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(The Fiscal Times)   The worst supermarkets in the country, slideshowing on the left. Your horror stories, scrolling down on the right   (thefiscaltimes.com) divider line 211
    More: Misc, worst supermarkets, American food  
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6522 clicks; posted to Business » on 17 Feb 2013 at 6:30 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-17 03:01:07 PM
Murder Kroger

Or any Piggly Wiggly
 
2013-02-17 03:08:14 PM
Any grocery store with aisles that go the wrong way.  I cannot shop like that.
 
2013-02-17 03:21:29 PM
pics3.city-data.com

We have these in Houston. The prices are low, but I shouldn't have to fight packs of stray dogs in the meat aisle.
 
2013-02-17 03:29:52 PM
Whoever made that list has never been in a Grocery Outlet

/cleanliness means no live rodents visible
//might find a dead one behind that box of cornflakes, though
///or in it
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2013-02-17 03:42:50 PM
I once reached up on the top shelf and picked up a package of Berger's cookies at the Shop-n-Save in Millersville MD.  As I walked around pushing the cart the cookies looked funny.  I initially thought it was the way the lights were hitting the package.  Then I took a good look and the entire package was filled with white mold.  The expiration date was in the prior year.

I took the package to the customer service desk and the guy just took the package from my hand looked at it and threw it in the trash.  He didn't say sorry or anything else.  Weird.
 
2013-02-17 03:48:04 PM
Deslided.

Of those 12, I've been to two of them in the past decade.  The Ralphs stores I used to go to were fine.  Nothing exceptional, but they were clean and had about the same prices as Albertsons or any of the other grocery chains.

Tops on the other hand deserves to be on this list.  I have no idea how they survive in the same markets as Wegmans.
 
2013-02-17 03:57:57 PM
Ralphs?

The Dude does not abide.
 
2013-02-17 04:10:56 PM
Fiesta demands a recount
 
2013-02-17 04:13:44 PM
Deslided On The Right. Fark slideshows.
 
2013-02-17 04:22:32 PM
Ralphs? WTF?? There are 4 within a few miles of my humble abode, and they are pretty decent (the Encino location is particularly awesome). Much better than Vons and Albertsons.

Jons and Superior are quite sucky, though.
 
2013-02-17 04:26:55 PM

davidphogan: Deslided.


*tiny fist shake*

Hard to believe A&P is on the list. The ones near the corporate office (in NJ) were some of the cleanest stores ever. Pathmark however, earns their rank, even after the buyout.
 
2013-02-17 04:27:36 PM
No Woodman's? List fails, or author has never been to Madison, WI.

Don't care, though, because I live a couple miles from a Wegman's, the greatest grocery store in the world.
 
2013-02-17 04:29:57 PM
April 2012

timely find, subby
 
2013-02-17 04:31:40 PM
Survey's idea of "the country" seems kind of tilted.  One nationwide chain and one in SoCal, and all the rest east of the Mississippi, and it's not because there aren't bad grocery stores in the west.  Seriously, a Wisconsin-only chain makes #9 on the list despite being "not terrible?"

/bad sample size is bad
 
2013-02-17 04:34:18 PM
Shaw's in Connecticut. Back in the day I'd stop by the one in New London to pick up dinner ingredients for an old girlfriend of mine, and invariably I'd have to explain to the cashier that the large purple thing I was purchasing was an eggplant. After about the third time I got a blank stare when buying an eggplant, I took to calling it an aubergine just to be a pain in the ass.

The first good that came of being dumped by that girl was that I never had to set foot in that store ever again.
 
2013-02-17 04:39:18 PM
Around here
1. stop&shops are cleanest and best variety, but expensive
2. Shoprites are not as clean, good variety but not as much of what I get, less expensive
3. A&P has 1 smaller store, produce sucks but is a mile away for oops I forgot something
4. Pathmark is horrible haven't been in there forever

HMart is good for asian stuff but is a bit of a trip only go there for special stuff
 
2013-02-17 04:42:43 PM
Food Lion and Weis have had those reputations for a very long time. Weis tried to move up a bit and built a handful of new stores, but the one in Carlisle, PA hasn't changed at all since the early '80s and it shows. Food Lion suffered from bad management (and a expired meat scandal 20 years ago) and apparently still does. Truth be told, I'm surprised they're still open. Giant and Wegman's are always packed.

As far as Wal-Mart goes, they suffer from being Wal-Mart. If you're OK with that they're just fine, otherwise the down votes are typical anti-Wal-Mart votes. Seriously, they don't sell anything objectionable, they're always stocked, and they're always packed, apparently with people who hate them but can't resist the urge to buy there.
 
2013-02-17 05:05:03 PM
A newly-constructed Weis store must have a team of Grease Professionals come in and filthy up the place. You can be the first customer through the door and it looks like it's been open since the McKinley Administration.
 
2013-02-17 05:08:55 PM
It all depends on the age of the store, the store manager, and the amount of investment coming in from corporate. I don't think there are any grocery stores that are horrible across the board just as there are none that are all great.

/ Except maybe Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, of course.
//People buy food at Walmart ?!
 
2013-02-17 05:12:32 PM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: Food Lion and Weis have had those reputations for a very long time. Weis tried to move up a bit and built a handful of new stores, but the one in Carlisle, PA hasn't changed at all since the early '80s and it shows. Food Lion suffered from bad management (and a expired meat scandal 20 years ago) and apparently still does. Truth be told, I'm surprised they're still open. Giant and Wegman's are always packed.

As far as Wal-Mart goes, they suffer from being Wal-Mart. If you're OK with that they're just fine, otherwise the down votes are typical anti-Wal-Mart votes. Seriously, they don't sell anything objectionable, they're always stocked, and they're always packed, apparently with people who hate them but can't resist the urge to buy there.


I find Walmart to be very inconsistent.  They're either really great, really clean and well-lit and well-staffed, or they're hellholes.  And this variance in quality is much greater in Walmart than it is in any other chain: I've never been to a Target that wasn't at least OK,for example.
 
2013-02-17 05:15:17 PM
Everyone needs a Wegman's -- if for no other reason than it sets off an arms race among all local supermarkets and the rising tide lifts all boats out of the muck.
 
2013-02-17 05:18:58 PM
I've realized that we're a bit weird on Long Island with supermarket chains. I don't think I've ever seen a King Kullen or a Waldbaum's anywhere else. Plus we have the specialty Italian supermarkets like Uncle Giuseppe's and Iavarone. We do have Stop & Shop, Pathmark, and Trader Joe's though. And a Whole Foods somewhere.

The one I wish would come here is Wegmans. They've made their way down from Upstate New York to Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, but not here for some reason. There's one near my girlfriend in Jersey and the place is a freaking wonderland.
 
2013-02-17 05:22:12 PM

Shaggy_C: It all depends on the age of the store, the store manager, and the amount of investment coming in from corporate. I don't think there are any grocery stores that are horrible across the board just as there are none that are all great.

/ Except maybe Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, of course.
//People buy food at Walmart ?!


There's a local chain called New Seasons around here that you can pretty much count on to be awesome, but they're a little more expensive than Fred Meyers or Safeway so it might just be a case of you get what you pay for.
 
2013-02-17 05:23:47 PM
The only places listed that I've been to are Ralph's and Walmart. Ralph's seemed fine to me and Walmart isn't heinous, although the produce tends to be past it's prime.

The Safeway in my town, however, is a pit. Small, overcrowded and not particularly clean. Aisles so narrow that two shopping carts can't pass each other. I don't know anyone who likes going there, but there are few other choices. I don't think you can extrapolate to all Safeway locations, though, as I've also been to some nice ones.

No matter the chain, I think it comes down to the age of the store and how diligent the staff and management are about keeping it up. Also, stores in upscale neighborhoods tend to be nicer than those in working class areas.
 
2013-02-17 05:39:54 PM

Gulper Eel: Shaw's in Connecticut. Back in the day I'd stop by the one in New London to pick up dinner ingredients for an old girlfriend of mine, and invariably I'd have to explain to the cashier that the large purple thing I was purchasing was an eggplant. After about the third time I got a blank stare when buying an eggplant, I took to calling it an aubergine just to be a pain in the ass.

The first good that came of being dumped by that girl was that I never had to set foot in that store ever again.


And you didn't have to eat eggplant constantly, either, so there's that.

It also seems like store experiences aren't really chain-wide, so much as store specific.  Around here, A&P is unpleasant because it's usually the most grossly overpriced store.  Stop & Shop is too large and never has enough registers open, despite being more like a grocery mall than a store. And half the customers seem like they're auditioning for a role in a zombie movie, shambling around, looking at the 7000 varieties of bread.  But they're not disgusting or anything.

The only really bad thing I can think of in recent times was one of the Grade A stores (Shop Rite, but under a different name) definitely did not clean out after losing power for 5 days in the hurricane.  They took some things off the shelves, but not nearly enough.  A lot of the frozen stuff was clearly defrosted and re-frozen -- the packages had that soggy look to them.  We actually still haven't bought perishables there because it seems like if they let something that significant go, other things are probably up to par.
 
2013-02-17 05:42:00 PM
Ralph's?  Having spent many years in LA, I've never had a problem with them.

The worst I've seen was when I spent a few years in a central Oregon hick town.  There was a local that would repackage meat with a new date when it expired.  They had a pack of shrimp that had turned an opalescent shade of blue/green that sat in the refrigerator for over two months.  Each time I went in, it would have a new expiration date.

I wasn't the only one who noticed, either.  It was a discussion topic among friends and co-workers.
 
2013-02-17 05:42:52 PM

Mitt Romneys Tax Return: No matter the chain, I think it comes down to the age of the store and how diligent the staff and management are about keeping it up. Also, stores in upscale neighborhoods tend to be nicer than those in working class areas.


Not around here - some of the worst grocery stores I can think of are in Greenwich, but the nicer, cleaner ones are in Stamford.  Then again, maybe the people in Greenwich keep their nice stores a secret so rabble such as myself don't go in. I'm okay with that, though.  They have the worst Stop & Shops I have ever been in over there, though.
 
2013-02-17 05:56:54 PM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Everyone needs a Wegman's -- if for no other reason than it sets off an arms race among all local supermarkets and the rising tide lifts all boats out of the muck.


I've heard the same thing about Publix.

Unfortunately, the DC/MD/VA area is mostly Safeway and Giant. I also have a Whole Foods nearby and a couple of Targets. WHEN THE HELL IS THE COSTCO IN WHEATON GOING TO OPEN?!

/I really get on a roll when talking about convenience stores
//Wawa could have owned this region, but they let 7-11 just waltz in and take it
 
2013-02-17 06:00:10 PM

serpent_sky: Not around here - some of the worst grocery stores I can think of are in Greenwich, but the nicer, cleaner ones are in Stamford. Then again, maybe the people in Greenwich keep their nice stores a secret so rabble such as myself don't go in. I'm okay with that, though. They have the worst Stop & Shops I have ever been in over there, though.


That's not the case on the left coast. Wealthier people have more opportunity to vote with their dollars, and there are upscale grocery chains that cater to their needs. The upscale stores are more expensive, to be sure, but even the ordinary chains have to step up their game to compete.
 
2013-02-17 06:08:17 PM

Dallymo: Any grocery store with aisles that go the wrong way.  I cannot shop like that.


You would absolutely hate Meijer's in Davison, MI.  A superstore with the departments arranged in a crazy scattered pattern.  The dairy is in the middle of the clothing departments.  Some expensive experiment, that I hope they lose.

The_Sponge: Ralphs?

The Dude does not abide.


I would've thought they would've group Ralph's along with Kroger, since it is Kroger.  Just like for a couple of years Kessel's in MI was Kroger before they started changing the signs.  Sometimes Kroger keeps the name of their kill, sometimes they don't.

As usual walmart sucks.  They may have better prices on some things, but can be really high on others.  Sometimes they carry something others don't but typically they won't have it.  One time I walked through, the shelves were barely stocked and I went back the next day and nothing changed.  Also, walmart don't have any meat cutters, all their meats are processed off site days prior.  That doesn't give them any fresh points with me.  I found that out from my parents who work for them.

I don't care for Spartan Foods and walmart sucks, so I'll stick with Kroger.  Atleast their fuel point system helps me keep my gas cost down.  The rest of the grocery chains around here either burned, bought out or closed down.
 
2013-02-17 06:23:07 PM
i27.photobucket.com">


/keep the damn quarter
 
2013-02-17 06:28:35 PM
I'm surprised to see Ralph's on that list; in the Santa Barbara area at least, they seem to be treated as a level above Vons or Albertson's (but still below Whole Foods or Gelson's).

/For those in the Chicago area, Vons = Dominick's and Albertson's = Jewel.
 
2013-02-17 06:29:17 PM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Whoever made that list has never been in a Grocery Outlet

/cleanliness means no live rodents visible
//might find a dead one behind that box of cornflakes, though
///or in it


I haven't had any problems with cleanliness at the two Grocery Outlets in Eugene & Springfield. Maybe it boils down to management making sure the stores are kept clean, but I've never seen any insects nor rodents, either dead or alive in either store.
 
2013-02-17 06:32:43 PM

davidphogan: There's a local chain called New Seasons around here that you can pretty much count on to be awesome, but they're a little more expensive than Fred Meyers or Safeway so it might just be a case of you get what you pay for.


New Seasons has delicious prepared food items--salads, samosas, wraps....mmmmm.  There's one a couple of miles from work but it's not close enough to home for me to shop there regularly.  My closest grocery is Haggen, which I much prefer over next-closest Dead Fred's.  Great people, good prices if you are a careful shopper.  Albertson's is nearby as well but is not an option, ever--even when it was first built it looked as old and run down as every Albertson's I've ever been in.  The new Safeway is very nice, but the farthest of the four.  I give it kudos for replacing the Thriftway that had its aisles going the wrong direction.

lack of warmth: You would absolutely hate Meijer's in Davison, MI.  A superstore with the departments arranged in a crazy scattered pattern.  The dairy is in the middle of the clothing departments.  Some expensive experiment, that I hope they lose.


I've shopped at the Meijer's in North Muskegon; they're similar to our Fred Meyer stores here (they're now owned by Kroger).  I don't remember if that one had departmental schizophrenia, although I do know there was an overabundance of NASCAR merchandise everywhere.
 
2013-02-17 06:33:37 PM
www.lebowskifest.com

Come on, even the Dude love's Ralph's.
 
2013-02-17 06:37:29 PM
Put me in the camp that never had a problem with Ralph's and I lived in multiple cities in CA so I've been to a lot of Ralph's.
 
2013-02-17 06:37:32 PM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: Food Lion and Weis have had those reputations for a very long time. Weis tried to move up a bit and built a handful of new stores, but the one in Carlisle, PA hasn't changed at all since the early '80s and it shows. Food Lion suffered from bad management (and a expired meat scandal 20 years ago) and apparently still does. Truth be told, I'm surprised they're still open. Giant and Wegman's are always packed.

As far as Wal-Mart goes, they suffer from being Wal-Mart. If you're OK with that they're just fine, otherwise the down votes are typical anti-Wal-Mart votes. Seriously, they don't sell anything objectionable, they're always stocked, and they're always packed, apparently with people who hate them but can't resist the urge to buy there.


I was also surprised to learn Food Lion still exists.

They expanded into Texas when I was a kid and were god awful. When even a 9 year old is sketched out, your store is gross. After the meat scandal they disappeared from the state entirely.
 
2013-02-17 06:43:19 PM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Whoever made that list has never been in a Grocery Outlet

/cleanliness means no live rodents visible
//might find a dead one behind that box of cornflakes, though
///or in it


there was one close to where I used to work.
We shortened it's name and just called it the "Gross Out".
 
2013-02-17 06:48:01 PM

Prank Call of Cthulhu: No Woodman's? List fails, or author has never been to Madison, WI.

Don't care, though, because I live a couple miles from a Wegman's, the greatest grocery store in the world.


I have to disagree, we recently got a Woodmans here in North Aurora (Chicago suburbs) and it's awesome.  Big selection, lots of speciality stuff that I don't typically see in Jewel or Dominic's, and they have an awesome liquor store.
 
2013-02-17 06:49:19 PM
List fails without IGA. Everyone I've ever been to has been in a town that has seen better days, or has been bypassed by a new road (and the eventual SuperCenter that follows). I've been to IGAs with meat refrigerators at 64 degrees, frozen food that was literally freezer burned and required an ice pick just to get them off the shelves, and popcorn that had product tie-ins to movies that left the theaters 2 years ago.
 
2013-02-17 06:53:56 PM
Kroger* for perishables, Wal Mart for everything else, sometimes farmer's market for produce.

/Why no Safeway on the list?
//They are always priced 10-20% over the competition
///* = "King Soopers" in these parts
 
2013-02-17 06:54:28 PM
Dallymo:
I've shopped at the Meijer's in North Muskegon; they're similar to our Fred Meyer stores here (they're now owned by Kroger).  I don't remember if that one had departmental schizophrenia, although I do know there was an overabundance of NASCAR merchandise everywhere.

It's only that Davison location that is weird, the rest of the Meijer's are better than shopping at walmart.  I think they wanted to try something new, when they built that store.  VG's used to be a better chain until they got bought out by Spartan Foods.  It took some getting used to after Kessel's was bought out, was it a big change when Fred Meyer sold to Kroger?
 
2013-02-17 06:56:37 PM
I'm guessing not enough people shop at Save-A-Lot to register on this list?
 
2013-02-17 07:00:41 PM
You are welcome for WinCo Foods not making the list
 
2013-02-17 07:03:52 PM

Bathia_Mapes: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Whoever made that list has never been in a Grocery Outlet

/cleanliness means no live rodents visible
//might find a dead one behind that box of cornflakes, though
///or in it

I haven't had any problems with cleanliness at the two Grocery Outlets in Eugene & Springfield. Maybe it boils down to management making sure the stores are kept clean, but I've never seen any insects nor rodents, either dead or alive in either store.


Yeah... they're not all as bad as the one in Placerville, I'm sure

/Canned Food Outlets are pretty scary, too
 
2013-02-17 07:04:12 PM

serpent_sky: Not around here - some of the worst grocery stores I can think of are in Greenwich, but the nicer, cleaner ones are in Stamford. Then again, maybe the people in Greenwich keep their nice stores a secret so rabble such as myself don't go in. I'm okay with that, though. They have the worst Stop & Shops I have ever been in over there, though.


And Stamford has a Fairway as well.
 
2013-02-17 07:06:27 PM
only ever been to one on the list and that's Wal-mart and other than the fresh meats being no better than acceptable in my opinin i got no problem with it, then again my local super center might be above average for them.
 
2013-02-17 07:07:05 PM

lack of warmth: was it a big change when Fred Meyer sold to Kroger?


The only two changes I've noticed at my local Freddie's are that there are Kroger branded products on the shelves and that grocery pricing is more competitive. I imagine the differences are more substantial for Fred Meyer employees.
 
2013-02-17 07:09:38 PM
Whole foods is the worst based on price alone. The selection is the same as the other supermarkets in town. Even the brand names are mostly the same. There is no noticeable difference in quality, cleanliness or location. And yet the place is somehow always packed. I'll continue to not pay 30% more for the same food, thanks.
 
2013-02-17 07:10:09 PM

AliceBToklasLives: Kroger* for perishables, Wal Mart for everything else, sometimes farmer's market for produce.

/Why no Safeway on the list?
//They are always priced 10-20% over the competition
///* = "King Soopers" in these parts


I think Safeway is not on the list is because in most areas they have good customer service. Although sometimes it can be annoying but every Safeway I have been in so far the employees greet customers and the appearance is not bad even in a not so nice neighborhood (At least the ones in my area are.)

The worst supermarket was not a chain store but a locally ethnic that deals in mostly Asian food products.  The place smelled like kitty litter and was packed with so many items it had to be hard to keep clean.  I did not stay long.
 
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