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I'm curious if anyone else here prefers to shop at smaller mom and pop type stores, or buy direct from the farmer or other similar shopping?

Especially when it comes to groceries, we prefer to shop at local small bakeries, butchers, fruit/veggie vendors etc. I'm sure we pay more than we would at walmart or superstore, but I am positive that we get more nutrients and less chemicals and other bad stuff this way.

We still have a reasonable food budget and stick to it, so I don't find we put out a lot more money than buying from big box stores... possibly because we don't buy as much? I'm not really sure, but it works for us and I am curious who else here has a similar shopping mentality.
 

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I've heard of people doing this because they feel the "big stores" (walmart) have taken sales form "mom and pop" stores, but not for nutritional reasons.
 

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I'm curious if anyone else here prefers to shop at smaller mom and pop type stores, or buy direct from the farmer or other similar shopping?
We buy our meat at a local butcher, and much of our produce from a local country market (during the summer months). Their prices are pretty competitive, and we do this because we're getting good products at reasonable prices, and we believe in supporting local business ...

(For us, nutritional value doesn't really figure into this decision.)
 

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Yes, I agree with addy. Too many people these days behave as though any place with a big sign and huge parking lot out front is automatically cheaper. Not so. I shop at Giant Tiger where possible and for many things like milk, bread, junk food and socks they are almost always cheaper than anywhere else. The stores are also smaller, which means fewer long lineups and parking problems. Big box retailers bank on people believing that everything is cheaper there but in my own unscientific research through the years I've found that NOT to be the case.

On the nutritional value point, has anyone seen the documentary "Food, Inc?" Should be mandatory watching for this thread. Will make you think twice before assuming that produce purchased at chain and big box stores is as healthy as buying locally.

I like DrV's format of buying locally since it ensures that the problems inherent in big box "farming" are greately minimized.
 

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We try to support local merchants and producers as much as possible, but it is definitely becoming more and more difficult.

My town (we have about 80,000 people) doesn't have an independent butcher anymore and hasn't for years. We would have to go to the next town over to go to an independant butcher. What would be better, expending the time, money and energy to travel to the next town or the two minute drive to the big box store?

The bakery that I like to frequent has been narrowing their focus to specific products - so I am forced to go to Loblaws for baked goods that they don't have.

We definitely take advantage of the farmer's market every year from June to November - that's when the farmer's market sets up for business in our area.
 

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While I too tend to avoid big-box chains (I've only once set foot in a Wal-Mart, although I do go to Home Depot a few times per year and I buy most of my office supplies at Staples), it's worth noting that when these companies get interested in things like environmental sustainability they can really make things happen simply because of their sheer scale, influence, and deep pockets.

Take a look at these articles on WalMart's recent sustainability efforts:

http://makower.typepad.com/joel_makower/2009/07/walmarts-sustainability-index-the-hype-and-the-hope.html

and

http://makower.typepad.com/joel_makower/2007/10/wal-marts-susta.html

This stuff isn't greenwash. I was at a conference last year where people from World Wildlife Fund and other environmental NGOs were praising Wal-Mart up and down for their leadership in this area. Which is not, of course, to say that big box chains are environmental angels. It's just that, as in most cases, the picture is gray instead of black and white. They do a lot of harm, but they do a lot of good as well. It's convenient to paint these big firms as pure environmental and social villains, but the fact is that they can achieve results that many environmental groups only dream of. And they employ some people who want to do the right thing.
 
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I like shopping at places where i know that i can buy something, and if im not fully satisfied with it i can generally return it without hassle.

I agree that big box stores such as Walmart or CT do not always have the most competitive prices (even if they lead us to believe so).

However try returning something at a mom and pop shop or a small retailer, and all you get is sneers and excuses of why they cant take it back, or exorbitant restocking fees..
 

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I really hate all the food "trends" that are affecting people's buying choices, They are in vogue one day and out the next.

First it was all about buying organic. Then we heard that organic food is not regulated, and many of the foods we thought were organic were not, or had other issues having to do with natural pesticides, food handling, quality, etc.

The next trend was "local" food, in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Now we are hearing that this is not neccesarily good either. Sometimes things like oranges and bananas <i>should</i> be grown in it's natural climate rather than spending extra resources (hot-houses and thermo-lamps, extra water, etc) to grow it down the street.

I wonder what will come next. A movement to only eat seasonally? Only turnips and carrots for us Northerners in the wintertime...count me out!

I'm going to continue to shop like I always have - look for good-looking, fresh-tasting produce, meats, fish and bakery items, and buy whatever I need and can afford. If something tastes bad, I won't buy it again, no matter what store sold it to me, or whether or not it's organic or local. If it's too expensive it won't be bought. I have no preference when it comes to big stores or mom and pop shops - it's not about the store, it's about the goods purchased and the price I pay for it.

The market and the laws of supply and demand will rule at the end of the day.
 

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What big box stores often do is identify a few commonly bought brand name items (e.g Tide laundry Detergent) and always price them really low. Wal-Mart used to have a base of 600 such items, I do not know if that is still true.

The customer keeps coming back to stock up on his/her favourite brand name items at a low price. He is then exposed to tens of thousands of other items, which may or may not be lower priced than the competition. He buys some of them.

It is a marketing strategy that has worked very well for outfits like Wal-Mart.
 

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I generally feel very good about going into Walmart and picking up their loss leaders. These are generally sale items that are way below market price.

I picked up a TV a few years ago that was about $200 below what everyone was selling the same kind of tv for. I had to go on boxing day what a nightmare but I left with only the TV.
 

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I generally feel very good about going into Walmart and picking up their loss leaders. These are generally sale items that are way below market price.

I picked up a TV a few years ago that was about $200 below what everyone was selling the same kind of tv for. I had to go on boxing day what a nightmare but I left with only the TV.
Congrats on having identified the loss leaders AND being able to resist picking anything else up. The way they clog up the aisles with racks filled with stuff is very distracting.

In my own case though, you won't find me anywhere near any big store or mall on boxing day. Too much parking lot and lineup/checkout rage. The coin I can save isn't worth it for me, though if you can tolerate it and do as berube describes, you're a wise shopper. :)
 

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I dunno. In terms of frugality (for myself anyway), I rather enjoy going to Wal-Mart, K-Mart or any large department stores. In my experience (or at least in my town), the Wal-Mart hasn't taken away from small "mom and pop" shops. Then again, you can't get certain items like home-made amazing cupcakes from a Wal-Mart.

To be fair, I did find a great thermostat from a Wal-Mart...and then a great sofa from village furniture (a local shop). Granted, a little pricey, but I appreciated the quality.
 
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