Dear Grocery Stores R Us
They say [who?] the ultimate way to judge any BYU student is where they shop for groceries. My coworkers and I were recently involved in a discussion on whether Macey's was cheaper (in general) than Smith's or vice versa. So which is it? Not including fuel costs to drive to the Provo Smith's or Provo Macey's, which grocery store tends to be cheaper to shop at in general? Is the difference negligible?
-A Savvy Student Shopper
The superior store is obviously Costco. The day I bought a membership there is the day my life changed.
Sipping my milk in bulk as I look down on peasants who don't shop at Costco,
Okay, but to actually answer your question, they're pretty comparable. It depends on exactly what you're buying, but I've spent a lot of time shopping at both stores, and haven't found there to be a huge difference. Sometimes Smith's has more expensive produce, but then they have less expensive bread and milk. Or sometimes Macey's has more expensive peanut butter, but less expensive granola bars. In my experience, the difference tends to even out, so I usually just go to whichever one is closest, unless I want to buy something specific and I know it's usually cheaper at one store.
P.S. If you haven't had the soft serve ice cream cones at Macey's, do yourself a favor and go buy like five of them. They're super cheap, and huge, and one of the few places I've found in Provo that has both chocolate and vanilla soft serve.
Dear Dog of Wisdom,
Maceys? Smiths? While these stockpilers of standard quite complete quotidian questions of sustenance, there is another purveyor of produce and pragmatic foods you'd ignore at your penniless peril.
Enter Rancho Markets. Located just a few blocks north of Maceys, this supermarket is my vision of joy incarnate. They've got most of the things you'd want at a normal supermarket, but have a number of fascinating offerings you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Provo, particularly in one location.
They have a tortilleria, a Mexican bakery, and products from not only Mexico but Central and South America. Chuño, chicha morada, frozen guanabana paste, fresh jackfruit, nopal cactus pads, prickly pears, persimmons, mangoes, dried chiles in bulk—perhaps you can see why I value this place.
Here's a link to their weekly ad, which is also easy to search online.
In particular, you can find some absurd deals now and again on things that tend to be expensive other places, including things like avocados (this week, three small aguacates for a dollar), spinach, plantains, and others. I've had friends say they feel like the produce at Rancho is sketchy or weird; while I'll concede their produce is sometimes cosmetically blemished, the taste and quality have been perfectly fine. Also, I think we should be cool with eating uglier produce.
In the end it's to each their own, but as for me and my Rancho, we once had the following conversation:
Rancho Market: Hey guess what pomegranates are 2 for a dollar.
Me: Did... did you just say
Me: **buys 37 pomegranates before Rancho Market can realize what a terrible mistake they've made**
Me, later: now what
P.S. Rancho, I know you later dropped your prices to four pomegranates per dollar, and I'm sorry I didn't stop in. I was weak and confused, Rancho. Please, take me back. The skies could again rain crimson jewels of sweetness, but I can't do this alone...