So you’re a would-be cook, and you need to get food. Food is pretty useful, since it is rather hard to cook without it. This leads to an obvious question: where should you shop?
There are many different grocery stores, and it’s hard to know what ones are the best. So I’ll do what I can here to evaluate which one you should go to.
And here is where you should go.
Ok, fine, I should probably give you some other suggestions, or at least some general reviews of places. But, yes, if you’re lucky enough to live near a WinCo, that’s where you should go.
Here are the places I go/have gone to on a regular basis, ranked from worst to best!
- Walmart – Yeah, you know this is the worst. Long lines, terrible customer services, strongly anti-union, and that vaguely horrible “ew, I’m in Walmart” feeling. They do generally have fairly good prices, so if that’s literally the only thing you care about, then go here. But really it just isn’t worth it.
- Basha’s (Arizona only) – Decent stores, but very limited selection, and extremely high prices. If you just need one or two specialty items, they’re good. But otherwise, avoid.
- Target – Yes, there are Targets out there that sell food. And…well, they’re actually pretty good. I go to them sometimes. Great service, plenty of variety, and a top-notch store brand. But, goddamn, are they expensive. You can easily spend significantly more money here than anywhere else.
- Safeway/Vons/Albertson’s – Perfectly fine, really. A nice middle-of-the-road chain of grocery stores that’s occasionally prone to some very good “buy one, get 2/get 3 free” meat sales. Albertson’s more so than Safeway, which is odd, since they’re basically the same stores. Also carries a decent, but not great, store brand soda.
- Fry’s/Fred Meyer’s – A great chain, much better than Safeway, etc. Very good prices, plenty of variety, and usually well-staffed. They also have some really excellent store brand items, including the best of the store brand sodas.
- WinCo – Yeah, this one really is the best. Why? Better prices than Walmart, a great selection, a very good store brand (not the best, but really solid, though their “store brand” soda is Shasta, which isn’t great), a nice bulk-foods section that you can spend a day getting lost in, and best of all, you get all that without that “ew, I’m in Walmart” feeling. Plus they’re employee-owned, which really helps.
So there you go, WinCo wins the day. Their one real problem is that they aren’t everywhere. They have only 114 locations, mostly in the Western USA (especially in places like Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and California). But if you don’t have one, just wait; you might get one soon.
For those of you outside the USA, or in other parts of America, where do you like to purchase your groceries?