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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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6523 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 09:50:00 PM
If you find yourself shopping at Winn-Dixie regularly, something in your life went way wrong.
 
2013-02-17 09:50:44 PM

KrispyKritter: Perhaps some of you folks should move out of shiathole neighborhoods to somewhere decent. Supermarkets in the Action Park area of No.NJ are just as clean, well lit and nicely stocked as can be.


sort of this.

/I didn't know what a truly shiatty supermarket was until I moved out of Minnesota to SoCal
//the shiatty food sold at supermarkets is only balanced by cheap alcohol you can buy in the grocery store
 
2013-02-17 10:08:55 PM
I've only been to two on the list:  Walmart (I hate it, but it seems to be the place I'll go to first if I can't think of any other place to get an item or for my eyeglass cleaner) and Tops in Cooperstown, but I didn't really look around it too much to check anything out.  I just went to find their bathrooms since I needed to go after touring Brewery Ommegang.

LemSkroob: We need a wegmans in my area, if for no other reason than the 'make your own 6-pack' section.

We could also use a Hannaford, but for now, its Trader Joes. I refuse Whole Foods.


I clicked your profile to see if you had your location, and now I'm wondering where in New York you could be where there is neither a Wegmans not a Hannaford but a Trader Joes and Whole Foods.  If you're in an area where Price Chopper has a presence (full disclosure:   I do work for them, but I'm not speaking for them as there are plenty of things they do or don't do that drive me nuts), at lease some locations now have a "make your own 6-pack" section.

Also, I don't care what chain it is, it depends on the employees and management a lot at particular locations.  It's even possible for you to get good customer service from one employee and then horrible customer service from another employee in the same store (i.e. not another location of the same chain).
 
2013-02-17 10:13:58 PM
In my last post the word "lease" should be "least."

/ Should have previewed.
 
2013-02-17 10:14:12 PM

Gough: Smeggy Smurf: You are welcome for WinCo Foods not making the list

But when are you going to fix my local store, hmmm?


You mean the replacement store project that was shelved about 2 years ago?  It sucks but the new VP just doesn't care about your town.  At least we fixed the roof and made the deli suck just a little bit less.

The good news is there is a lot of projects coming down the pipeline.  One of them might be a new store up there.  They don't tell us much until a week or two before the project lands in our lap.  Right now there next round of projects is a good 6-8 weeks off at the earliest.
 
2013-02-17 10:14:50 PM
How can people be dissatisfied with choice? The point of a supermarket is to give you a large range of choices. I go to supermarkets and hate it because there are so many choices of the exact same thing. Also, poor food quality? Umm...what? It's all the same food quality. Unless you are cleaning the floors with your steak cuts or letting your produce sit around for weeks, there is little difference in food quality. I don't understand this list.
 
2013-02-17 10:17:49 PM
I have thankfully forgotten the name of this one little local grocery/whatever store
I crept into years ago out of sheer curiousity.

But dear gods after exploring around in there for 15 minutes and then Ging theFO, I wanted
to firebomb the place.

Ugh.
 
2013-02-17 10:19:49 PM

Gulper Eel: Catsaregreen: 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.

I like having IGAs around. It confirms that I am in fact in the Goldilocks zone between the sticks and McWalTargStripmallia.

IGAs tend to be wildly uneven from town to town, and once a chain shows up nearby they're farked no matter how good they are, because they can't compete on price.

Maronna's in Millbrook, NY is a good IGA.


I was favorably impressed by the IGA in Remington, Indiana.  It's nice that towns of 1000-1500 have choices that are not driving 12 miles to Wal-Mart.
 
2013-02-17 10:20:12 PM
Sorry, this list fails without the Giggle. God I hated having to shop at Giant Eagle.
 
2013-02-17 10:21:42 PM
I saw a dog take a sh*t in Walmart.
 
2013-02-17 10:30:12 PM

realmolo: Here in Iowa, the dominant grocery store chain, by far, is "Hy Vee".

It's great. Always clean, great selection, great meat, great produce, nice stores, friendly employees. I'm always weirded out to hear about nasty grocery stores, because they don't really exist in Iowa. They can't, because they have to compete with Hy Vee stores. In fact, there really AREN'T any other grocery stores chains in Iowa anymore. Between Hy Vee at the "high end", and Wal-Mart for everything else, there simply wasn't room for anybody else.


They're pretty big in Omaha too.  They are expanding too much however and they are beginning to compete with themselves.

BTW, don't believe any of that "employee owned" nonsense.  The part time employees have no benefits, they don't even get vacation time or paid sick days.  Full time hours and benefits are reserved for managers and employees who managed to get them 10 years earlier.
 
2013-02-17 10:44:24 PM

davidphogan: New Seasons


Dallymo: New Seasons


CreativeFarkHandle: New Seasons


Harry_Seldon: New Seasons


I just wished that they still delivered groceries.  You know how convenient it was to order groceries when everyone in the house is sick?  Soup, medicine, tea, crackers, etc. paid for online and then dropped off at your door.

I could easily live solely on the food from their deli.  There's this Mediterranean(?) chicken stew that they make that I buy huge containers of whenever they have it available.
 
2013-02-17 10:44:48 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.


Even though they're run by the same parent company, the Bloom by me declined noticeably when it was rebranded to Food Lion. Within two or three months, the place went completely to shiat. The Bloom wasn't exactly a grocery store on a hill, but the Food Lion is a dump. Now, if I'm shopping for more than the odd "stop on the way home for milk," I'll schlep out the extra couple of miles to Harris Teeter, or farther afield to Wegmans.
 
2013-02-17 10:47:33 PM
Anybody else totally not surprised that the Mid-Atlantic / Lower Northeast region is home to the majority the worst supermarkets in the nation?

/CA native, living in DC Metro Area.
 
2013-02-17 10:52:14 PM
In Tulsa, we have Reasor's which isn't bad on pricing. The quality is pretty good for the price. Food Pyramid (which used to be Albertson's) has a nice international section. I usually go to WM for stuff like canned goods and cereal, but never produce or meat. Crest foods (In the OKC area) is pretty good too. I also like Uptown Grocery in Edmond.
 
2013-02-17 10:54:49 PM

47 is the new 42: LemSkroob: We need a wegmans in my area, if for no other reason than the 'make your own 6-pack' section.

We could also use a Hannaford, but for now, its Trader Joes. I refuse Whole Foods.

I clicked your profile to see if you had your location, and now I'm wondering where in New York you could be where there is neither a Wegmans not a Hannaford but a Trader Joes and Whole Foods.


Obviously I'm not him, but I'd imagine he's somewhere around NYC. We have TJ's and Whole Foods, I've never even heard of Hannaford, and the nearest Wegman's is in Jersey. Like I said before, we need Wegman's on Long Island. Though I'm sure King Kullen and Waldbaum's would fight it tooth and nail.
 
2013-02-17 10:56:54 PM

penthesilea: davidphogan: New Seasons

Dallymo: New Seasons

CreativeFarkHandle: New Seasons

Harry_Seldon: New Seasons

I just wished that they still delivered groceries.  You know how convenient it was to order groceries when everyone in the house is sick?  Soup, medicine, tea, crackers, etc. paid for online and then dropped off at your door.

I could easily live solely on the food from their deli.  There's this Mediterranean(?) chicken stew that they make that I buy huge containers of whenever they have it available.


I love their stir fry bowls, and their beef jerky. They have this great garlic pepper beef jerky at their butcher block.
 
2013-02-17 11:02:28 PM

ActionJoe: How can people be dissatisfied with choice? The point of a supermarket is to give you a large range of choices. I go to supermarkets and hate it because there are so many choices of the exact same thing. Also, poor food quality? Umm...what? It's all the same food quality. Unless you are cleaning the floors with your steak cuts or letting your produce sit around for weeks, there is little difference in food quality. I don't understand this list.


It's quite easy especially if a store stops selling what you like.

Last year the King Soopers near me remodeled - I guess you'd call it that. If I hadn't seen new fixtures being put in I wouldn't have noticed at all except they also moved a lot of things around and stopped carrying certain things. I imagine they must have added some too, but I'm not sure what.

But I like a certain brand of wheat crackers. They still carry that brand, but I liked the whole grain version. Now I have to choose between multi-grain and "light".

Geez, I just checked the cracker's website. They make 10 different kinds of crackers. King Soopers only carries 2 of them now.
 
2013-02-17 11:03:17 PM
It's always amusing for a news site to use regional information and apply it thinking it's the same everywhere in the country.

We used to have a Food Lion about an hour away and Walmart Supercenters dot the area along with chains not mentioned in the survey. The quality of a product and cleanliness is usually held at the same bar of the clientele to use the store and the surrounding area.
 
2013-02-17 11:11:16 PM
I miss Farmer Jack.
 
2013-02-17 11:11:29 PM

Mitt Romneys Tax Return: 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.


Kroger treats their people well at Fred's - employee discounts and benefits were slightly better after the buyout.
 
2013-02-17 11:16:03 PM
The Shoprite near me used to be nice but it's gone ghetto.  All the cashiers and stock clerks are now surly Job Corps grads instead of the reasonably pleasant variety of people I used to see working there.
 
2013-02-17 11:21:29 PM
In Seattle, it's Grocery Outlet "Bargain Market" -- but you'll know how disgusting the minute that  you walk in the door.
 
2013-02-17 11:21:58 PM
I buy most of my groceries at Wal Mart.

I disagree that they are THAT horrible, but I will say that nearly EVERY time, no matter how few items you buy, you will get at least one item that rings up differently than it is priced on the shelf.  Usually multiple items.  And, of course, it is NEVER in your favor.

That does not happen by accident.
 
2013-02-17 11:26:26 PM
That and... A&P is still a thing?
 
2013-02-18 12:00:21 AM

Happy Hours: Adolf Oliver Nipples: 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.

They're not "always packed". You should go shopping at 4 AM. I've been to one near me and didn't see a single other customer. As a bonus I've never had to wait for more than one customer in line ahead of me when I go then.

And that's the only store on the list I can remember ever going to. I don't hate them but I don't really trust them for perishable items. They're so aggressive about cost cutting the milk probably doesn't even last until the sell-by date.


4 AM? OK, you're just being pedantic. NOTHING is packed at 4 AM.
 
2013-02-18 12:17:46 AM

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 recently moved to Madison, and shop at Miller and Sons in Verona because the prices are fair and I don't have to deal with the dregs of humanity at Woodman's.

By the way, Brennan's has lower prices and better quality vegetables than anywhere in town. People say they're overpriced, but they aren't on most of their produce.
 
2013-02-18 12:31:15 AM
HMart is my new favorite grocery store. It's like 99Ranch market and Whole Foods had a baby. All the vegetables are pristine, even the "white people" veggies like crimini mushrooms or Aubergines. The sashimi by the pound is farking outstanding, and I can get a sixer of Korean beer for $3.99.

The kimchi section is like Disneyland.
 
2013-02-18 12:33:17 AM
My regional ratings (Twin Cities), from best to worst:
1. Cub Foods. I do love my Cub. Only gripe I do have is every store seems to be laid out differently.
2. Lund's & Target (tie). Lund's is pricy but pretty good service and selection; Target is generally well-priced, but limited in selection.
3. Whole Foods. Not really where I want to shop, but they do carry products I can't get elsewhere.
4. Kowalski's, Festival Foods, Jerry's Foods, & Byerly's (tie). Yes I know Lunds and Byerlys are nominally the same (my wife calls them Byerlunds collectively) but I don't care much for Byerly's. Hardly ever shop at the other three, but they all seem OK.
5. Walmart. You know what it is going into it, adjust your expectations accordingly.
6. Rainbow Foods. Definitely the bottom of the barrel. I will go there only to pillage them for loss-leaders like soda pop on a killer sale.

Not ranked: Aldi (never been); Albertsons (there's only one I know of); Super Valu (again, never been in the one I'm aware of). I also do not care for Trader Joe's, but I've never technically bought anything there, only walked in & around two locations on separate occasions, and wasn't impressed.
 
2013-02-18 12:33:44 AM
No love for HEB?

I LOVES the HEB!

Must not be any Texans in here...
 
2013-02-18 12:53:36 AM

beerbaron: If you are buying everything at one store you are paying too much.


time = money
gas = money
wear and tear on car = money

How much is it costing you to run around town?
 
2013-02-18 12:55:06 AM

Buzzerguy: 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 space is bad

 
2013-02-18 12:55:28 AM

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


Sounds like you used to live on the east side.The new one up 151 on Hwy N is actually pretty nice.
 
2013-02-18 01:11:18 AM
I can only speak for the local Wal-Mart, but they're a pretty surreal shopping experience. For most supermarkets, if one part of the store is looking kind of weedy, the whole thing is probably a little weedy; if the meat looks a bit past its sell-by, it's worth double-checking the expiration dates on the cereal boxes as well. Wal-Mart is the only supermarket I know that's inconsistent.

They have one of the best bakeries I've ever seen, but their produce section looks like the sort of thing you see in a French novel from the 19th century. Their dairy and deli are monumentally huge, but you can't buy a bottle of Gatorade - just Coke or Pepsi. Or Sam's Choice if you're feeling cheap. Their sell-by dates are all over the map.

I wouldn't buy meat from them with a gun to my head - I bought two pounds of Perdue chicken for them once, and by the time I got it out of the oven, the thighs were the size of McNuggets and they were sitting in a POOL of water. There was so much water injected into them that they were practically stewed. The post-cooked product weighed about twelve ounces.

The local Sav-A-Lot is a horror story all by itself. I don't think I've ever eaten anything I've bought there with any faith in my continued health. That place is an outbreak waiting to happen.
 
2013-02-18 01:36:11 AM

12349876: How much is it costing you to run around town?


All of these places are within a mile. Run around town? All three miles? Once a week?
 
2013-02-18 01:36:54 AM
As a Brooklynite I'd rather go to a C-Town Supermarket or Key Foods than to any of the Pathmarks of this borough, and that's really saying something.
 
2013-02-18 01:44:09 AM

Smeggy Smurf: Gough: Smeggy Smurf: You are welcome for WinCo Foods not making the list

But when are you going to fix my local store, hmmm?

You mean the replacement store project that was shelved about 2 years ago?  It sucks but the new VP just doesn't care about your town.  At least we fixed the roof and made the deli suck just a little bit less.

The good news is there is a lot of projects coming down the pipeline.  One of them might be a new store up there.  They don't tell us much until a week or two before the project lands in our lap.  Right now there next round of projects is a good 6-8 weeks off at the earliest.


Thanks, I didn't mean to come down too hard on you, and thanks for fixing the roof.  The deli is certainly better as well.
 
2013-02-18 02:14:52 AM
Last time I was at Ralph's  on sunset I saw a guy that looked like Zubin Mehta.
He bought some Aunt Jemima syrup, some Kaiser boiler foil and pair of blunt scissors.
I last saw him run out into the parking lot  behind a pair of customized trucks.


/No prices are lower prices than Ralph's
 
2013-02-18 02:16:04 AM
Man you're just screwed if you live in Delaware.  The two main chains there (at least when we lived there in the 80s) were Acme and Pathmark, both on the list.  What do you do, drive up into Pennsylvania for Wegman's?
 
2013-02-18 02:38:21 AM
Wal-Mart, Amherst, NH.  Entire meat case was at least 10 days out of code, lots of it was much farther than that.  Much of the meat was getting pretty moldy.

We found the nearest stock kid and we're like "Dude, what's with the month-old meat, you really should pull everything in that entire case", he just kind of dully looked back and went back to sweeping or whatever.

Scariest food shopping experience I've had.  I still get crawly skin thinking of that meat case.

/Worked at Shop 'n Save (now Hannafords) when I was a kid
//Glad they didn't make the list
 
2013-02-18 02:48:41 AM
We've got Giant, Weis, and Wegman's here.  Just got a Trader Joe's recently, but I don't see the appeal.

The Weis in Bellefonte was, until last year, ancient and scary.  The selections were OK, the food itself was OK, but the store was built in the 50s and was cramped.  The new one is much more spread out, has a better selection, and has beer.  The arrival of Wegman's has caused the others to step up their game.

I used to work across the street from the Giant Eagle on the South Side of Pittsburgh.  Going there for lunch was an adventure.  Never scary, but I'd always see somebody somewhat off.
 
2013-02-18 02:50:53 AM

FishyFred: 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


Probably too late to reply to this, but: They've opened Wegmans up north in Columbia and east in, I think, Landover. Dunno where on the Beltway you live, but if it's anywhere between Bethesda and PG County you can probably reach one of them without too much trouble. Harris Teeter is around and decent as well, though I only know of them inside DC proper and well outside in the MD suburbs (almost up towards Baltimore)
 
2013-02-18 03:15:04 AM

Adolf Oliver Nipples: Food Lion and Weis have had those reputations for a very long time.


And they will sue anyone or anything that dares to report about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/17/opinion/revisiting-the-food-lion-c as e.html
 
2013-02-18 04:46:07 AM
When in Rochester, NY visit the Wegmans in Pittsford on Monroe Ave. It's over the top! Two stories!!
 
2013-02-18 04:51:14 AM

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.


I go to the one on River Road occasionally... It's not unclean, but I wouldn't buy veggies/fruits there. I've seen bugs hovering over some of the produce before, probably because the produce is well past its prime.

I've been to better and worse grocery stores around here but nothing awful, certain not rodents or the like...
 
2013-02-18 04:59:03 AM
I buy my food from open air stalls, or off the back of a truck, directly from the farmers.

/not hipster
//third world
 
2013-02-18 06:06:31 AM
In Maine, my options were Walmart (which I avoid due to their policies) and Shaw's. I bought a bag of peaches and took them home, sliced one in half (surprising me, since it didn't stop at the pit) and found a bunch of beetles, still crawling, inside my firm, pretty peach. Took all of it back, they looked horrified (you couldn't see holes or indications on the outside), and gave me 300% of my money back. Nice of them, but I was still put off peaches for a decade.

/and always cuts up fruit.
 
2013-02-18 06:12:22 AM

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



Only caveat I need to mention regarding the Milwaukee area Woodmanses is that you really, really, really need to watch expiration dates. I don't see expired food for sale there but occasionally it's not exactly the freshest. I can't argue with the selection or the prices...


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


True dat.
 
2013-02-18 06:27:45 AM
Publix is pretty good. Stop and Shop is pretty good. Costco generally has really good food items. I assume Wegman's is good.

Kroger, Food Lion, Shoprite and Shaws are hit and miss.

Walmart is Walmart.

A&P has been shiat for about two decades.

Winn-Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, Trader Joes and many other should be avoided.
 
2013-02-18 06:36:54 AM
I keep forgetting you folks have normal WalMarts. Highland Village has an upscale one that competes with Market Street or Central Market in most lines. The store design was in violation of an original city charter that forbids buildings over 10,000 square feet (also forbids multi-family housing) so the company had to agree to preserve a Treaty Oak by building around it while serving a neighborhood that can only be described as well to do.
 
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