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Facade's avatar

Have popular grocery stores mislead our knowledge of value?

Asked by Facade (22884points) July 21st, 2010

Most people in the US shop at a store such as Wal-Mart for their groceries. You can get a cart full of groceries for about $100. A great bargain. If you bought a cart full of groceries at, say for instance, Whole Foods, you’d be paying more than double that for similar products. When shopping outside of big chain stores, we are often surprised at how expensive the items seem to be.

But are they truly expensive, or are we just no longer aware of how much things cost because of corporations such as Wal-Mart?
Which range of prices do you believe is more fair all around? Consider the fact that the growers and creators of the product, the brand, and the final seller all need a cut of the profits, and the consumer wants the best price possible.

Also, where do you tend to buy your essentials?

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14 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

You get what you pay for. Wal-mart Target and other “value” superstores are expert at disguising cheapness as value. If you prefer food or other items intentionally manufactured and prepared as cheap and inexpensive as humanly possible, shop away.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What Cruiser said! My favorite stores are farmers markets, a bulk food store run by some Menonites, and an organic food store in my area. If I need the generic junk I shut up and go to Walmart. :(

john65pennington's avatar

You asked about food value, can we discuss auto tire value? WalMart and several other big chain stores set their own standards, when it comes to selling automobile tires in their stores. Michelin tires, for example. WalMart “developes” their own specifications for the Michelin tires they sell. this is why their “per tire” price is cheaper than a tire store. this is okay as long as you understand the best Michelin tires are bought at tire stores. i have had several sets of Michelin tires on my vehicles. i buy them from a tire store, not WalMart. stamped on the sidewall of each premium Michelin tire is “Made in Canada”. these tires cost a little more, but well worth it. i am using auto tires as a comparison, just as you used WalMart food stores to a better grade other grocery store. the bottomline is that you get what you pay for in food and in autombile tires.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is that cheap?

That somehow seems backwards to me. I shop at Aldi or a local grocery chain called Marc’s, and we fill our buggy bi-weekly for $50—$60. We have been doing this for years. In order to actually get to or go over $100 for a full buggy – we would have to buy a TON of frivolous stuff. We have never spent that much in the stores I mentioned.

Walmart, however, we can easily break $100 without buying anything we don’t need. I’m not sure that I believe that Walmart’s groceries are cheap. This time of year, we buy our produce locally or grow it ourselves, so that also cuts the cost.

Whether or not I think it’s fair to the entire production chain, probably not. But (I’m prepared to get in trouble for saying this) capitalism only works for the rich. Most of us have learned to shop frugally out of necessity.

marinelife's avatar

You compared WalMart to Whole Foods and said the products were similar. That is so not true. Whole Foods has rigorous standards for its suppliers. Much of their product lines are organic. The quality is much higher than WalMart.

Facade's avatar

@marinelife Similar as in bread vs bread, juice vs juice, etc.

marinelife's avatar

@Facade Yes, but I don’t think those items are similar in the two stores. Even Whole Foods store brands (365) is much higher quality.

Facade's avatar

@marinelife Of course. But I paid $5 for this lovely 365 multi-seed bread I’m munching on instead of $1–2 for “multi-grain” bread at another store. That’s all I’m sayin’.

christine215's avatar

The cheap food we’re eating today is a precipitant of the government subsidizing cheap corn

Look around your grocery store and try to stay away from food that doesn’t have corn of some derivative in it… good luck.

Cows, pigs and chicken are fed cheap corn at feed lots, so the meat we eat is also a really good example of this

I can get chicken on sale for 99 cents a pound
Why?
Because it’s chicken that was raised on a factory farm with 10,000 other chickens and it was pumped full of antibiotics to keep it from getting sick despite the harmful bacteria it wallows in
It was pumped full of hormones so that it grows twice as quickly as it should so that it can be processed that much sooner

So sure… I can eat “cheap chicken” for 99cents a pound, or I can eat LESS chicken and decide to buy one from the local organic farmer and pay more money, so I supplement our diets with whole grains and legumes like lentils (which are CHEAP in bulk)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah, I’m with @marinelife – Walmart is poop and Whole Foods is not poop – I shopt at the latter and don’t mind paying more for products that are local and organic and have ingredients we, as vegans, need.

Facade's avatar

We’re not debating over which is better. That’s obvious. This is supposed to be about whether or not you think the cheap stuff is too cheap or the pricier stuff is too pricey when compared to what things should cost (whatever that is).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@christine215 You just said a mouthful. Our government food programs are totally insane. Do you have much experience with them?

knitfroggy's avatar

All I know is I can go to the local grocery store, Dillon’s, and buy regular French’s Mustard for $1.75 or so when I can buy the exact same product at Walmart for $1.27. The same applies for ice cream, lunch meats, bread, anything. I don’t buy anything special. Any “healthy” food I wanted to buy at Dillon’s, I could get for much less at Walmart, and that’s where I spend my grocery money. I have a family to feed.

YARNLADY's avatar

The price of food it directly related to the expenses of the business. Wal-Mart has been accused of underpaying it’s employees by using non-union workers, which is one way to cut down expenses. They also have very lucrative deals on their land and buildings, and use their own delivery drivers and trucks to avoid paying the high union prices other stores have to pay. Even at the corporate level, Wal-Mart is very business smart, which most other businesses are not.

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