from store to store

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I recently saw this article, entitled “What to Buy and What to Skip at Trader Joe’s,” and immediately sent it to my friend Sarah, who did an article on grocery store vs farmers’ market pricing when we were in college.

So as I was bouncing around from store to store this weekend, I decided to jot down a few prices.

A cauliflower- organic or not- is $3.49 at Harris Teeter and only $2.69 at Target. Canned tomatoes are $1.24 at Target but $1.44 at Harris Teeter. Chobani Greek yogurt is $1.22 at Target and $1.38 at Harris Teeter.

Let’s take a look at the difference in the Chobani pricing. It’s a difference of $.16 per container. Let’s say you eat one for breakfast each weekday morning for a year- $.16 x 5 x 52 (weeks per year) = $41.60.

If you had shopped at Target, you would have saved $41.60 over the course of a year. Say you get paid $20 per hour- that’s just two hours of work over the course of a whole year (out of a total of 8,750 hours).

But on the other hand, we’re only talking about one item. Let’s say you save an average of $.16 per item on 40 items each week. That’s now $332.80, which could almost get you a cruise to the Bahamas!

But think about these important factors and their value to you:

  • Your time- running from store to store takes time; think about it in terms of opportunity cost from econ class 🙂
  • Gas- Target is about 12 minutes from me, so it expends quite a bit of gas over the course of a year
  • Experience- Where do you have a better experience? How important is that to you? I love going to Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter, but could live without the customer service at Target
  • Quality- Are you willing to pay a premium at a grocery store that you consider to be higher quality than another? Are you willing to pay for perceived quality as well?
  • Ethics- Likewise, are you willing to pay a premium at a grocery store that you consider to be more ethical than another?
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