This Grocery Store Was a Major Factor in Where I Chose to Move (No, It’s Not Aldi)
Since paying off huge amounts of debt in the last recession, I’ve learned that brand loyalty doesn’t always pencil out. I no longer buy a single brand of ketchup, but play the field on cheaper sale options — especially now that organics are competitively priced and I’m game to try lots of store-brand products. In doing so, I save a ton of money while enjoying great meals.
How do I love thee, Ralphs? Let me count the ways.
1. I can find (almost) anything.
While I love being able to run in and out of Aldi in minutes, it doesn’t always carry everything I want — especially when it comes to specialty items, like certain baking flours, Peet’s coffee, and my favorite skyr. Ralphs comes in clutch almost every time and seems to have gone a bit upscale as of late, with sushi and cheese counters to rival those of other grocery stores.
2. The markdowns are amazing.
Every morning, staff in each department slash prices on ingredients that need to go: fresh veggie trays, all manner of meat cuts, deli meats, wonton wrappers, imported treats, day-old bagels, whipped cottage cheese nearing its “Best By” date, and seasonal markdowns. The clearance aisles cannot be beat. Trust me — I check the clearance section wherever I shop, and Ralphs is the king. (I’ve heard other positive accounts about Kroger affiliates in other states as well.) Petit Beurre biscuits for 32 cents? Yes, please!
3. I save even more with great coupons — both digital and paper.
Once upon a time, I was a diehard coupon-clipping queen, but with six kids and a busy life, it became harder and harder to chase the deals. Ralphs’ app makes it easy with digital coupons, a handy grocery list, and a digital weekly ad that features some great loss leaders (products intentionally priced below their cost).
When I’m feeling nostalgic about physical mail, Ralphs sends me paper coupons customized to my preferences. Each month, I open my mailbox to find some high-value coupons tailored to what I actually want to buy (think: $10 off a $50 meat purchase or a free box of my favorite brand of cereal, which I mix with cheaper ones to stretch those dollars even further).
4. The staff are super friendly and know their stuff.
For the last 15 years and counting, pretty much everyone at Ralphs has been helpful during my weekly trips. In fact, I know most of them by name! Robert helps me find the best discounts in the meat department; Daisy shows me where to find the digital deals in the aisles; and Andrea quickly (and cheerfully!) corrects any errors at the check-out stand.
5. Plus, they bag the groceries and take them to the car.
I don’t mind bagging my own groceries, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from doing it all. Ralphs is a full-service grocery store, which means I can count on getting help with grocery bagging. They’ll even help me load the bags in the car if I need it.
What’s the one grocery store you absolutely cannot live without? Tell us about it in the comments.