Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Tale of 2 Grocery Stores and then 2 More

From the Beginning:
Once we moved here, you had two choices of grocery stores in town. Sentry and Pick n Save. Both decent stores. Decent prices. Decent sales. Sentry won my business because Tuesday was DOUBLE COUPON DAY! Their expired coupon policy varied by checker. Pick n Save was a little further down the street, but I would shop there occasionally too - depending on the deals.

Beginning of the End:
Walmart was to become a SUPER Walmart soon - so Sentry (seeing this as a threat, I would guess) decided to update their store. Once the update .. higher prices. Even on double coupon day. Our local PicknSave decided to take the cheaper route and stopped putting their sales fliers online. What's worse is that you couldn't compare the next town's sales flyer and assume that you would get the same sales - because they weren't there.

The End:
I stopped going to PicknSave because I couldn't get their sales flyer ahead of time to "plan my attack" and after the Super Walmart went up, it didn't take long and they ran our hometown Sentry out of business.

A Ray of Hope:
We moved again, a little closer to the state line, which opened up more opportunities for shopping. Meijers: God love them. Nice store with good selection and good prices. Their coupon policy - you never really knew. Depended on the cashier, I guess. I honestly have heard all of these lines coming from a Meijer checker at one point or another.

"Yes, we take expired coupons."
"No, we don't take expired coupons."
"Yes we take expired coupons but only Store coupons, not manufacturer's coupons."
"Yes, we take expired coupons, but NOT store coupons, only manufacturer's coupons."
"Yes, we take expired coupons 6 months out."
"We won't take expired coupons from 2006" (this was in January)
"We can take expired coupons, but it's at the discretion of the cashier."
"We no longer take expired coupons." (this was the most recent)

Frankly checking out of Meijers is like playing Russian Roulette. You never know when you are going to hit the one checker who doesn't know the policies and you have to explain yourself like you as to let them know you aren't a common thief and trying to rip the store off.

Backtrack a few months -- the store remodeled. (OH NO! Remember what happened to Sentry after the remodel?) Ahhh, indeed. The prices went up and their coupon policies changed again. Now a good portion of Meijers have a double coupon policy in place. Ours decided to take the expired coupon route instead of adopting the double coupon policy. Now they choose neither. And guess what - THEY LOST MY BUSINESS.

Last Resort:
I hate shopping here, and the check out lines are insane - but I found myself at SuperWalmart the other day jotting down the prices and being completely flabbergasted by the low prices. Their everyday prices beat the sales prices at Meijers on a bunch of things. SO, I think I have to change my December envelopes to have a grocery and meat envelope - I will go elsewhere for meat, but I guess Walmart wins my grocery business. I never thought I would go there for groceries - but when you are on a limited budget you have to go where the deals are. Don't you?


Krista said...

When we lived in Detroit, Meijer was our only big chain store. Now that we live in Mid Michigan, we have a choice between Super Walmart and Meijer. (We also have a Kroger and Glens, but their prices just can't compete.)

I have found that regular price Meijer is better for meat and produce and occasionally sale price Meijer beats Super Walmart for everything else.

Luckily, the stores are right next to each other, so I can easily pick and choose what I will buy where.

I have also had a problem with Meijer cashiers not knowing about the bag credit.

Wendy said...

Ahh, yes. I don't think I could ever bring myself to by Wal-mart meat. I have to draw the line someplace. LOL I have started a price book (something I should have done a long time ago) to compare prices between the stores. I noticed that Meijer IS cheaper on some things - and when they have sales and coupons, I still will be able to get things for DIRT CHEAP or FREE! We used to make fun of my grandma for her multi-store shopping. Now look at me! LOL