On Your Side: Big Box Savings

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

May 14, 2007

There's a relatively new player in the grocery shopping world, and it's called the big box store.

You may be skeptical about whether you can really save money, but 12 On Your Side discovered that the savings are real.

Big box stores are gradually taking out a bigger and bigger piece of the US grocery store economy pie.

According to the Department of Agriculture, their prices are lower...plain and simple.

They're huge, they can be intimidating, but if you can get over that, the US department of Agriculture says they can save you big bucks.

You know them as Super Wal-Mart, Super Target, Costco and Sam's Club.

Restaurant owner Craig Canada is a frequent Sam's Club shopper.

"Once a day at least," he told 12 On Your Side.

It's a place where the prices can't be beat for his money. Craig saves $1000 to $1200 a month.

"A lot of the stuff is cheaper than my distributor can get it to me," he said.

The Department of Agriculture is echoing those same sentiments.

A recent study says prices at these non-traditional grocers are on average 8 to 27 percent lower than other large grocery chains.

The key is buying in bulk. These companies can buy so much at one time, the products come to you at a reduced price.

You can buy in bulk at the warehouse stores like Sam's Club too, though it doesn't have to be the 28 rolls of toilet paper that you might be expecting.

"That's the number one perception of people that don't shop with us," said Sam's Club general manager Cory Coile. "They think they're going to have to have a pickup truck to get it home. That's not the case."

Either way, if you can stand the crowds and the warehouse feel, your bank account will thank you.

There are some downsides to the big box stores. Often, they can be more crowded, and there have been complaints in the past of less-than-stellar customer service. At the warehouse stores, there are those membership fees which will run you around $45.

But for many people, the prices make it all worthwhile.


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