You’re hungry, you have little spare time, and you need to buy groceries but with so many different stores how do you decide where to shop? Albertsons, Food for Less, New Frontiers — they will all sell you food but the choice you make will affect how much you pay for that food. So why is it that some of us choose to pay more for our food than others? I will attempt to answer this question, which seems so simple but may in fact be a little deeper.
Supermarkets charge different prices because they have varying qualities of food. Quality is not a must, it is a want — it is something you choose to pay for because you have a preference for it. For example, some people shop at more expensive grocery stores such as New Frontiers or Whole Foods, while others shop at cheaper places like Food for Less and 99¢ Store. Those in between get a little taste of both by shopping at places like Albertsons and Ralphs.
For cream of the crop foods, the place to go in San Luis Obispo is New Frontiers. It is known for carrying “higher quality,” more exclusive products that may make you feel like you are one of the elite for shopping there. Shopping at a higher quality supermarket does come with a price. It is very expensive and you do not always get what you pay for. You often pay more money because food packaging looks nicer or because all produce are uniform in size.
Some advantages of shopping at a nicer market, however, are that they often carry harder-to-find products for those with special religious or dietary requirements, and the service is always good.
For the average consumer, Albertsons and Ralphs are two generic grocery stores that many of us find ourselves shopping at. The prices are somewhat reasonable, the meats and produce look tasty, and if you’re lucky, you just might find that rare ingredient needed to complete your dish. Most of us choose to shop at regular supermarkets because that’s what we were brought up on. We don’t consider leaving the generic supermarket world and venture into the discount world of food.
Moving on to our main attraction is Food For Less, a discounted grocery store, carrying similar foods to most generic stores. Shopping at a discount store offers you great deals that get you more for your money. The quality of the food may not be perfect but that doesn’t stop most of us from eating up the fantastic deals. Even though you may find a little bruise here or there on the produce or a box of cereal may have a faded logo it doesn’t mean the food is bad.
Some downsides of shopping at a place like Food For Less is the deli selection is not as good and you have to bag your own groceries.
Ask yourself this question, if a piece of cheese has mold on it, do you throw it away? You’re most likely going to cut that piece off and enjoy the rest of the cheese. Shouldn’t we do the same for an apple with a nick or a potato that doesn’t look perfect? Growing up shopping at places like Ralphs and Albertsons made me afraid to shop at discount grocery stores. Now, as an upperclassman, I have had to spend my money wisely and I am slowly getting into the groove of discounted markets.
The food tastes the same, you pay less for it and you save money in this economic recession. So be proud of where you shop and who cares what other people think. As we were all told as kids, don’t judge a book by its cover. The same goes for food — don’t judge an apple by its skin.