I thought this might be an interesting thread, especially when people are trying to save what money they can. I know people that are willing to go out of the way to shop at a particular market.

The closest store to where I live is Vons yet we do most of our shopping at Stater Bros. To me it seems that Stater Bros is less expensive than Vons, the meat department seems better at Stater Bros, especially with the butcher counter. We've purchased some delicious steaks, huge bone-in rib eyes or t-bones that are cut so big they're practically porterhouses still marked at the t-bone price. So we do the majority of our shopping at Stater Bros and then the "oh I forgot to buy bread" kind of shopping at Vons, just because it's the closest.

The last few times I've been in Vons, it seems like they're going downhill. Things that are advertised in the weekly flyer they've been out of or they just don't have a ton of things in stock. Like it was about 7 pm and we decided we were going to bbq hamburgers for dinner. I went to Vons, they had the 80/20 ground beef in the ad (since you need some fat in the meat for bbqing anyways) and they had no ground beef out at all. They had a few of the like 5 lb chubs, or like 2 packages each 93/7 or 96/4 out. No 80/20 or 85/15 and no meat department employees around to even ask if they had any in the back. I could see if I went in at like midnight, having trouble finding things in stock and finding employees to help me find them. But I don't think around 7 pm is a horrible time to shop, I'd imagine a lot of people might be shopping at that time on their way home from work between 5-7:30 pm.

We do not have an Albertsons super close, or a Ralphs so we never really go to those stores. We've been doing a lot more shopping at Trader Joe's as well. The Target by us really expanded their grocery section, they now have some produce and meat, it's like a quarter of the store now. I know they have whole chickens and bagged lettuce, and some fresh fruits as well as a ton of dry/pantry items. A lot of the dried pantry type items like cereal are less expensive at Target or Walmart. My friends moved and will drive a couple of miles further to go to Vons, when they live closer to a Stater Bros, for the reasons of the Vons has been remodeled more recently, and it was the store they got used to going to before they moved. To me that seems silly. Price and quality should be a lot more important than appearance of the store.