My Favorite Grocery Salvage Store Jumped the Shark

Sometime ago I wrote about shopping at a bargain grocery called American Discount Foods.  Wow, almost four years ago.  Well, you know how it is, things change, people change.

Going to American Discount Foods used to be one of the fun things I would look forward to.  I know you can relate to finding a great bargain and any time I shopped AMD I could always count on finding some really good bargains.  It was like a maze at the original building.  The place was definitely rundown.  The floor was in bad shape and the ceilings were low, but the prices were great.  Although I have to admit their canned goods never did have a very good price. Here’s the thing… when I shop at a salvage store, I don’t expect to pay the same price for items I could get at the grocery store a few miles down the road.

Recently American Discount Foods moved to a new building.  Somehow I got the impression – I am pretty sure I saw a flyer that they had printed out – that the lease on the new building would cost them less. The new place is great.  It’s significantly bigger, the ceilings are super tall.  It is well lit and everything is spread out with wide aisles and there’s a lot more room for product.   We don’t have to push past those plastic doorways to get into the store and out, and to and from the chilled vegetable room.  They actually have real glass doors that open when you step on the floor in front of them!  Can you say, “Moving on Up!”

Unfortunately the prices have gone up.  The last time I was there I took a little survey, wanting to make sure it wasn’t just my imagination.  I casually asked a couple of shoppers if they had been shopping AMD for awhile, and did they used to shop the old location.  They said that they had, and then I asked them if they thought the prices had gone up.  The husband said not only that but the quality had gone down.  The wife pointed out the jars of pickles and told me they were cheaper at the grocery store.

I asked another woman and she said she liked this new place better and said she was sure it was costing them a lot more to run this place than the other store.  I am sure that is the case, the electricity costs alone in the new place are probably tripled if not quadrupled from the old location.

I realize that the price of gas has been steadily rising, and I know that prices can’t stay the same forever.  I’m mostly lamenting the vegetables.   I always looked forward to going into the chilled produce room to see what surprises lurked inside.   Now if you haven’t shopped a salvage store for vegetables and fruit you should know that most of the time they are not in the best of shape.  For example, many times I would find that they had large avocados – so ripe they were almost squishy – and they would price them to sell.  As they should!   I can never understand in the regular grocery store why they insist on trying to sell nearly rotten avocados for $1.99 each!  Is it better for them to take a loss for the food turning rotten than to actually mark them down to a killer price and move them out of the store?  AMD used to price their super ripe avocados four for a dollar.  But now when I go there, they have these same super ripe avocados – on the verge of rotten – at 50 cents each.  I’m more willing to buy an avocado that is possibly rotten and inedible and lose a quarter.  But 50 cents – that’s too much.

This last time they had apples for 99 cents a pound.  But apples are on sale at the regular grocery store for 88 cents a pound.  At least match the store sales price!  Remember this produce is sometimes so close to spoiling that it has to be taken home and immediately dealt with.  I know when I buy super ripe avocados that I have to peel and mash them as soon as I get home. They can’t even wait overnight.

Another thing they are doing that is driving me away is the daily specials.  I live about 60 miles from this store.  When I’m at work it’s about 5 miles out of my way so I would usually go after work one day each week.  Now I’m getting an email every week day with their daily specials.  Even if the item was something I could use and would eat, there is usually some crazy limit like 2.  Monday’s special is 10 ounces of Oscar Meyer honey ham for $0.79.  Yes, that’s a great deal.  But if I spend $15 dollar in gas to get it, that’s no bargain for me.

I used to make a point to go out of my way because I was sure to get a good bargain once I got there.  Now there’s less chance of that happening.

I really have no idea how it works at AMD.  But I suspect this is the process.  They bid on pallets of product – you know the huge boxes on pallets that hold pumpkins and watermelons? I’ve seen those at AMD.  I would think they get those full of product.  They may not know what is in the container until they get it to the store and begin to unload it.   Let’s say they paid $250 for the huge box.  They get in there and realize that contains 500 jars of Herdez salsa.   I realize they have to pay someone to unload that box and that takes time.  But it seems to me if they charged about half what you would pay at the grocery store, they would move their product a lot faster and turn a quicker profit.

Anyway.  I’m actually kind of glad that this happened because it is out of my way and it does take up more time than just stopping by the grocery store which is right on the way home.

I still feel a little sad about it though because I really loved finding those awesome deals.

American Discount Foods, I hope you thrive in your new location.  I can’t afford to drive out of my way to pay regular grocery store prices so I won’t be able to shop your store any longer. It’s too bad because the new location is only about 4 miles out of my way.

Do you shop salvage grocery stores?   Are you still getting good deals at yours?


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3 thoughts on “My Favorite Grocery Salvage Store Jumped the Shark

  1. I do on occasion, but the nearest one is rather out of the way so I don’t go very often. There are some great deals to be found, for sure. I’ll buy stuff that is partially spoiled if the unspoiled portion is cheaper than the same amount at the supermarket. I once picked up a package of pot stickers for 50 cents because about they were moldy. Realistically, only about 40 in the package were edible. But that was still a third of the price per edible potsticker as what they are my local food store!
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