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Nov 7, 2013 06:15 AM

Returning produce to the supermarket because of a sale?

On Tuesday I purchased 7 organic apples for a whopping $16 (including tax) from my local Harris Teeter supermarket. I was appalled by the price but I was out and went to the store specifically to purchase them.

The next day, the store's sale flyer came out and wouldn't you know it, organic apples went on sale for $1 less per pound (I paid approximately $3/pound).

In addition, when I bought them, the apples at the store were picked over and sad but I choose the best of the lot. I've now consumed two apples which were grainy and not the best.

Do I bring my remaining apples back to the store to return them and purchase new apples (of hopefully better quality)? Or do I suck it up and just chalk it up to a life lesson learned? I'm honestly not sure what to do here because I'm not a big fan of returns but I feel ripped off.

Have you ever returned produce to a grocery store (not Trader Joe's as I know they're cool with returning anything at any point)?

(Yes, I know there are other threads out there from ages ago but they don't specifically address the issue of items going on sale nor do they address produce specifically.) Thanks in advance for your input!

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  1. $16 for 7 apples? You coulda bought a tree.

    1. The big question is, are the apples that were put on sale one day later the same ones? Meaning grainy etc. Maybe that's why they put them on sale. I might ask or mention it to them if they weren't busy, but not make a big deal about it either.

      For some reason produce is the one thing I suck up usually. Of course the buyer should be checking it out, but still, so many variables in play, including Mother Nature. Oh and organic, for some reason I am not always as happy with the quality, despite the fact that they are supposedly "better".

      1. You do not bring produce back to the store for any reason, but certainly not this. If a product is defective, you mention it to the person in charge of that section of the grocery. In this case, you are just trying to work the system to your advantage in an unreasonable way.

        When something I like goes on sale, I use the opportunity to stock up on it. But produce is perishable, so you could buy more at the discounted price and make apple butter. This would average down your cost.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GH1618

          We bought a big yellow fleshed watermelon from Kroger, and when we cut into it, the entire melon was bone dry, flavorless and not sweet at all.
          I took it back to the produce manager, who went immediately to the watermelon bin, cut a few open and had the entire pallet moved off the produce floor.
          For $7.99, I certainly did take back inedible produce. And I am sure that the produce manager wants to know if his product is unacceptable.

        2. I would never think to take produce back to the store.

          Then again, I wouldn't spend $16 for 7 apples in the first place. Especially if they were "picked over and sad"! Would have moved on to other, better looking produce or done without.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gourmanda

            I have always found as a good rule of thumb, the higher the price on produce, the lower the quality. It has to do with the growing conditions, if things are optimal then there is plenty to be had; when things go bad (heat, too much rain) the quality declines and there's not so much to harvest, but people still want it anyway.

            My advice, buy ONLY on sale.

            1. re: gourmanda

              "I would never think to take produce back to the store."

              The same here. Mother Nature is not perfect. I would alert the store if I felt that they had a bad stock of something that might make people sick, but if I buy a bunch of carrots and get them home and they are so-so, I just use them for stock or something similar. I can't even think of a time I even entertained the idea of returning produce.
              And I have to be totally honest here: I never, ever look at the flyers for my supermarket. I make a list and go to the store. If something is on sale at that point and I need it and like that brand, then I buy it. But I am not a sale-shopper by nature at all. So maybe I am not the best person to answer the OP's original question.

            2. If it is convenient for you, there is no harm in going back with the apples and explaining why you want to return. Disappointed with the quality of what you purchased. All that can happen is they say no and you are out the cost of gas. Or you can just give them a call.