At the end of 2013, Ryan and I decided that we were going to make a commitment to stop shopping at Walmart, and start shopping at a local grocery store, instead, and see what happened. The reasons were varied, but they boiled to one point…you just don’t feel good about yourself when you’re at Walmart.
So, we’ve been a whole month without setting foot in that giant store (New Year’s Eve morning was the last time I was there). And, for the most part, it’s been very liberating. I like shopping at Schnucks…the employees are friendlier, the store is calmer, and, for the most part, the quality of the items is better.
I say for the most part because I’ve run into one problem at Schnucks…buying meat. From beef to chicken to pork, the meat is quite a bit more expensive, which I figured it would be. But, we’ve also found that surprisingly, the quality is less, and I can’t even get all of the cuts of meat I was used to purchasing (frequently) at Walmart.
The meat department is the only one that I can say that about. The produce department has better quality fruits and vegetables, and, for the most part, the prices are comparable. Same goes for dairy and frozen, and even when the prices are higher, I don’t mind it, because I feel that I’m getting better quality food.
But the meat department leaves something to be desired. So what do we do?
I think we’ve decided that once a month, I’ll go to Walmart and buy all of the meat we need for the month. The beef brisket I make every year on the Fourth of July is only available at Walmart, anyway, so I already knew I’d have to go there and buy meat at some point…it wasn’t ever going to be a complete divorce from the store (I also knew that I will continue buying the girls’ tights there, because they honestly have the best quality, most durable tights I’ve ever found). This is going to further change how we budget and shop, because I’m going to need to figure out what we need ahead of time, or base our meals on whatever it is that I’ve already bought. I think it’s a good compromise though…I’ll still be shopping at Walmart very rarely, and still patronizing Schnucks as much as possible, but I’ll also be able to get the things we need.
I don’t mind paying more for better quality and better service. Even though we had to rework the grocery budget a bit, and change what kind of things we buy, I was happy to do that to receive those things from Schnucks in return…and have the knowledge that I was supporting a local business. But I can’t see paying more money for something of a lesser quality. So, Walmart hasn’t completely released us from its grasp. But, if I ever find a store with higher quality meat (that is in the realm of affordability), you can believe that I’ll be shopping there instead!