Do you shop at what they call “Big Box” stores?

When I lived where there was a great many choices for shopping, I avoided Walmart at all costs. I went there twice, and I think that both times were to replace something that no one else had, and the situation was critical.

(I may touch one of those some other time.)

I have been in a ‘Walmart town” for 28 years and I go there fairly regularly. You have to when you are in a town Walmart has taken over; they come in, kill the competition and then you haven’t much choice unless you keep going out of town, but I digress.

At times I buy ‘in bulk’ from the Gordon Food Service store out of town. (Thank you, Monday Fox, for letting me know that they sell retail!) I buy large cans, cases of drinks, 5-lb blocks of cheese and big meat packages there at great savings, but not much else.

I have ordered grains in 3-5 pound bulk packages from Amazon since I feel better with more plant-based foods and I need to experiment with those that are gluten-free for my son and others.

I have had a lot of fun with those.

I heard that Costco was good, and also good to its employees, and that counts to me. I also heard that they will allow companies to give out samples of their products and if enough people then purchase the item(s), they will put them on their shelves. That is really nice, but I could never justify the yearly membership, since there were never any Costcos within 40-some miles of me.

I have always liked to 1) save money and 2) be well supplied. I covered the second in a post a while back, but I will again say that I have been caught with unexpected guests, lay-offs, weather-related situations, illnesses, injuries, and quarantine, yet we have always had what we needed in paper products, health and beauty items plus laundry products and have eaten well through it all as well.

So while listening to shopping videos, um, yeah, of groceries and food,
(“Hello, my name is Tonette and I am a Foodie”), I kept hearing about Sam’s Club and with my distaste for Walmart in general, I ignored it, until last week when they offered a membership for $8, with a $30 rebate if we applied for their credit card. (We will probably never use that card. We pay off our bills every month.)
We figured that we had very little to lose, even though the closest Sam’s is about 30 miles from us.

I think that I got in on the plan too late, as I heard that prices have jumped at Sam’s as it has elsewhere; I would have liked to have been there sooner and seen the ‘good’ prices.

There are some great buys. I found chicken thighs there for $.99; we eat a lot of those. (I switched from mostly breast portions because they stay moist and soft, which is not always easy with breasts.I debone them, too, and use the meaty bones to make soup. It works for us.)

I found 7-pound bags of powdered and brown sugars, cane sugar, for only around 30% more than the 3-lb bags at Kroger. I bought a box of Marie Calendar soup to keep on hand for an excellent price. I bought a big bag of rice for a great price; we eat rice a great deal, but I wanted extra. They bundle 3 1-pound packages of bacon together for a decent price, but I heard that that had just gone up a great deal. Oh, I found other things that I brought home, and I dropped in on another one in another city that I was passing nearby the other day, and picked up a few things that were also at good prices, (which for the life of me I cannot remember, so it was probably nothing terribly outstanding.)

For the most part, if I still had young kids here, especially those who took their lunches to school, I could make out like a bandit. All I can think of are my friends and relatives with large families. It would be more than worth their while to shop in these places. The Grandson still likes Quaker granola bars, but I got a bunch on sale at Kroger. I have gotten great buys at Kroger, little by little, on paper products. We were not scrambling during the potty-paper crisis since I had some extra; I have extra extras now. No Kroger sale goes past me. I have paper towels, too, so a gigantic package of those may have gotten my attention had I not had some extra, but I did get a package of Kleenex boxes at Sam’s for a good price, so, I’m good.
We had just hit a big sale on trash bags or would have been tempted at Sam’s on theirs.
Unfortunately, we seem to have missed the good pricing, and since I already have supplies of things that are a good value there…I feel cheated!

My sister loves to buy sales and use coupons. If she saves enough, she’ll buy anything. I often get calls or texts that ask, “Can you use oatmeal? Will anyone there drink Propel?  Will you use garlic in oil? Does Joe like cream cheese with red peppers?”
I take it all and we give it a shot. (I am loaded with oatmeal because of her. I have it vacuum-sealed, and we are set if we ever have Scottish visitors who stay a while.)

Will I return to Sam’s? Yes. Will I renew next year? I sincerely doubt it. I doubt that it will be worth my while to pay for a full membership. If I have more people to feed and keep in paper products, I might try out Costco, but again, it’s generally only The Husband, The Grandson, and me, with the occasional odd family member or guest in for a meal, or an overnight stay.

So, have you tried Big Box stores? Are they worth it to you?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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9 Responses to Boxing

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’ve got Costco and Sam’s Club locations within a 20 minute drive, and Gordon Food Service is less than 15 minutes away. I haven’t had a Sam’s Club membership for about 30 years, because I really didn’t need THAT much stuff, and it was the farthest away. Costco allows you to use their pharmacy and food court even without a membership. Gas prices at Costco run about 20 cents less per gallon than most of the gas stations around here, but since I drive an electric car, I don’t worry too much about that. I renewed my Costco membership for this calendar year, but I’m not sure I’ll renew again. Now that I’m in my condo, the kids don’t drop in to use the pool so I don’t need the extra food and paper products. On the other hand, my mom insists on getting all her paper products at Costco, even though she’s in a one-bedroom apartment (I get to store what she doesn’t have room for). But if I discontinue my membership, my brother can take care of those needs. Gordon Food Service doesn’t have membership fees and I can get most of the bulk items I need there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We got a Sam’s Club membership last year. It’s about a 45 minutes drive to the city to get there but when we go we load up the back of my minivan. Then our pantry is stocked up for a few months. They have a gluten free Kraft mac and cheese which is only available online and goes out of stick fairly fast so it has been hit and miss to get that at their cheaper prices. There are things there which we don’t get, as it is cheaper to buy the store band from the local grocery store but we find enough great deals.
    In the winter we ordered online and used the free shipping so I didn’t have to drive that far in the snow and ice. If you order online WATCH the price! Yes you do have free shipping but some items will cost more online than they do in-store, so your shipping isn’t really free for those items. And they will package it all in a big box. We ordered soups, cat litter, dog food, hot chocolates, and other canned goods last December and it all arrived in one giant box. We had to open the box on the porch and haul it all into the house while it was snowing because I couldn’t move the box.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t looked into the online orders, Angie, but it may be a good idea…I almost wish that I wasn’t stocked up, LOL!
      I can get G-F Kraft Mac&Cheese here at Kroger, fortunately. I have yet to make it for my son, as he generally eats rice, grain, or potatoes when he eats here, but I have it on hand.
      Back when Amazon had “Prime Pantry”, I would order from them and the boxes would be heavy. The last one was so bad, the post office would not deliver it. I went alone because I did not know what the parcel was, and I had a terrible time. They loaned me a dolly, but it was a struggle to get it into the car. Only when I got home did I think to open the box and take things out some at a time; I should have loaded the car that way. (At least I was in a little better shape then.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • The grocery stores here do not have a lot of gluten free options or the ones that they do have cost so much extra. We make almost everything from scratch now but sometimes it is nice to have something on hand that is quicker to make. My daughter isn’t very handy in the kitchen so she goes for the boxed items with instructions meanwhile Wyatt is making mac and cheese from scratch and telling her that it is even easier than the box but she won’t try to make it.


        • You know that I like to make from scratch but I also bought some Martha White G-F cornbread mix. I just picked up a ‘rice’ made with legumes and vegetables that is G-F with a lot of protein in it. Of course, rice has no gluten, but these are lemon-pepper and I thik will be a nice change. Son’s default carb is corn chips.


  3. Jeff Salter says:

    My wife had a “membership” with Sam’s club — discounted through her workplace — when we lived in the Shreveport LA area. At present, here in KY, we have no club memberships that I’m aware of.
    Several good places to shop here in Somerset and many more in Nicholasville (just south of Lexington).
    I’m not much of a shopper anyway, but I MUCH prefer doing business with locally-owned entities — unless I have to pay premium prices for that privilege.
    As you say, the larger chain stores have run MANY MANY small shops out of business. And that’s a shame… sincerely.
    And the recent 2.5 years of pandemic-related developments have killed even more locally-owned businesses. I feel really bad for those families who have kept a store for a couple of generations, only to have most / all of their long-term customers flock to the box stores for better selection and (usually) better prices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were no independent groceries here at all, a few affiliated ones like a Sav-a-lot and a small, local chain. The Sav-a-Lot was a mess,(although I was told in the Kroger checkout line today that it has improved), as was the local chain. I was treated badly as a ‘Brought-In’, They ran me through the wringer every time I tried to write a check. I had a local license and checks form a local bank with my local address on them, and they should have known me and my kids by then. Anyway, I had trouble with spoiled food and would not trust the meat or produce which always looked bad. One small store was across the street from me, but it made more money selling gas. The owners bought retail and marked what food they sold up 300-500%.
      I figured I’d do better by giving the local people reasons to have jobs through Kroger.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    We have a Sam’s Club membership, but I seldom go there. My husband does, though. He buys vitamins, cleaning products, and sometimes he’ll buy something from the bakery. I could do much better getting the good prices using several local stores, but he likes to look through Sam’s. I think he did buy me a set of pink pearls at Sam’s Club one year at Christmas, and we once bought a clock there.


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