The economy and how it is effecting grocery stores... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We went to the grocery store (Kroger) today, and I noticed that they have recently done some adjusting of stock. There are not so many selections, and I noticed that 10 and 20lb bags of sugar and flour are now available.

Maybe it's because I just read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Long Winter, but the whole store was restructured, and I noticed also that many items are just missing, or not available. Anyone else care to say what they are seeing in their own local grocery stores??

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#2 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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Not a grocery store, necessarily, but last couple of trips to Target, I noticed a lot less inventory.

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#3 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I have noticed similar things but also who is shopping and where.

In costco yesterday, I could count how many people were in the store. One, I parked really close to the store, never happend before. My friend has a membership thru her Dad and I always go with her. We have done this for a few years. I noticed we are not the only ones. Literally 75% of the customers were in twos buying stuff. I bought a bottle of wine. The liquor was stocked high and all the more expensive bottles were well stocked and not touched. PEople were thinking twice about all purchases. You could hear people talking out how much it was, was it worth it in several aisles. People were passing up some produce becaasue they were afraid it might go to waste or just passing it up.

The checkout is about 25 registers and they are always all open even during the week. Only 5 registers were open, waiting time- 2 customers was a long wait. Of course it took longer if there were twos checking out like us. My friend mentioned she was there on a Saturday 2 weeks ago and it was like this on a Saturday!


Home Depot and Menards- the weekend warriors are staying home. My DH lives at both places for all the remodeling we do and he said on weekends the place is empty. Even during the week when its all contractors, its empty.

Department store- several are getting rid of departments like fine jewelery, etc or cutting their staff. I was at one a few Saturdays ago and it was a "big sale" day and the place was empty. I bought all clearance stuff. Still available!

Grocery- I noticed not as much as a selection only like 2 or 3 to choose instead of 5-7 as before. Also, people are not buying tons of snackies, soda etc.

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#4 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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I haven't noticed any slowdown at my CostCo. I went in there yesterday and I had to park pretty far from the door, and also had to wait for my turn at a self-check-out. The regular check out lines were pretty long in my opinion. I only had a couple of things but I noticed many people with carts full of stuff that isn't strictly necessary- dvds, summer apparel (and it was 30 degrees here yesterday) that kind of thing. I live in a suburb of KC.

There is a Price Chopper grocery store at the end of my street and the selection there seems to be the usual too...lots of people with artisan bakery bread and pastries, fresh shrimp, flowers, the stuff that you don't actually NEED and can get for less at other places too. *shrug*

Sprint is a big employer here and I know there are people sweating the coming round of layoffs though, so maybe this won't be the case in a month or two...
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#5 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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I've heard two spots on NPR recently that grocery stores are doing better, and are expanding their prepared meal section. Supposedly, people aren't eating out at restaurants, but they still want/need some meals prepared and are taking home hot meals from the grocery store. People are also cooking more at home too, and so grocery stores are moving more stock.

I've also heard that places selling small luxuries are doing well. People who used to treat themselves to a $50 meal out are instead picking up three gourmet cookies for $5. Or giving small gourmet treats as gifts instead of bigger ticket items.

I've also heard that fast food is doing quite well. Some are still opening new stores. Honestly, I swear we could eat at Taco Bell for less than it costs to eat at home... we'd just die sooner.

We saw the new Tropicana orange juice container though, and I think it looks more like a store brand container. It isn't any cheaper, but it looks like it could be. Although, I heard a rumour that people rioted and Tropicana is changing the container back to the old design.

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#6 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Eh, my local Costco was the same zoo it always is when I went in there last week - mid week, too.

DH and I ran to the mall for a gift last week and you'd have thought it was Christmas shopping time, we had to drive around the lot a bunch and parked way far away from our prefered entrance just to find a spot. And once inside, there were tons of people (ie, they were not all just at the movies) and most of them had shopping bags.
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#7 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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Our stores (groceries, Target, WM, dept stores, etc) went through quite a period where the inventory was much lower than usual. This was back in December/January (after the holidays) and some areas of various stores are still less full than prior to that time frame. I don't actually LIKE Target much, but have been in a few different ones over the last few months for various reasons and they have been particularly more empty than I recall ever seeing before. In most stores I have been in since the holidays, there are entire sections of shelves that are empty. I mentioned it at a couple different Henry's (regional health food store) and the cashiers seem clueless, but other shoppers agree with me. Whatever was going on seems to have only affected Trader Joe's (around here, anyway) for short period of time. Their stores all seem fully stocked now and have been since early February.

As for crowds, I live in a LARGE city (San Diego, CA). There are always people in stores...day and night. I also like to park in the uncrowded zones and get a little exercise walking and carrying my bags. Therefore, I have not noticed any thinning of the shoppers or parking lots.

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#8 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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Costco was packed last Monday afternoon. My preferred local grocery store just reopened after a 6 month strike, and it was a little less busy than pre-strike, but it had just reopened 2 days earlier and not everyone was aware. It was very well stocked and very clean. The big produce store across the street was packed at the same time.

I was at the local mall on Tuesday with my kids and it was pretty full for a weekday. Most people seemed to be buying too.
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#9 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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The only thing I've noticed lately is really good sales. My publix has been having great bogo sales and sales on "essentials" like milk, eggs, toilet paper and toothpaste. I'm not used to being able to shop sales much, because usually it's on frozen burritos or fishsticks or something else we don't eat. I have noticed less crowding at the whole foods though.
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#10 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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I haven't noticed this at the grocery store. HOWEVER, I noticed that Target's inventory is much less. They have shelves that are just empty. Also, I went to TJMaxx and noticed they had less stuff. HOWEVER, I liked it better, b/c usually it is so cramped, b/c they have too much stuff, it looked less messy and more organized to me, esp the toy/book section. They're not trying to cram as much stuff into a small area with smaller displays within aisles like before.
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#11 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Wegmans is thriving as usual, and it doesn't really seem like other businesses are slowing down much here.

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#12 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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Costco around here is as busy as usual. I wish it would slow down so I could shop in peace!

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#13 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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The economy doesn't seem to be affecting anything in the grocery stores around here. Costco is busy as usual.
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#14 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mags View Post
I haven't noticed this at the grocery store. HOWEVER, I noticed that Target's inventory is much less. They have shelves that are just empty. Also, I went to TJMaxx and noticed they had less stuff. HOWEVER, I liked it better, b/c usually it is so cramped, b/c they have too much stuff, it looked less messy and more organized to me, esp the toy/book section. They're not trying to cram as much stuff into a small area with smaller displays within aisles like before.
You're not kidding. TJMaxx is not a pleasant store to get around in. I'm not a big person, and I can barely get around the racks at our store.

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#15 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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I've personally seen a lot of great deals/sales at Target and our local grocery stores. Mac n Cheese - 10 for $10 - Toothpaste BOGO 1/2 off - things like that.

But I have also noticed that local thrift/consignment stores for adults and children are PACKED every time I go - which is once or twice a week and on random days.
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#16 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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Safeway has had some good sales. I haven't noticed any reduction in inventory at the stores I usually go to.
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#17 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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But I have also noticed that local thrift/consignment stores for adults and children are PACKED every time I go - which is once or twice a week and on random days.
My DH dropped off a bunch of donations today at our local Goodwill, but stopped inside to see if there was anything there. He said the store was really cleaned out, b/c it's so over-shopped these days. We live in an area hit really badly by the auto industry, so the economy where we live is very noticeably hurting.
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#18 of 74 Old 03-13-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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I'm going to move this to Frugality and Finances since it deals with economic issues.

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#19 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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Around here, NE NY, it's not so much that there are less people out but I think what they're shopping for is different.

Seems like more people are comparing prices because all the really good deals seem to be out lately when I go shopping. Like the *big* bottle of Ajax that is WAY less than any other the other brands is consistently empty or low, but all the other bottles looks about the same.

I've heard that $1 stores are doing really well right now, but I rarely go to ours. We make most of our cleaners & they don't carry much for food (well, at least not food we'd actually eat ) They are good for cards though. Assuming I don't just have the DDs make one instead.
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#20 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Costco is always a zoo, but Target had one register open this morning.. just one.. and not a lot of staff there either.. lots of baby items were sold out or there was just one or two on the shelf.. but I am not sure if that is out of the ordinary or not.. we have only one target here and it is on the far side of town from me..

Gottschalks is closing all over town.. but then we have a Kohl's opening, and an Anderson's coming soon, too... so?
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#21 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The cashier that was helping me at Kroger the other day when I shopped was exhausted. I could tell she was, and asked if she was okay. She said that there were many people let go, and now she and her other coworkers have to work extra hours to make up for the difference. And I noticed that there are no human cash registers after 9:45pm or 10pm. We were out late one night, and stopped to get milk, and I noticed that I had to go through the electronic register.

Most of all, what I notice is that the shelves look very neat, and there will only be two or three sugars, or 4 pasta sauces, where before there was every brand possible, in every price possible. It still shocked me to see the 10 and 20 lb bags of flour, which we never see. They took up a large area in the flour section.

So from what you all have said, the north east and the west are not being affected, but those in the south, midwest, and the central part of the US are being affected.

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#22 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And one more thing...I was at Whole Foods the same day, and I usually buy a quart of locally grown honey for about $7.00. That brand wasn't there, and a few brands from far from my home were there. The most reasonable quart jar of honey was $10.00. I was shocked. I'm going to check the local vegetable market to see if they have my local honey, as I had heard that local honey helps with allergies, and other illnesses, where honey from far away is just sweetner.

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#23 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 10:24 AM
 
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I've noticed some irregularities but I think some of it had to do with that law that was going to go into effect for lead in toys. FREX Walmart had like zero toys for a month.

I would say we're holding steady here. Surprisingly. However, and I don't know if this has anything to do with it, our home values weren't grossly overinflated and our economy tends to be flat anyways so maybe we don't have so far to fall????

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#24 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I just went to hyvee yesterday and like always it was packed. That store is always crazy busy near my house. Same with the Kohl's across the street. I haven't noticed less selection, but i am noticing better sells at the grocery stores and walmart seems to be jacking up their prices, go figure. I have been shopping sales/coupons for about 13 months now, and I know this time last year I was not able to get eggs on sale for .77-.99 everyweek for a month straight at different sales. They are even on sale this week at a local store for .77 a dozen, but I am going to pass on them as I have 3 dozen in the fridge + just boiled a dozen last night. Maybe it's just me, but I am finding the loss leaders are definitely more of the basics: milk, bread, eggs, flour, potatoes or some selected fruit (bananas, grapes, apples, etc).

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#25 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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Not a grocery store, necessarily, but last couple of trips to Target, I noticed a lot less inventory.
Yes! Our Target has whole aisles without merchandise. I first noticed it a few weeks ago and I thought they were re-structuring the store layout, but no, it hasn't changed. It's really eery. Not that it's a big deal to me personally (and I couldn't even tell you what exactly was missing from the store), but it gave me an uneasy, foreboding feeling.
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#26 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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No changes here.

Went to Costco on Thursday morning and it was busy as ever. Multiple registers open and long lines at each.

Target is busy and fully stocked.

The high end grocery store was packed on Wednesday when I went to take advantage of a sale.

Lowes is always busy, Sears is hiring and the mall parking lot looks the same.
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#27 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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Huh.

Our little bitty commissary (it mainly serves retired folks), which a year and a half ago was on the brink of being closed, has actually EXPANDED over the past few months. They've reworked the warehouse area and opened half of that up for more merchandise. I think people are probably making the trip once every month or two (the nearest other commissaries are 4+ hours away) and stocking up in bulk, because the prices are so cheap there, although the selection is limited, I suppose. I went Friday around 1030, and it was *packed*. There were four people in line in front of me, with filled to the brim carts (I only live 15-20 minutes away, so, I don't have to buy 3 months worth of stuff at a time).

Our public grocery store is having a lot more sales. I mean, really good sales. I haven't really noticed a lack of selection, although when they *do* run a good sale, I've noticed they're often out of items for a little bit (not, like, days...just that in the past, it was rare for the case to go empty before someone came back to fill it).

I don't really go to Target often or Walmart or the mall, so, I don't know how those are doing.
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#28 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One more thing...at Target, in their camping isle (which I went to Target for) it was very small. I was expecting it to have the usual things (which can be good when the economy is low). I did buy to Coleman fuel tanks for my cook stove. There was a sale price for them. But overall the everything in that section was compacted into about 1/3 of the isle.

Honestly, I've noticed all these changes at the grocery store for a while, but they were slow changes. Now however, it's more apparent. It is a sort of foreboding feeling, which nearly made me cry. I've been reading Sharon Astyk's blog and she (as well as many many others) have been predicting the shortage of food during this down swing/recession/depression.

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#29 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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Actually our local grocery store owner said his sales are up 10% from last year and he is now advertising his meat market sales in a paper that is about 35 minutes away. The meat market at our store really rocks.

A few weeks ago we were at Costco and it was busy like always, especially since it was after church. The food court was bustling with families and it was just busy-busy.

I have noticed that there are better sales on staple items and such. I haven't been getting in on our local meat sales because I had a serious meat aversion from early pregnancy, but I am bummed there were some really good sales a few weeks ago. I couldn't even touch the meat to put in my cart.

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#30 of 74 Old 03-14-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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.... Sharon Astyk's blog and she (as well as many many others) have been predicting the shortage of food during this down swing/recession/depression.
USA is a food surplus producing country. The USA govt. has stockpiles of certain food items, and buys large amounts to ship to developing countries as "aide". (done as a price support for farmers)The USA has diverse climates, so a crop failure in one area (like the Midwest flooding last year) will not mean we have to import food.

We have a lot of things to worry about, but I have a lot of confidence in the ability of the USA to supply its own food. :
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