I’m a pretty opinionated grocery shopper because I love to cook. If you live in Mahogany, Auburn Bay, Cranston, Copperfield, New Brighton, McKenzie Towne and even McKenzie Lake, and the Douglasdale areas, you have a few options of where to get your groceries. As a mom of five, my tastes have evolved over the years, and I have finally hit a stride of groceries that I think works well. Let’s look at your options:
Superstore at 130th
I used to shop here all the time. The savings were decent, and buying bulk is right up my alley. However, a couple years ago when I was pregnant, I was in the produce isle picking up a few things with my basket in hand. There was a broken tomato left on the floor which I didn’t see, and I slipped and landed right on my knee. Groceries went flying everywhere. Shoppers came from all around me to pick up my groceries and even handed me my wallet. It was a moment where I re-fell-in-love with Calgarians, and began my long vendetta against Superstore. I think I had about 5 people helping me to my feet. One very gracious lady even said that I should go to customer service and report it right away. I limped to the counter, while the lady pushed my groceries in her cart. I explained what happened to the clerk while she checked out my groceries. She was moderately sorry for what happened to me. Once I paid, I said,
“Could I get some help out to my car with the groceries?”
She said, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t do that here.”
“Uhhhhhggg. OK,” I said, and I picked up my bags and started limping my pregnant bum towards my car. They did send someone out to help me after they saw the sorry state that I was in, but I was half way to my car and I thought it was too little, too late.
From that time to this, I don’t set foot in that store unless there is absolutely no other option. I have other reasons as well. First is that I don’t think that the prices are really all that low, when you factor in that one has to bag one’s own groceries and also accept a dreadfully low standard of quality in the produce, meats and bakery sections. Plus, I’ve just heard one too many stores about mice in the fridges and freezers there. I’m done with Superstore. Unless they change radically, my money is on Costco. Which brings me too…
I am one big, huge fan of Costco. If you’ve got real estate in the newer areas of SE Calgary, you have two options for your bulk shopping: Costco at Deerfoot Meadows or Costco in Okotoks. If I’m going in the off hours to Costco, I’ll go to Deerfoot Meadows because it’s a quicker drive. But if you’re thinking about hitting Costco on Friday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday, making the drive to Okotoks is always worth it! You can actually push your cart around there and not be mauled by angry bargain hunters. I buy all of my dry goods there, and especially my meat. I love the high quality there with low prices. I like that, unlike Superstore, they’re selling high quality goods for discount prices. Superstore seems to be selling the worst crap out there for super-low prices. I find that Costco prices are usually pretty in line with Superstore prices, but Costco’s quality is infinitely better.
I don’t buy produce, milk or bakery items here. These items are just too big for our family in most cases. Even though we have five kids, they’re not big enough yet to consume most of this stuff before it goes bad. Even though I have a lot of faith in Costco, I still don’t find that their quality in produce can match the smaller niche stores. So I buy all of my fresh stuff at…
Safeway at 130th
I.LOVE.SAFEWAY! Especially the location at 130th. I especially love Amber who works there, knows my name, and goes out of her way to help me when I’m there. She’s been working for Safeway for like 20 years or something like that! Many of the clerks know me, and many of them go out of their way for me. There is something to be said for loyalty to a grocery store. I know my isles; I know my prices, and I can find a deal even though Safeway usually has a premium price on everything. If you make use of the air miles deals and/or do their 10% Tuesdays shopping, and use your Safeway Club Card, you’ll be able to shop at Safeway and not break the bank.
In this store, I only shop the perimeter. Buying anything from the middle is just too expensive compared to what you can get at Costco. I only shop in the middle if I really need something and I know I’m not doing a Costco run very soon. Being a produce connoisseur, my humble opinion is that you’re not going to find better, fresher, choicer produce anywhere in the SE. Safeway consistently has the best produce. Sure, there’s the odd time where quality slips a bit, but overall it’s the most consistently fresh produce of all others. I also appreciate that they offer to walk your groceries out if you ever have more than 2 bags. Being fully pregnant at times in the past with 4 kids in tow, I have often used this excellent option. Comparable other options would be…
Sobeys at McKenzie Towne, Sobey’s at Cranston and Co-Op at 130th
I lump these all into one because they are only a second option for me. The produce is far better than Superstore, but nowhere near as good as Safeway. Service is better than Superstore, but nowhere near as good as Safeway. I never use Co-Op because it’s not convenient, but I often go to Cranston Sobey’s or McKenzie Towne Sobey’s if I have to grab something quick while Faithy-bear is at Ballet, or if I am on the way home from picking up the boys from school. It’s OK there, at best.
I’m, personally, very excited to see what will come when Seton begins its development of commercial space. I’ll update the blog then to include anything offered in there!
The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736