

                                                                                                            Okay, more like the Great Hall at Ellis Island....

                                                                                                            1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                                              yep, that's what I meant. lots of people from lots of different places. speaking lots of languages and given the crowds, very courteous. I love the diversity.

                                                                                                              1. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                Madrid, you also brought up another interesting, and important note. People who have landed at the Somerville MB, but are native to another place, are so happy to share their cooking traditions with the frumpy woman who asks! I have used hand signals, pantomime, and simple English to learn about some of the produce that wasn't part of my culinary upbringing. My life has been enriched by such encounters.

                                                                                                                [At some point, I should answer that original question, but need to go fix a Greek meal first.]

                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                  my life has also been enriched by such encounters. Seeing someone from central america amazed and happy to see an herb similar to cilantro but rather c u lantro (the auto spellcheck won't let me type it as one word) was an wonderful experience, just for one. It makes me happy to live where I do, and to just be around so many from other places. Hope you had a great Greek meal!

                                                                                                      2. re: dtremit

                                                                                                        i consistently find that wed & thurs evenings are the best nights to go to MB chelsea. the few times ive been to the somerville MB on those nights its been quiet also. give those nights a try.

                                                                                                        monday evenings are usually just as bad as the weekends.

                                                                                                      3. Shopped at Whole Foods new Weymouth store yesterday sea scallops $27.99 per pound no deal I went to Shaws nice fresh sea scallops $8.99 per pound. how can people afford to go to Whole Foods.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: ac106

                                                                                                            I have to disagree, I buy sea scallops weekly, I have bought at Whole Foods, Shaws, and Truchis Mkt and Hanafords, Can't tell you the difference other than price.

                                                                                                            1. re: Tucker23

                                                                                                              Actually Whole Foods has their own private ocean where there are many species not found in the peasant/common folk oceans.. This is a fact.

                                                                                                              1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                It must be so, because generally I find the MB dry sea scallops to be of better quality than WF's, most of which I attribute to the fact that MB's velocity of sales is much higher and the WF scallops sit around longer.

                                                                                                                1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                  And a fishing fleet anchored off Ephemerisle.

                                                                                                            2. re: Tucker23

                                                                                                              Dry Scallops at $9 a lb, that's a steal. I usually pay around $17 a lb at Rowans.