My original plan was to write the third article in this series on Trader Joe’s at Crocker Park, perhaps due to my desire to visit Dick’s Sporting Goods for new batting gloves, and the Apple store to blow more of my hard earned money at the palace of pretty toys. I have found myself at Trader Joe’s twice in the last month and have been, at first glance, impressed with their prices. Unfortunately, traffic on I-90 near Lakewood made that less desirable last night. All was not lost though.
The #1 answer on my “Where Do You Grocery Shop?” Poll was none other than, Giant Eagle. I had to make a split second decision as I turned the car around, do I go to 117th & 90, or Detroit and Bunts? Anyone who has ventured into the 117th & I-90 store during peak hours knows that is not wise, so I opted for the less chaotic Lakewood store. At less than a mile from my house, the Detroit Avenue Giant Eagle is smaller and older than the chain’s newer stores, but still offers everything I need for both my weekly sustenance, and this article.
As I began my shopping excursion I began to notice a trend, almost everything I purchased was at least a dollar more at Giant Eagle. In fact, many sale items like the Frito Lay Variety Pack of chips, a staple in my lunch every day, were discounted (from $7.99) to $6.99 with Advantage Card, still well above Wal-Mart’s price of $6.48. This is astounding considering that Wal-Mart did not even rate on the survey. 0% of my readers shop for groceries at Wal-Mart, while 30% shop at Giant Eagle. Maybe it’s Fuel Perks? If you look at the results of my trip however, you’ll discover that you are actually paying for the fuel perks with a mark-up on almost every product in the store. So, is it really worth it? Here are my results:
Multi-pack of chips – $6.99 ON SALE (Wal-Mart $6.48)
Hamburger/Hot Dog buns – $.99 ON SALE (Wal-Mart $1.98)
Loaf of bread – $2.19 (Wal-Mart $1.98)
Bag of Baby Spinach for salads – $3.59 (Wal-Mart $2.88)
1 pound Deli Sliced Turkey – $5.99 (Wal-Mart $6.47)
1/2 Pound Deli Sliced Pepperoni – $3.52 (Wal-Mart $2.53)
Can of Spaghetti Sauce – $1.39 (Wal-Mart $1.00)
Small tin of ground coffee (11 oz) – $4.49 (Wal-Mart $3.38)
Gallon of Skim Milk – $2.99 (Wal-Mart $2.98)
Ground Beef Roll – $3.89 per pound (Wal-Mart $2.19 per pound)
Frozen All Beef Hamburgers – $8.99 (Wal-Mart $6.98)
Case of Coke Zero – $4.99 (Wal-Mart $3.98)
TOTAL: $50.01 (Wal-Mart $42.83)
At the end of the day, I could have saved $7.18 by shopping at Wal-Mart. There is however, a lot to be said for the difference in shopping experience. The Wal-Mart at Steelyard is notoriously bad. The lines are long, the store is an understaffed mess, and I would consider finalizing your Last Will & Testament before venturing into the pit to save $7, especially if you venture down there after dark. SCARY! In fact, the 117th & I-90 Giant Eagle is like a trip to Disney World compared to shopping at Cleveland’s Wal-Mart.
In fact, the customer service I experienced at Giant Eagle was far superior to anything I’ve dealt with anywhere else. The lines were short, I was always a stones throw away from a helpful staff member, and my cashier was eager to help me efficiently pack my reusable shopping bags. If you are looking out for your bottom line, and only your bottom line, Wal-Mart is the clear winner in this battle, at least against the NE Ohio mega-chain Giant Eagle. But what’s $7 in exchange for your sanity?
Other articles in my Smart Shopping Series: