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Market Basket 4% off

saw a big sign in the mb that all year long they are offering a 4% discount on groceries. on top of already cheap prices!

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  1. I've been shopping at MB 25 years. I am thrilled to have this 4% discount on everything but one thing I did notice was the prices have been going up, albeit slowly, for a while now. I do feel that MB for the most part has has the lowest prices around so I'll take it!

    1. Oh, I saw that on their circular and it said that it expired Dec. 27. I thought it was a typo and neglected to note the 2014 date. (tough to get old) That's pretty amazing. Thanks for the heads-up.

      I am really excited that the Waltham MB is apparently going to be under construction again soon.

      I wonder if this promotion has anything to do with trying to offset the negative press from the family feud?

      3 Replies
      1. re: bear

        at first i thought somebody just neglected to take the sign down too, lol.

        prices everywhere have been creeping up and we are in the dead of winter. overall the prices at mb are SOOO much less than s&s or shaw's it kills me to shop elsewhere now. even if today i spent 15 minutes trying to find corn syrup. (with the peanut butter, really? NOT in the baking aisle? no. 10 aisles away. wtf.)

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          One big plus at MB is that someone will walk you to the item is you ask an employee where it is. That has never happened to me at Shaws even since the change.

          At MB Somerville I was helping a woman even shorter than me get something from a shelf and a young MB staffer came over and thanked me and then asked if I had any questions and was I able to find the things on my list.


          1. re: BostonZest

            I have always found the staff at somerville MB very helpful and also the other customers, who more than once have helped me get something from a shelf I couldn't reach. I've never experienced that at other markets. Glad you helped, Penny!

            I've had some great short conversations at MB with complete strangers about the CULANTRO for example, and how it is different from cilantro. sorry for the all caps but the auto correct won't let me type it in lower case without changing it to cilantro. Despite the crowds and the hassle, I love the place.

            I'm not excited by the marketing ploy but it's still a better and cheaper supermarket than elsewhere. and always has the fresh herbs....and recently, the tuscan black kale (auto correct won't let me type LACINTO, turns it into lacing.)

      2. It seems to me that this is just marketing. Prices on some items that I buy definitely have gone up. So, raise the prices and then tell people you are giving them a 4% discount might be a wash for the customer or even a way to sugarcoat a net higher grocery bill. Bottom line, to me this is a gimmick - something I have not previously seen at MB. Most unwelcome. I would far prefer they mark the items with the prices we will end up paying for them.

        All in all, I will still do most of my shopping at MB, but I love them a bit less and will be looking forward to the Wegman's that will be up the road from the Burlington MB just a bit more.

        10 Replies
        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          are you able to discern increase in commodity prices vs. some sort of internal, mb only raise? i have found some higher produce prices, but as i said above it's january and it's new england. i am not buying turnips from jebediah's root cellar.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            They've raised the prices on non-produce items. For example, in the recent past their chicken leg quarters (great fodder for chicken soup) used to be $.89/lb every day (not on sale). Now they are $.99 on sale and (if my memory serves) $1.09 as the everyday price.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              i realize part of this promotion is marketing, but because of several years worth of biblical type floods, freak blizzards and droughts, commodity prices are soaring, so i don't begrudge small price hikes.

              if i hadn't gone to the store, i don't know that i would have known about this deal, so they're not exactly blanketing the press with it, but rather primarily communicating to existing shoppers.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Look at it this way. Most supermarkets operate at margins that are LESS than 4%. (See http://www.cnbc.com/id/100794988) So, a 4 percent discount on almost everything could wipe out all of the profit that MB makes unless it also raised its prices to make up for it.

                More about how this marketing gimmick works. On December 27, a weekly grocery bill goes up 4%, but by then people will have been trained by MB to believe that that is just the end of a great discount program, not a price hike.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I agree. It's not like prices are going down. MB has never been dishonest about price increases and never tried to "hide" them so I don't see this as a ploy to "hide price increases". I've shopped here for years and have noticed price increases on many of the things I buy regularly. It's not like things are getting cheaper.
                  The bottom line is MB regular prices continue to be lower than those of their competitors. Their service continues to be great. If they want to give me 4% off for the rest of the year then I will gladly take it. When it ends..I will take it in stride. I expect whether they offer the discount or not..prices are still going to be up a year from now.

            2. re: PinchOfSalt

              I agree. This is nothing but marketing. They could just lower sticker prices, but they do this to make you think you are getting a better deal. I have no idea what their costs are or if they are just pushing this 4% into the sticker price meaning there are no real savings, but I'm not going to get excited over such an obvious marketing ploy.


              1. re: hungrytommy

                Agreed. It's like all the hoopla around the annual tax-free weekend declared each August. Would you REALLY spend forever hunting down a parking space and elbowing your way into the mall if the ads said they were offering 6% off? Because that's all the tax holiday amounts to.

                1. re: greygarious

                  i don't bother with tax-free weekend, but those who stampede on black friday might feel otherwise.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    BF has really good deals. If things are on sale for 25+% off, it's worth some bruises, especially on expensive items. MB is cheaper, for the most part, than other area chains, even before the 4% discount, so I don't think it's going to change peoples' buying habits there. On the other hand, if other chains up the ante by offering larger discounts than MB, it could make them competititve and thereby cut into MB's profit margin.

              2. re: PinchOfSalt

                I am hoping that when Wegman's opens I will be able to get to it. The Msx Tpk is a parking-lot already!

              3. Yes I the ad too. I spent about $84.00 the other day there and got $ 3.54 "off" that. But things have gone up.
                My wife likes their cranberry juice bottles. The were 2 for $3.00 for months now its $ 2.15 each. Same with other items we buy. But we still go there and I got a Stop&Shop right down the street and only go there if I have to.

                2 Replies
                1. re: steve4310

                  I don't shop there often but I was aware of the "deal". Just reading some of the recent cost increases (not claiming they are MB's doing) the prices are going up more than 4%. If this is more than just anecdotal evidence, then the discount is meaningless.

                  I'm not a huge fan of MB. I do like their lemon donut. But I'm also not a fan of Trader Joe's so obviously I have horrible taste in grocery stores.


                  1. re: hungrytommy

                    meh, i have given up on trader joe's, but now that i live in shangrilowell, mb is my local option and the closest s&s is dramatically higher-priced on nearly everything -- even before the 4% promo.

                2. It is what it is. I already shop at MB because it is cheaper than my other options, and I will continue to shop there after this promo is over.

                  1. Even 4% isn't worth it for me to go to my local MB (union sq). I feel like I lose a year off my life every time I go in there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jgg13

                      jgg13, I agreed about losing a year off your life when shopping at MB!

                    2. As something of a pricing geek this 4% off for a year is certainly unique. Given the tensions between board and management it's unlikely they are lowering prices eh? So presumably it's just the opening round to encourage impulse purchasing by making the prices more confusing. E.g. the purpose of most modern pricing games. It makes me sad. I fear that next they will have a website.

                      I've been chatting with the checkout people. They really dislike the little song&dance it's added; they are expected to pull out a marker and circle the total discount. And it's doubled the length of the receipts :).

                      It would be fun to have an entire thread on interesting products and product placements at Market Basket. For example the interesting Bosnian food in Everett, which including some great smoked meat items.

                      1. even without the 4% it is still cheaper than any other grocery around us. At Shaws or Roche Brothers, it seems we get 1/2 is much stuff for the same money. The 4% doesnt mean much of anything to us. We spend about $100/week so the extra $4 doesnt have us celebrating or anything, a couple of coupons or a single sale item can save you that. I have not noticed price increases at MB on items we buy.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hargau

                          agreed. we don't buy any processed foods so the produce and proteins are subject to market variables.

                          well before this thread i was aware of the thin profit margins in the grocery biz and the practice of loss-leaders. mb has been around long enough to make the numbers work. i didn't see anybody bent out of shape over the $3.99 lobster prices all summer.

                        2. I haven't been to Market Basket. What's the quality of their produce and poultry? Do they sell grains in bulk? Do they sell organic? I know, I just need to make a trip and scope it out. But I'm wondering what makes them great aside from the low prices I'm hearing about? Thanks so much! And I'll report back if/when I get there.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: rozziegirl

                            stores vary by demographic and most of the older stores are absolute shit shows as far as parking and cramped aisles.

                            at my b/f's local mb, by sunday afternoon the produce section can look like a zombie apocalypse stormed through, but the newer one closer to me always seems better kept and stocked.

                            i have not seen grains in bulk.

                            they do have organic and plenty of "ethnic" produce and products.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              There are a bunch of MBs in my orbit. While they do carry *some* organic produce, it's just a small portion of an aisle. It has less turnover so it often isn't in the best shape. I have never seen bulk grains. The fresh foods, overall, are nothing to brag about. The instore bakery used to be totally dreadful but has gotten a bit better.
                              The attraction has always been the savings.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I find the fish counter and meats at the new westford mb to be excellent. The produce is better than the nearest Shaws which is our other choice unless we want to take out a mortgage and drive to Roche Brothers. The organic produce is just one side of an aisle and there are no bulk grains, not that i ever have wanted bulk grains for any reason.

                                1. re: hargau

                                  the newish mb in chelmsford has great meat, often very good seafood and the produce is excellent. even at my b/f's local mb (fletcher st.) the produce turn-over is extraordinary so never have a problem with anything that looks wilted or expired.

                                  bulk grains gross me out -- no matter what store. perfect for pests to infiltrate.

                                  i buy organic in summer from the farmer's market. the concept of organic produce flown 1000s of miles from another hemisphere doesn't sit well with me.

                            2. re: rozziegirl

                              i shop at the somerville mb, which is old and relatively small. so no bulk grains (not sure they carry them at the larger, newer stores).

                              re produce: yes, they carry organic. and heavy traffic means the produce turns over quickly and is always fresh. been shopping there for years, and never had to return any produce.

                            3. Okay, I just came back from a trip to the Burlington store. I guess I just don't see the widespread jump on products that I use on a regular basis. Here are a few things I picked up:

                              5 lbs. onions - $2.99
                              5 lbs. carrots - $2.99
                              Cabot butter 2/$4
                              Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar 2/$4
                              Cabot Cottage Cheese 2/$3
                              Fage Qt. yogurt $4.99
                              5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes $2.49
                              Kate's Buttermilk $1.99
                              Cento San Marzano Tomatoes $2.99
                              Haas avocados $1.19

                              Three different kinds of beef bones for stock at reasonable prices.

                              I don't remember the old prices on dried and canned Goya beans, so I can't comment there. The Bob's Red Mill prices seem to be about the same as at Ocean State Job Lot in Waltham.

                              The Veggie Better Than Bouillon is $4.99, which seems to be about $1 more than it used to be IIRC.

                              The poblanos are $2.99/lb., which is also more than they used to be. It's hard to beat Russo's usual $1.49/lb. for poblanos, but it sure beats WF's and Wilson Farm's prices.

                              I wasn't in the market for fish, but there were some good buys on fresh cod ($7.99/lb.) and hake ($5.99/lb.) and the cold packaged store-steamed lobsters were $5.99/lb.

                              Anyway, I guess I'm still happy with Market Basket, and I came home with a whole lot of good food for under $125.

                              It did take me quite a while to escape from the parking lot onto Lowell Rd./Middlesex Turnpike, and the register lines were pretty long.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: bear

                                Up until the last time I did so,I was buying Fage yogurt in quarts at the Burlington MB for $2.99 or $3.49, can't remember which. Definitely a big price jump.

                                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                  Really? The quarts and not the pints? I've never seen them that cheap. $4.99 is much better than WF, Shaw's or even TJ's.

                                  1. re: bear

                                    Hmmm, I could be wrong, maybe it was a pint. There's none in my fridge now or I could know for sure. The container is short and wide, about the size of a cottage cheese container. The price has been the best around by far, even beating Russo's.

                                    Kates Butter has been another incredible bargain at the Burlington MB. Salted and unsalted (a recent addition), $3-something for a pound (four sticks), WF is like $5.49.

                                    1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                      We got chobani at MB yesterday $1.09.. I noticed last week while i was at idylewilde their price was $1.69 crazy difference.

                                      1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                        that's the 17.6 oz size. i bought some 2 days ago. am also able to get kerrygold and organic valley butters for $2.99 1/2 pound and that ov butter is only $3.49 for a pound block. (only available part of the year since it is 100% grass-fed.)

                                        1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                          i've been getting the quarts of fage for $4.99 for more than a year.

                                      2. re: PinchOfSalt

                                        i almost never see fage in quarts and never see the full fat in that size. except for sales, have been paying $3.49 for the 17.6 oz size for ages.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          I bought the 2%. It's the 35.3 oz. (1000 grams) container. I didn't notice if they have the full fat.
                                          Pinch, thanks for the Kate's butter heads-up. I just bought Cabot because it was cheap. I did snag that wonderful buttermilk, though.

                                    2. Went to Bellingham MB on a whim last night to shop for the 4% discount. I only saved almost $12.00 for the entire groceries. Not sure if it's a real discount, 'cuz I swear MB jacked the prices up! I had been avoiding MB due to how crazy that store can get. Been going to Hannaford for most of the things and I pay less than $150 at the most for a week or a week and a half worth. Sometimes if Shaw's/Star Market have good sales on certain things like the Cantastics sales. Roche Bros is expensive, depends on what kind of sales they have, it might be a good deal but not for the full food shopping. I avoid Stop & Shop, WF at all cost. Like Walmart, I will only go there if I really have to. I don't know much about food shopping at Super Walmart in Walpole, a neighbor of mine swears by Wegman's. Never been to a Wegman's, I can't comment on that. Maybe I check over again with the prices at MB in Bellingham.