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Big-Box Stores. Love em or hate em?

July 20th, 2005, 09:06 PM
The giant discount stores such as Home Depot, Costco, and the grand-daddy of them all - WalMart - are a mixed blessing, arent they?

Many shoppers, including myself, have a love/hate relationship with them.
Convenient and fast in our busy times, its great to find everything all under one roof, and to feel confident the prices are very competive.
But - they can be SO exasperating if you need any help, have questions.
An "associate" may be called to assist, but I've left some of these stores before one ever arrived. Just skip it! At those times, I feel angry - wondering why I spend my cash in a store that seems to care so little for its customers :mad:

Also, these mega-stores are criticized by some as corporate retail bullies, steamrolling competitors and annihilating the small mom-and pop businesses who simply cant compete with the lower prices.

Shopping trends changes for a reason though,and we're a busy bunch. The trade-off for the personal service and individual attention that small stores provide is one that is clearly worth it to many - judging from their popularity and success of these mega-stores.

I wondered what you think of them?
And, do you still patronize small, privately run businesses - bakeries, meat markets, hardware and drug stores and so on?

I must admit I dont - other than for clothing.
I step into the giant cavernous warehouses - with my giant industrial-sized shopping cart - for practically everything. Take the good with the bad. :)

July 20th, 2005, 09:29 PM
hmm could go on and on here...

The one I hate the most is Reno-Depot because they don't even answer their phone.....EVER!! :evil: :evil:

July 20th, 2005, 09:53 PM
(hangs head in shame) Yeah, I shop at those big, nasty stores all the time. Sorry, but I'm beyond broke right now and can't afford to pay more at the mom & pop places. I only shop at the little places if they have something that no one else has.

July 20th, 2005, 10:33 PM
Hate em with a passion

Refuse to shop at WalMart ugh

July 20th, 2005, 10:48 PM
I don't shop at Walmart, because nothing in there lasts long. I don't shop at Home Depot because I have never met a nice employee there. I do however LOVE Reno-Depot. I practically grew up there. My dad is Mr fixit, so we would always stop there on the way to anywhere. In case some of you don't know it, it's Home Depot, but cheaper, better and with great staff. I think out west they're starting to open (The Building Box?)

And Costco? I love Costco. I get my milk there-- it's $1 cheaper a bag (that's 4 litres in 3 little bags for you all who have gallon plastic jugs...). I get my Kleenex there, paper towels, pig ears for the doggies, spinach ($5 for 5 lbs), my eggs (also a dollar cheaper), gum, oh the possibilities are endless!! I even got my bathroom sink there. The tap too. I love it. It's so much cheaper and generally, the buyers for Costco only buy good quality products (except for the Iams). Even their diamonds are Canadian diamonds. And for a student on a budget? It's great.

July 20th, 2005, 11:31 PM
And Costco? I love Costco. I get my milk there-- it's $1 cheaper a bag (that's 4 litres in 3 little bags for you all who have gallon plastic jugs...). It's great.

With regards to the milk, my Grand-Mother recites this off everytime someone questions her costco membership fee "We drink so much milk in the year that the lower price of milk alone is enough to pay off our membership for the year" ya, we LOVE costco around here!

Walmart is definately UGH but I do shop there, the convenience is unbeatable...although sometimes the product quality is bad and the staff quality is vitually non-existent! Oh well, the convenience and low prices are enough to keep most shoppers coming back...

July 21st, 2005, 12:41 AM
quote 'I get my milk there-- it's $1 cheaper a bag (that's 4 litres in 3 little bags for you all who have gallon plastic jugs.'

now truly WTF, how do you get milk in a bag?? is it powdered milk???? that one threw me, milk in a bag, oh boy there is some freaky stuff in this world eh!!!!!!!

so is it a strong bag????

we dont have to many of those stores, we have kmart which i assume is our version of walmart, i like kmart, i find most of thier stuff good quality but i oftne find you dont save much money, just because they are known to be cheap ppl assume they are, but oftne i have found cheaper in smaller places....

we dont have anything called big box stores (is that like that place marge simpson went with apoo when he was fired from quickymart, :D they had giant bottles and stuff).. :D ...

July 21st, 2005, 01:12 AM
Yeah.. uh .. you know that part about steamrolling the competition? Well.. There is nothing left here but such places. We quite literally have a Wal-mart and a Lowe's Home Improvement Store. Then there are lots of convenience stores and gas stations... But I can't think of one single Mom & Pop store left. They all closed over the last 10 or 15 years. :(

I truly despise Wal-mart and refused to let my shadow cross their doorway for many many many years until we ended up in this town. Trust me - I complain every day that we have no where else to buy groceries or anything else.

July 21st, 2005, 02:48 AM
Costco great and same with home depot but walmart, the service there is the worst and Zellers is just a mess so you can never find anything.

July 21st, 2005, 06:40 AM
quote 'I get my milk there-- it's $1 cheaper a bag (that's 4 litres in 3 little bags for you all who have gallon plastic jugs.'

now truly WTF, how do you get milk in a bag?? is it powdered milk???? that one threw me, milk in a bag, oh boy there is some freaky stuff in this world eh!!!!!!!

so is it a strong bag????

Mel, the milk in a bag is just that, liquid milk in a bag. Hmmmm, how to describe the bag. They are about 4 inches in width, 3in deep, and about 9 inches tall and hold about 1-1/3 litres. They fit inside a special made pitcher. You place it in, cut a small corner off the bag, and pour. We've had them in Canada for as long as I can remember. I did see that a search of "bagged milk" appears as a discussion item on many other BB's. Looks like it might only be a product in Canada and parts of the States.

July 21st, 2005, 07:22 AM
I like going to Walmart for the prices I have to admit they seem to have some bizzare cheapo brands of non-perishable food that I have never seen before. The worst thing for me about going there is it is so busy and people just park their carts in the middle of the aisle and you can't get by. I try to be polite by really it is hard and they act like they have no clue what they are doing. Also when you buy clothes there you take two or three sizes more than you usually do whats up with that?

We have MTF warehouse in BC. There pretty cheap sell a lot of liquidation items, and expired food (yum) its a no frills store that has everything from toys to electronics. Not near as big as Walmart. You can usually get some pretty good deals in there sometimes.

July 21st, 2005, 07:30 AM
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that milk doesn't come in bags where you live Mel?

I'm guilty of doing the majority of my shopping at the big guys. With one income, we just can't afford to go to the smaller guys to shop. It's sad really because I remember so well the little shops that we went to when I was a kid and almost all of them have had to close.

July 21st, 2005, 08:25 AM
I shop at Costco about twice a month,LOVE it,meat(yes I eat meat!)excellent prices,first grade meat,coffee,cheese,paper-products,detergent etc....oh and my choclate-bars,I buy a box of 28,for my one a day choclate-bar diet :D
I also choose Home Depot over Rona/Lansing for a couple of reasons.Last year I bought 1 liter of Blue stain from R/L,this year they would only sell me 4 liters..which I did not need.No problems getting it at Home Depot.Rona/Lansing is also more expensive for the same products and that is usually a very important factor.
We go there for any home-improvment products,I find them very friendly and helpful.
We actually do not have any small mom/pop hardwarestores anymore.

July 21st, 2005, 08:58 AM
Depending on the item I will go to the Big Box stores (Home Depot, Kent Building Supply (similiar to HD, Rona, etc), Wal-Mart, and the like or to the smaller independant stores. There is a small family run meat shop nearby that I buy much of my meat at. Their beef (antibiotic and hormone free) is far superior to anything I've ever purchased at Sobey's, Superstore, etc.

July 21st, 2005, 09:16 AM
We tend to go to where it is cheapest in a lot of cases, but that being said, if I've gone to an independant store and have been blown away, I'll usually go there regardless of the price. I remember buying something at a bike shop, and someone suggested I could get it cheaper at Walmart. I told them yes, but it's the service I like. Same thing with car repairs. If I find a good mechanic, I'll gladly pay a little extra if I know I'm not gong to be banging my head off the wall later. I consider it a "happiness tax".

That being said, I don't avoid the big box stores just because they are evil. Unfortunatly, I can't afford to avoid the cheaper places just because they are evil.

July 21st, 2005, 10:21 AM
Well, I'm right there with ya Mel, I've NEVER seen milk in a bag either.

We have those stores around where I live, but it's the sheer aggrevation that keeps me outa there. We don't have a Costo, but we do have a BJ's, however, I have no need for 18 boxes of pasta, 25lbs of cheese, 250 hotdogs, or 12 boxes of cereal.

as for WalMart... I REFUSE to stand in line for more than 30 minutes, which is usually the wait time at WalMart here.

Home Depot I like, however, I do think they are overpriced on alot of material. (I like their plant garentee though, if you buy a plant, and it dies in a year, bring it back w/ receipt for a full refund)

July 21st, 2005, 11:54 AM
Put me in the group that's never seen (or even heard of) milk in a bag. When I read that I was like - WTF???? So Mel's post expressing my exact thought cracked me up! :D

We don't have any of the big box stores (yes, like the one Marge & Apoo went to) here, but I do belong to Sam's Club and we shop at the one in Ogden, Utah when we go to the big city. I normally only buy my laundry detergent and dishwasher soap there. You have to watch the prices there though - just because it's in a giant package doesn't mean that it's actually cheaper. As far as local shopping - we only have one grocery store in my town (12,000 people) and they suck. They are charging higher prices for inferior quality and don't carry alot of choices. They know that they have everyone over a barrel, so they think they can do whatever they want. If we ever get another grocery store (we used to have 3) they will be sorry for the way that they have treated their customers. Half the time you can't even buy any milk there because they don't stock enough. The town that I work in has 3 grocery stores and Walmart is one of them. I do shop in Walmart but I hate it and I complain every time - especially while I'm standing in line or when I find half the isles blocked. We are getting a Home Depot and I'm sure that it will negatively effect the little hardware stores but maybe it will make our local lumberyards lower some of their outrageous prices.

As a culture, I think we have traded customer service for convenience. I am willing to pay more for better service when it's available. Here in the boondocks, sometimes you don't get the choice.

July 21st, 2005, 12:46 PM
Love Costco...hate Wal-Mart with a passion.

The main difference for me is how they treat their workers and their general business philosophy. There was a nice comparison of the 2 in the Seattle Times about 6 months ago. Basically went like:

Wal-Mart's priorities are 1. Shareholders...2. Customers...3. Employees.

Costco's are 1. Employees...2. Customers...3. Shareholders.

That said, I shop at local places when possible. I'd rather support the little guy.

July 21st, 2005, 02:49 PM
I knew some people would never have seen milk bags. Thanks so much Dogastrophe for posting a pic. I had no clue how I was going to answer that one...

As for supporting the little guy-- I pay for service more than anything else. If I don't get proper service once, I get stubborn and never come back. So like in the case of Woofer's in DDO. They give me incredible service. "The customer is always right" kind of service. And I don't go anywhere else.

Oh and jjgeonerd, Costco here pays $9.50 an hour, while Walmart is still $7.50 (minimum wage, I believe).

July 21st, 2005, 02:58 PM
Costco v. Wal-Mart. This is the article which I was referring to. I think there was also another more in-depth one, but I can't find it.

July 21st, 2005, 03:02 PM
Hate them. I prefer small stores - a pharmacy that is a pharmacy etc. Frankly I have found the prices to be better in many cases and certainly the service.

July 21st, 2005, 03:04 PM
Wow-- this quote from that article really hit me-
Costco wouldn't have to raise salaries with Kerry's proposal to increase the minimum wage to $7 an hour, from $5.15 now. It already pays hot-dog vendors as much as $16 an hour, and the lowest wage it pays is $10 an hour.

That's higher than the $9.96 average wage paid at discount stores bearing the Wal-Mart name. Sam's Club spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart declined to provide wage information for the warehouse unit.

July 21st, 2005, 03:16 PM
Hate them. I prefer small stores - a pharmacy that is a pharmacy etc. Frankly I have found the prices to be better in many cases and certainly the service.

I agree totally. Besides, price isn't always everything. Unless that is all a person can afford of course.

July 21st, 2005, 04:58 PM
well ill be damed, how amazing, i ahve never seen such a thing and will print up the pic of the mik to show everyone today, its going to blow theri minds. :D how bizzzarrrreeeeee....

no here milk only comes in plastic bottles (recyclable), you can get up to 4ltr in the bottle, hey it was only 10yrs ago they stopped delivering glass milk bottled to the door.....or youcan buy it in tins, that is it is powder form and you mix with water......

thanks dogastrope very cool and will definatly be a big conversation topic today, oh man thats too freaky :D :angel:

July 21st, 2005, 05:32 PM
I can't wait to tell everyone about the bags of milk!

I don't buy too much at Sam's Club just because there are only two of us - and I still have quite a bit of the last jar of peanut butter I bought there. :)

July 21st, 2005, 06:24 PM
I hate Walmart for that reason also,to crowded no one moves,and nothing agaginst kids but out here Walmart is packed witht them,and it seems none of them have manners,hate WALMART,LOVE TARGET............

July 21st, 2005, 09:26 PM
I wish you all could have bags of milk. They're so much easier to handle than the huge heavy jugs. They used to even make little cutters that clipped on the side of the carton so you just put the bag in and snip!

And when you catch your man drinking from the full bag, at least you know it'll be empty soon, not in a week.

July 21st, 2005, 09:32 PM
Wait until they find out about the cheese and gravy fries...

July 21st, 2005, 09:50 PM
And don't forget, if you cut the top of your used milk bag, wash it out, and dry it, it's the perfect size for a sandwich! My mom used to save ALL her plastic milk bags. Why not? THey are thick and perfect for so many things. Also, if you have one of those vacumn sealer machines, they are compatible and you can re-use the milk bag that way as well!

July 22nd, 2005, 01:25 AM
ah schwinn, we saw the chips with cheese and gravy a while baxck, and i jsut want to say oh my god what heart atack potential, i did ask at the time if it was standard for canadians to have a defibrilator on the kitchen wall :D

i eat potato chips with gravy yuuuummmm, but certainly no cheese curds, oMG bizzzaaarrreeee but then i come form a country that eats lamingtons and meat/anything pies with pastry on top and bottom so i cant talk.... :eek:

hey in australia a meat pie only has to have 15% meat content by law, the rest can be what you like, pig trotters are very common fillers, oh yeah just nice... blah :eek:

July 22nd, 2005, 10:37 AM
What are "pig trotters"? Do I even want to know? :sick:

July 22nd, 2005, 01:23 PM
I'm thinking it's thier feet. Or the pigs that aren't quite full grown at the pig races.

July 22nd, 2005, 02:12 PM
I'm thinking it's thier feet. Or the pigs that aren't quite full grown at the pig races.

Where do you come up with these things??? I bet your wife has to wear ear plugs so that she won't have to walk around with wet pants all the time.

I had to ask my mom and my husband both last night if they'd heard of bags of milk - both of them looked at me like I'd finally cracked. :p

We'll all have to get together and we can have milk in a bag, poutine and of course some Rocky Mountain Oysters! :crazy:

July 22nd, 2005, 03:43 PM
LOL I thought pig trotters were pigs with the runs... :D

We'll all have to get together and we can have milk in a bag, poutine and of course some Rocky Mountain Oysters!
Oooh, some beaver tails, too. Some "tire" (boiled maple syrup on snow). :D We have to have an annual barbeque!!!

May 15th, 2006, 01:06 PM
I recently got some cat food from MTF discount thinking it was a good deal. When I finally got it in about 2 weeks, I open the can and notice a foul odour from the food. I didn't want to feed my cat with it so I tried another can, it was the same. I've check the expiry date and notice it expired a year ago. Very upset I've call those *******s for selling expired products but they just ignored me claiming that was impossible and told me to ship all the products back. After a long argument I agreed to ship it back, but I didn't hear from them after three and a half weeks. After that I've called them but they claim that don't know of anything about the expired cat food, and that they never got anything shipped from me. Those sleazy *******s robbed me! I'm thinking twice about their good deals now!

May 15th, 2006, 01:30 PM
I wouldn't ever buy pet food from anywhere with discount in the title, let alone a grocery store or a walmart.. Most people here wouldn't..
You get what you pay for though.

May 15th, 2006, 01:32 PM
Ya'll know this thread is almost a year old right ?;)

May 15th, 2006, 01:44 PM
Yeah I saw it was bumped.. but just had to reply to the post that bumped it..

May 15th, 2006, 01:53 PM
Well the past two times I went to the superstore I did huge shop - and spend 350.00 the first run and 175.00 the second run plus it took me about 2 hours each time - because stuff is from one end of the store to the next and you got to bag your own groceries too. Now I have so much fruits and vegtables I am not sure if its all going to keep until next shopping day - I hate to threw it out - next time I think I will just buy less veggies - oh well all the more for the compost!!

There is a smaller grocery store near us - that is quite competitive but cant compete with the big box stores - at least there I know where everything is and can get in and out in less than an hour usually.

May 15th, 2006, 03:35 PM
There's rotten food in every store... I've found rotten stuff in Costco (they're usually the freshest), pharmacies, grocery stores, etc etc.. I'm an expiry date hound so I never bring it home with me, but a lot of people don't look. I mean, it's the responsibility of the store to remove it, but that doesn't mean you have to shop with your eyes shut either.;)

May 15th, 2006, 03:50 PM
You and me both Prin,I always check,no matter what I buy.
Ever since I bought a bag of choclate-bars and it was 2yrs passed the expiry-date.
I also once bought a can of cat-food and it had crawlies in it,no idea how they got in there,but they looked like small maggots,made me sick:yuck: