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Grocery shopping at Walmart...?

  • CindyJ Mar 18, 2014 06:27 AM

Our local Walmart recently expanded and added grocery and produce sections. I'm not a fan of Walmart to begin with, although I do find myself there from time to time for certain household items. Is there a good reason to consider doing grocery shopping there?

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  1. Not if you have other options, I am not a fan either and I am sure for the same reasons you are not either.

    1. From my experience, it depends on what your local markets have to offer. My area has intense competition from regional, ethnic, and national chains. Not to mention the discount warehouses. I have three Super WalMarts and a Sam's Club within a 10 mile drive. So we have a wide variety of fresh veggies and meats.

      On the other hand, the Super WalMart to the south of New Berlin Wisconsin is horrible when it comes to groceries. Terrible wine selection, little in the way of any ethnic fresh or canned goods, and even the Wisconsin products (sausage and cheese) are mediocre. But when your competition is Pic n Save, you do not have to try too hard to be better.

      The store brand Great Value may or may not be comparable to your usual purchases. The savings in cash can be substantial. Is it worth your time to do the research on which products you normally use are worth the savings?? That is up to you to decide.

      If you buy in bulk at Whole Foods and participate with a CSA, WalMart for groceries would probably be a disappointment.

      1. I live in a rural area, and have NO other options, short of driving 70 miles. My WalMart is ok for groceries, produce is acceptable.

        I only buy groceries and cleaning supplies at WM. Anything that has to last (small appliances, clothes, housewares) I buy somewhere else. WM sells total crap--the cheapest materials, worst workmanship.

        1. My main gripe with our local Walmart is how narrow the aisles are. Also, they only have large, standard sized carts (no smaller cart or hand basket option). I can't stand maneuvering through the store - it really stresses me out. My mental health is worth more than any savings Walmart might offer.

          1. I buy condiments there if I happen to be in the store. They usually have a good price on hot sauce and mustard.

            1. Prepackaged items? Sometimes cheaper (but not always) -- they have particularly good prices on KA flour and coffee where I live. Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products -- usually best price, if I don't have a Costco run on the schedule.

              Meat? NFW.

              Produce? only if I'm going to be using it today. I'll be the first to admit that their produce *looks* nice and their selection has improved considerably, but for reasons I don't understand, it's usually gone bad within 2-3 days.

              1. I'll admit I make the occasional trip to Walmart's grocery aisles. they carry some items I can't get at my other local stores and the prices are cheaper than I find online. For example, they sell Old Wisconsin turkey snack sticks (like turkey Slim Jims, but healthier), which I can only find online. (great low carb snack). They sell them for $3.68/pack, but online the cheapest I found without shipping was $4.38 and then I have to pay shipping on top of that. I get 4 pack coconut waters in tetrapaks with straws, which I can't find anywhere else too. They are perfect to put in my work lunches. Condiments, lunch meats, and cereals tend to be cheaper here than my local grocery stores and Target.

                Walmart is not my first choice, but I have been going about once a month to pick up a few grocery items and toiletries. I don't really shop the other departments. We are on a limited income right now due to DH being laid off, so saving a few dollars here and there adds up.

                1. They sell Open Pit BBQ sauce and my Giant did not.

                  1. When price was my main concern, I shopped almost exclusively at Wal-Mart. Now that I can afford to shop elsewhere, I only go there in emergencies.

                    In my experience, their produce does not last NEARLY as long as that of Kroger, Food Lion, or any of the other little markets where I shop. Unfortunately, all of those places are 20+ miles away. When I find myself in a pinch, I'll make a run to Wal-Mart (7 miles) for something I'm missing for dinner. Whatever I buy there is going to be used that day or the next, so I don't give it a chance to go bad.

                    We still go there on some weekends to get things for my boyfriend's lunches, because he can't think far enough ahead to give me a list on days when I'm near the other stores.

                    Now that I've typed all of this out, I scrolled down to see sunshine842's post. I agree with everything there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Kontxesi

                      thanks for the backup -- there's always that thought that I'm the only one who was seeing that!

                      We're not in the same region of the US, either, so it's not likely a coincidence.

                    2. I don't see any good reason to do any shopping there, least of all their groceries. But we have a pretty good selection of grocery stores in town, including international (Indian, Korean, etc.) and Asian grocers.

                      I just can't support that store.

                      1. our Walmart's are SuperCenters so they have the whole grocery section.

                        I do find myself there for a select few items. butter-flour-sugar-eggs-milk-coffee cream-heavy cream, maybe some vegs like avo's and a navel orange or 2 plus sometimes a pineapple

                        1. Given your location and the grocery shopping optons in the region, probably not. In my region, where the population of the entire county is under 140,000, Walmart has much better quality produce at better prices than the two major chain supermarkets, and for certain items better quality than Fresh Market.

                          Walmart's scallions, cilantro, chiles, peppers, potatoes, onions, apples, bananas, cherry tomatoes, broccoli (on the right day) are always fresher and better quality than my "regular" grocer. Other produce I might buy if it looks particularly good, fresh, or unusual. I don't buy salad greens there, I prefer the greens at Fresh Market. I never ever buy meat products at Walmart, but I will purchase cheese, milk, cream, half and half (significantly cheaper than the regular store). I don't like their eggs - whites too thin (old, maybe).

                          If Walmart sells a national branded product and I need it when I'm there, I'd rather pay less there. Soups, salad dressings, condiments, soft drinks, drink mixers, beers and some of the other items I regularly or solely purchase there. Some of the Great Value products are indeed a great value. The Great Value brand of Spicy Southwest mustard is unique and the spouse loves it so we buy it. The Great Value brand of beef jerky is quite good, lasts longer than national brands, and costs significantly less.

                          Sometimes it comes down to what I need when I'm there. It is out of the way for me, so I try to wait until I've built up a list of "walmart" items; I go there once for every 5 to 10 trips to the regular grocery store.

                          1. I think mostly everything has been said, but that's never stopped me from throwing in my two cents anyway. I try not to base my shopping on politics, only on whether I can get what i want/need at a decent price, so i do consider Wal-Mart if I happen to be in the area of one. They often have certain things I can't get elsewhere or the same or similar items at a significantly better price.

                            So for me the answer is yeah, sure, but if other factors are more important to you, then you'll have a different answer.

                            1. I can only speak to my local Walmart but I can't imagine buying perishables there. Granted this is not a full service one so no produce or meat but they sell milk, dairy, frozen foods and dry goods. I opened the milk fridge once and almost passed out from the smell. I said something to manager and still at least 6 months later you can see the case is unsanitary. This particular store is always dusty/dirty, cluttered and unorganized. I stopped in recently because I heard they had great prices on baking supplies and every bag of flour was compromised. yuck

                              That said as other mentioned its a great place to get paper towels, cleaning supplies and the like

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: foodieX2

                                foodiex2 - shoot Bentonville an e-mail. I did a stint there once and all the case temps are supposedly monitored from there (as are the security cams and the stocker efficiency times etc. etc. etc.

                                that said, Wal-Mart is not the devil, but I'm lucky to have a small local grocery chain (3-4 stores) that's closer and whose perishable wares are more local and as good or better and cheaper.

                              2. I do most of my shopping there (except for a monthly Costco and TJ's run). I've never had a problem w/ their produce going bad, and I've been happy w/ the quality of the cheeses at the deli and the dairy products. I'm a single parent on a tight budget, and I don't have the time to go to different stores to get the best deals, so I "shop" the sale ads of all my local grocery stores, then buy everything I need at Walmart utilizing their price match policy.

                                1. We have found that Walmart is the only place to find a variety of sugar free, low/no sodium, low fat products. They have chips, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, crackers, cookies, broths, and much more.

                                  With my heart /diabetic diet it nice to have food choices that aren't so limited.

                                  Produce no, meat no agreed.

                                  We are San Leandro, CA across the Bay from San Francisco.

                                  1. So my take on this is, if I have other grocery shopping options, skip Walmart. I've got plenty of good options -- Wegmans, Whole Foods and Fresh Market are all within about 10 miles; SuperFresh and Giant are about 3 miles. There's no compelling reason for me to do grocery shopping at Walmart.

                                    26 Replies
                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      it has its purpose, but yeah -- not for fresh foods.

                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                        Wow, I wish I had your options. We have Wegmans and Tops. Other than that we have Walmart and BJs. And all 4 are 30 miles away.
                                        We go into Walmart maybe once a year, and Wegmans weekly.
                                        We do have access to local Amish meat and veggies tho ,closer but seasonal.

                                        But that said, I skip Walmart and I have less choice than you!

                                        1. re: Raffles

                                          oh, yay for Amish edibles, even if it's only part of the year!

                                          We have an Amish producer near here -- their butter and cold cuts ROCK.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            sunshine, our Amish friends always provide me with their butter from the freezer when we're there. it is honestly the best butter BY FAR than any other butter I've ever had. I want to churn some myself straight away out of the cow
                                            :)

                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                              I buy the salted roll butter for "table butter" -- topping veggies, bread, toast, etc. (my only complaint is that it laughs at the idea of being put into a butter dish....)

                                              I still use "regular" unsalted butter for cooking when I don't want the salt or the flavor will be masked by other ingredients anyway.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                I love salted butter, but then I love salt and I love butter

                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  :)

                                                  What's not to love?

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    Same here -- and that's two of the food groups, salt and fat.

                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                      "and that's two of the food groups, salt and fat." um duhhhhhhhhh :)))))

                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                I live less than 30 minutes from Lancaster County, PA, which has a sizable Amish population, so we get plenty of wonderful Amish produce in season at the local farmers markets. And we can get Amish meats and poultry all year round.

                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                  that would put you at the mother lode, then! :)

                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                    Are there many young Amish down there, they all moved up here in the late 1970- 80s...Finger Lakes...
                                                    I heard they were selling out for big bucks for McMansions to be built and moving North and West for cheaper farmland and bigger families...

                                                    1. re: Raffles

                                                      I wasn't aware of that. But I do recall hearing/reading that there's something special about the soil in the Lancaster area that enhances farming productivity (volcanic something-or-other?). So maybe cheaper farmland doesn't translate to more profitability. It is clear, though, that more and more of the beautiful farmland in Lancaster County is being gobbled up by developers. And compared to the prices in the Philly 'burbs, housing out there is very affordable.

                                                    2. re: CindyJ

                                                      oh Cindy, I'm wondering if you're speaking of Cochranville.
                                                      that's where our friends live, the Amish family mentioned, where I get my raw honey and fabbo butter.

                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                        I haven't ever shopped in Cochranville -- is that up around Rt. 41? Where, exactly, do you shop? For year-round meats and poultry I was referring to the Booth's Corner Farmers Market. And for seasonal produce, I'm a big fan of the Kennett Square Farmers Market.

                                                        By the way, I don't know exactly where you're located, but for the freshest milk, cream, REAL buttermilk, etc., you might want to check out the Baily Farm in Pocopson Township. http://www.bailysdairy.com The cows graze out front, they process the milk right there, and they sell their products from a tiny shop on the property. Their milk is also sold in nearby convenience stores, but a trip to the farm is unique in today's mass-market culture. And if you've got kids (or for the kid in you), I just read in the local paper that they're having a "spring celebration from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday, April 19. We will have all of our newest spring babies out for the first time ... we will have chicks, ducklings, bunnies, lambs, kids (goats) and calves out for pictures with the kids."

                                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                                          we live in LA. found Cochranville on a vaca.
                                                          found new friends that way too. no idea what it's by. we only shop there with intent if sending home next day air via FEDEXPensive
                                                          we buy from them off their farm.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            You may be the first person to ever say they found Cochranville on a vacation. :)

                                                  2. re: Raffles

                                                    yah Raffles but on the flip side you get to buy from Amish farmers, shoooooooooooot, I have to drive to Cochranville PA to enjoy those benefits............lucky you.......I'm envious in a good way.....my opinion > far better than an Walmart

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      The Amish, in our case "black bumper", and "horse and buggy" Mennonites are not perfect in their offerings. One must be aware that they do go to a local commercial weekly veggie auction and buy in huge quantities and resell. I have seen pallets of Florida tomatoes,along with strawberries, in their bigger operations, not passed off as local , but rather not labeled at all.

                                                      The small honor system farm stands offer a more local choice but are VERY seasonal depending on what the "girls" have picked that morning. We have about 1/2 dozen choices and can spend a couple of hours hitting them all.

                                                      1. re: Raffles

                                                        I know there are Mennonites in this Amish community also as our friends have mentioned that. next time we're there we're gonna ask how many acres they have on their farm.
                                                        it's gigundo :)

                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          The farms are huge also, but they are dairy farms with veggies, eggs, fruit, and some meat ,as a sideline ,that the girls and women run, sort of like the old "egg money" from Lil House on the Prarie....

                                                          1. re: Raffles

                                                            miss that show from back in the day Raffles and really miss ML as I tape his HTH series now.

                                                          2. re: iL Divo

                                                            IL Divo: mmm no no no, bad form. - one can ask what and how a farmer raises something, but to ask for an acre count? that's like asking a stranger how many $$$ are in their savings account.

                                                            if you're truly curious, get their name and later look it up on the property tax rolls - it'll be there, but be aware it's probably been deeded into multiple parcels (not always contiguous) under similar names. but seriously you also don't ask a rancher how many head of cattle they run.

                                                          3. re: Raffles

                                                            They also use pesticides and aren't necessarily "humane" with livestock. We have tons of Amish at the farmers market and I generally don't buy from them.

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              Our Mennonite farmers are more likely to use pesticides than our big farm growers. I can't think of a single thing that comes from them that's spray-free, organic, or organic sprays....

                                                            2. re: Raffles

                                                              Indeed. There have been several instances where there's no way what was showing up at our auction was actually local. Serious side-eye.

                                                      2. I have a large plaza that shares a huge Kroger grocery as well as a newly expanded WalMart with groceries. I;m talking like 100 yards apart between the two.

                                                        I seldom go into Walmart except for basics like light bulbs, auto supplies and the like.

                                                        Walmart offers far less produce selections than the adjacent Kroger and prices on the dry goods and frozen items are usually within a few cents of the other store's items as well. Packaged meat is the same as Kroger except there is very little butcher cut style meat at this Walmart.

                                                        All in all not somewhere I definately would not call a grocery shopping destination.

                                                        Meijer pulls it off .
                                                        Target knows where to draw the line.
                                                        Walmart is trying to be jack of all trades but master of none. Especailly groceries, meat and produce.

                                                        YMMV.
                                                        :-)

                                                        1. As long as I can afford to shop elsewhere (and probably even after), I won't shop at Walmart. They are evil and their impact on local economies is evil (I live near a big city now, but I come from rural Iowa and saw firsthand the impact on small businesses in our county when Walmart moved in).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: marcyfitz

                                                            marcy - but now the damage is (sadly) done. those stores aren't likely to come back soon. I never shopped there until there simply wasn't much choice left.

                                                          2. I don't shop for grocery or much else at walmart. I was pleased to see my local walmart does carry a lot of local vegetables. like pototes carrots etc. I think they probably do more because these are heavy things to ship and it saves them money. I think people like to buy brands they recognize too. If they started bringing in odd US brands from farms names we don't see people are hesitant. Which is why I'm sure Dole and Green Giant buy from smaller farmers and put there name stamp in it.

                                                            I like to think its because they want to support local famers. I know just knowing something is from somewhere in a province I live I would buy from walmart if I had to.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: daislander

                                                              They are definitely trying to carry local items where they can. Like I mentioned, I generally stay out of the produce section, but I did notice they started carrying locally-grown herbs a while back. They also have local craft brews displayed prominently when you first walk in on the grocery side. (I did not, however, see local apples this fall, even though that store is 30 miles away from a HUGE orchard operation.)

                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                In our town the local orchard either sells all of their apple at their own place or has long, long standing contracts with a handful of stores. I wonder how even an operation like Walmart does getting into such a setup. It might be difficult as a newcomer, even the biggest newcomer.

                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                  The particular orchard I'm thinking of is selling as far away as China, so I doubt it's that kind of problem. Heck, they might be supplying Wal-Mart already, for all I know. But our store doesn't have them identified as local, that I've seen.

                                                            2. I read this article a few hours ago, and thought it might be of interest here in this thread:

                                                              http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tip...

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Cheez62

                                                                Interesting. So if grocery shopping choices were solely price-driven, Walmart would come out ahead. But there's so much more than price involved. At least, for me there is.

                                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                                  I agree with you, I'm not real fond of Walmart grocery shopping either. I just thought the article was pertinent to this discussion.

                                                              2. I used to in the past, but don't much go there anymore. I got tired of 4 out of 30 registers open at busy times!

                                                                I have had okay experiences with pre-packaged shelf items. But in the past, I have seen sausage and lunchmeat in the frig case that was long expired and once bought passed sell by date on cheese. When I mentioned to the register operator about the expired meats, she shrugged her shoulders and said "yea, that happens all the time". Really? I get an occasional product, but this happened on every trip I made there.

                                                                1. I refuse to give walmart any business. Ever.
                                                                  Even though this article is two years old it touches on just a few of the reasons why it is not a company i want to support.
                                                                  http://www.workplacefairness.org/repo...