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Comparative Experience Shopping in the Time of Covid

Comparative Experience Shopping in the Time of Covid
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  • Post #151 - December 21st, 2020, 3:16 pm
    Post #151 - December 21st, 2020, 3:16 pm Post #151 - December 21st, 2020, 3:16 pm
    The only place I have seen a line to get into the store since the governor started limiting the number of people in the stores is Trader Joe's. A friend of mine that likes to shop at the Evanston Aldi's told me a few weeks ago, that she won't go in there on Saturdays anymore because the store is too crowded. After I picked up my small order from Henry Brockman at noon, I drove to the Whole Foods and the Jewel on Green Bay. The Whole Foods had a sign that they have a limit of 150 people, but I highly suspect that they had more than that. I have never seen either that store or their downtown Evanston store limit the number of customers in the store. All of their stores have arrows, but nobody follows them.

    I then went down the street to Jewel, where the crowds were not quite as bad, but were larger than I would have liked. I had a 10% off my shopping trip coupon for getting a flu shot there, and I finally remembered to use it. I bought more than I had intended to because of the coupon. It is strange because I went to the self checkout so I could use my own bags, and when I was ready to total my order, I asked the person in charge at self checkout to scan my coupon, and for some reason my coupon got scanned twice, but I should have gotten $5.70 off both times, but I got $5.44 deducted both times. The person who scanned the coupon has worked there 20+ years, and never screws up.

    They still have the coupons if you get a flu shot there, but the coupons expire on 12/31. On Tuesday I had to go to Sam's Club to pick up a prescription, and there was no line there, but the crowds were not really bad. I only bought two additional items, and so the pharmacy tech agreed to ring them up for me too. I was going to get a box of Swanson chicken broth too, but I did not see them anywhere. They usually have them.
  • Post #152 - December 21st, 2020, 10:00 pm
    Post #152 - December 21st, 2020, 10:00 pm Post #152 - December 21st, 2020, 10:00 pm
    Hi,

    I was in Mariano's in Bannockburn recently. They had pasted by the manager's window a capacity of something like 350. I am not there but maybe once a week, I have never seen half or even 25% capacity. Maybe it is the time of day I visit, I doubt I encounter 50 people.

    Trader Joe's often have smaller footprints and capacity, plus robust patronage. They could easily go over 25% or 50% without much sweat.

    Continental Sales just south of Midway Airport allows no more than 50 customers in their store at any one time. It is larger than any Trader Joe's and it does feel vacant when they restrict the number of visitors.

    I cannot wait for all this to be over.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #153 - December 21st, 2020, 11:51 pm
    Post #153 - December 21st, 2020, 11:51 pm Post #153 - December 21st, 2020, 11:51 pm
    Since Kroger took them over, I don't think Mariano's does nearly as much business as they did when they first opened. There have been a few times I have been at the Northbrook store around 4:00, and the store was not very busy, and there was nobody working in the produce section. Whole Foods and Jewel would have at least two people working in produce at that time, and they are a lot busier. Whole Foods actually was more crowded than Jewel was on Sunday, but there store is not as large.

    I just found out that agricultural workers are in the second group to get a vaccine, and so hopefully my sister and her husband can get theirs next month. I am in the third group, and so hopefully I will get mine in February or March. I can't wait for this to be over.
  • Post #154 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:22 am
    Post #154 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:22 am Post #154 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:22 am
    NFriday wrote:Since Kroger took them over, I don't think Mariano's does nearly as much business as they did when they first opened. There have been a few times I have been at the Northbrook store around 4:00, and the store was not very busy, and there was nobody working in the produce section. Whole Foods and Jewel would have at least two people working in produce at that time, and they are a lot busier. Whole Foods actually was more crowded than Jewel was on Sunday, but there store is not as large.


    For what it's worth, we have been rotating between carry-out/pick-up at Jewel & Mariano's (the Vernon Hills location). There is no charge (I believe) for either. After shopping online--not bad interfaces on both--you drive to the designated parking spot, call the number, and they bring it out & place the bags in the back of our SUV--we usually leave a five dollar bill as a tip. Pretty sweet. And that's why the stores themselves might be less than crowded.

    The only sour part is that at both Jewel and Mariano's, sometimes the substitution decisions are less than smart, occasionally downright toad-like. Early months of the lockdown, the shopper would call and go over the out-of-stock items, and offer subs. Now it's catch as catch can. Once we ordered nova lox and got a fresh salmon fillet. But for free, it's tolerable.
  • Post #155 - December 22nd, 2020, 10:03 am
    Post #155 - December 22nd, 2020, 10:03 am Post #155 - December 22nd, 2020, 10:03 am
    I haven't yet tried pickup from the Vernon Hills Mariano's, so thanks, Jnm, for the description of your experience. Glad to hear it's so smooth.

    I wonder if more people getting groceries this way is reducing the number of people in grocery stores at all. When I've been in grocery stores lately, it seems that half or more of the people there --- usually distinguished by their black clothing or other uniformish look and their moving around quite quickly --- are people gathering groceries for online orders. I guess that when those people are store employees who fill such orders throughout the day rather than shoppers for individual customers, that does reduce the number of people in the store.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #156 - December 22nd, 2020, 11:58 am
    Post #156 - December 22nd, 2020, 11:58 am Post #156 - December 22nd, 2020, 11:58 am
    I have shopped at marianos in bannockburn probably weekly since it opened, and other than a few visits, it has never seemed busy. I have never been able to figure out all the cars in the parking lot because unless there are several dozen behind the scenes employees, which is possible, there are not as many people as cars.

    -Will
  • Post #157 - December 22nd, 2020, 12:27 pm
    Post #157 - December 22nd, 2020, 12:27 pm Post #157 - December 22nd, 2020, 12:27 pm
    WillG wrote:I have shopped at marianos in bannockburn probably weekly since it opened, and other than a few visits, it has never seemed busy. I have never been able to figure out all the cars in the parking lot because unless there are several dozen behind the scenes employees, which is possible, there are not as many people as cars.

    -Will


    We take our dogs to Prairie Wolf most weekends and I always see a lot of cars in the lot as we pass Mariano's and have assumed that it was a crowded store.
  • Post #158 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:20 pm
    Post #158 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:20 pm Post #158 - December 22nd, 2020, 5:20 pm
    You don't see as many large groups of families shopping in Jewel as you used to. When I was there this Sunday at 1:30, I only saw one family there. The rest were individuals or couples. I never see the instacart people at Jewel, but usually I go there in the evening when they probably would not be working, and the last two times I went on Sunday.

    Concerning Mariano's their stores were not very busy even before the pandemic. Before Kroger took them over they used to be crazy busy, and I enjoyed the store more. Their deli and produce sections were way better then. The only good thing about Kroger taking them over is that their sales are lots better than they were. Before the pandemic, I used to be involved with a group that met monthly in Northbrook, and I would stop at the Mariano's store on my way home. Now we meet via Zoom, and I have been to the Skokie store once since the pandemic hit. I don't set foot in a grocery store as often now, and Jewel and Whole Foods are more conveniently located than Mariano's is.
  • Post #159 - February 4th, 2021, 12:18 am
    Post #159 - February 4th, 2021, 12:18 am Post #159 - February 4th, 2021, 12:18 am
    Went to Jerry's Fruit and Garden this afternoon. We've returned to the old pre-pandemic bonkers Jerry's. At least 3 customers rammed their carts into my cart in an effort to get me out of their way. Dozens of employees rolling towering carts loaded with hundreds of pounds of produce through the traffic jam of customers. Somehow both comforting and horrifying at the same time, like being in a train derailment with 99 cent cans of artichokes and 49 cent green beans.

    It may have been Senior Discount Day judging by the apparent ages of the customers. The specific day isn't advertised but everybody seems to know when it is.

    7901 N Milwaukee Ave
    Niles, IL 60714
    (847) 967-1440
  • Post #160 - February 4th, 2021, 12:46 am
    Post #160 - February 4th, 2021, 12:46 am Post #160 - February 4th, 2021, 12:46 am
    I think Jerry's in general gets a lot of seniors. Personally I would not go anywhere near that place during the pandemic. I am sure nobody there is social distancing. I still have some sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips that I got from Henry Brockman, and then I buy fruit at Jewel. I have a bag of oranges I got, and then they have pineapple for $.99, and I have some apples I bought on sale a while back. It takes me 30 minutes to drive to Jerry's anyway, and it is not worth my while to save a few dollars, and deal with the parking lot.
  • Post #161 - February 4th, 2021, 12:59 am
    Post #161 - February 4th, 2021, 12:59 am Post #161 - February 4th, 2021, 12:59 am
    NFriday wrote:Personally I would not go anywhere near that place during the pandemic.

    I was never equipped to handle it even before the pandemic.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #162 - February 4th, 2021, 8:34 am
    Post #162 - February 4th, 2021, 8:34 am Post #162 - February 4th, 2021, 8:34 am
    Yeah, I can see where it wouldn't be justified solely for the cheap stuff. I mostly wanted to get some red serrano peppers, which I've bought there before at this time of year. Sadly, they didn't have any. Still looking for red serranos, suggestions appreciated.

    I did pick up a few unique items: Tannour bread from Al Khyam bakery, tub of halawi dates (Jerry's often has different dates in addition to cheap deglets noors), giant yellow raisins, golden beets, cream crackers, plus a couple of the ever-present ever-fresh extra long Frenches.
  • Post #163 - February 4th, 2021, 10:02 am
    Post #163 - February 4th, 2021, 10:02 am Post #163 - February 4th, 2021, 10:02 am
    tjr wrote:Yeah, I can see where it wouldn't be justified solely for the cheap stuff. I mostly wanted to get some red serrano peppers, which I've bought there before at this time of year. Sadly, they didn't have any. Still looking for red serranos, suggestions appreciated.

    I did pick up a few unique items: Tannour bread from Al Khyam bakery, tub of halawi dates (Jerry's often has different dates in addition to cheap deglets noors), giant yellow raisins, golden beets, cream crackers, plus a couple of the ever-present ever-fresh extra long Frenches.

    No question the place has a great selection -- and also can have some tough to find items -- but shopping those aisles is a nightmare. It's very near my office, so I can't even claim that it's inconvenient.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #164 - February 4th, 2021, 10:29 am
    Post #164 - February 4th, 2021, 10:29 am Post #164 - February 4th, 2021, 10:29 am
    The mayhem of the parking lot and the impossible-to-navigate aisles are a strong deterrent. And it's not even cheap produce, it's fairly-priced lower-grade produce.
  • Post #165 - February 4th, 2021, 3:51 pm
    Post #165 - February 4th, 2021, 3:51 pm Post #165 - February 4th, 2021, 3:51 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:xxx

    yyy
  • Post #166 - February 4th, 2021, 3:54 pm
    Post #166 - February 4th, 2021, 3:54 pm Post #166 - February 4th, 2021, 3:54 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:xxx

    yyy

    zzzz :D

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #167 - February 4th, 2021, 4:00 pm
    Post #167 - February 4th, 2021, 4:00 pm Post #167 - February 4th, 2021, 4:00 pm
    Hi,

    I enjoy my visits to Jerry's.

    I have visited a few times this year. There have been days I could rotate the cart in the middle of an aisle. A feat impossible during normal levels of activity.

    A few times I witnessed Jerry's was metering people in-and-out like you see at Trader Joe's. By most standards, it was crowded though by Jerry's standard it was light.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #168 - February 4th, 2021, 4:03 pm
    Post #168 - February 4th, 2021, 4:03 pm Post #168 - February 4th, 2021, 4:03 pm
    A lot of Jerry's produce is stuff that Jewel and Mariano's won't take, and they get it really cheap. I just hate their parking lot too. They have a lot of older shoppers that should not be driving anymore.

    I was in Sam's Club to pick up a prescription today at noon, and I was surprised how many people were in the store. There was a family with three kids, and all of the kids had their mask pulled down so they could eat. There was also a long line of people trying to check out. I only bought three additional things, and so the person checking me out at the pharmacy agreed to also scan those additional items for me. I could not wait to get out of there.

    I then went to Aldi's, and there was lots of people there too, and they had four registers open. I was able to get my canned pumpkin though, and there was no limit. The crowds at Home Depot and Jewel were not as bad though.
  • Post #169 - February 5th, 2021, 6:53 am
    Post #169 - February 5th, 2021, 6:53 am Post #169 - February 5th, 2021, 6:53 am
    Even though we are technically now in Phase 4, at least for the time being I am adhering to my grocery shopping routine of alternating Jewel & Mariano's pickup because of certain items I can't get at the other--Bagels Forever Onion (Mariano's), Miller Chicken Italian Sausage (Jewel).

    Then about every other Wednesday or Sunday morning 8-9AM, I take advantage of the 60-and-over restriction at the Vernon Hills Trader Joe's. At 8:15 there are rarely more than 10 shoppers in the entire store, a beautiful thing even in non-Covid times.

    And I stock up on TJ's proprietary (and totally disparate) items like their frozen Indian entrees, tandoori naan, organic blueberries, nova lox pieces, pork belly, Furikake seasoning, Electric Buzz K-cups, tamales, frozen chicken teriyaki, cauliflower fried rice. I'm masked (as is everyone else), I know where I need to go, what I need to grab and I'm out of there usually in about 20 minutes.

    This whole thing is about the more you're around other people, the higher probability of contracting. The more you're out, the more you test fate. And even though I'm getting vaccine #1 next Tuesday, I won't change my shopping habits for months, at least.
  • Post #170 - February 6th, 2021, 1:59 pm
    Post #170 - February 6th, 2021, 1:59 pm Post #170 - February 6th, 2021, 1:59 pm
    jnm123 wrote:This whole thing is about the more you're around other people, the higher probability of contracting. The more you're out, the more you test fate. And even though I'm getting vaccine #1 next Tuesday, I won't change my shopping habits for months, at least.

    That has been my exact strategy...Stay away from other people and I shop at off hours.

    I got my first dose of Moderna a couple of weeks ago and go back in a couple of weeks for my second. Hallelujah!! (No side effects at all from the first shot)
  • Post #171 - February 6th, 2021, 3:42 pm
    Post #171 - February 6th, 2021, 3:42 pm Post #171 - February 6th, 2021, 3:42 pm
    I try to shop at Jewel at off hours, but I had to pick up a prescription at Sam's Club on Thursday around noon, and I was hoping it would not be very busy, and there was a mother with three kids in the store, and all three kids had their mask pulled down because they were eating or drinking something, and the line to check out was almost to the back of the store. I got my prescription and three other items, and asked if they could ring them all up at the pharmacy, and they agreed to, and so I probably spent 15 minutes in the store total. The store might have been busy because people wanted to avoid the snow and cold weather.

    I then went to Aldi's to see if they had any canned pumpkin left. They did and there was no limit, but I forgot to bring a quarter for a cart, and so I only got six cans. Four registers were open, and I never see that many open.

    I then went to Home Depot and the crowds were not that bad, but it was starting to snow, and I finally went to Jewel, and the lines were manageable.

    Trader Joe's seems to be the only store limiting the number of people in the store right now. I would go there, but they don't have a lot of the stuff I needed, and plus I had a $21 off coupon at Jewel to use up.
  • Post #172 - February 6th, 2021, 3:50 pm
    Post #172 - February 6th, 2021, 3:50 pm Post #172 - February 6th, 2021, 3:50 pm
    I will be glad too when I am able to get the vaccine. Right now Evanston is vaccinating people 75 or older, and I am over 65, but not that old, and Evanston Hospital is going to start vaccinating people 65 or older, but they have not yet.
  • Post #173 - February 13th, 2021, 4:34 pm
    Post #173 - February 13th, 2021, 4:34 pm Post #173 - February 13th, 2021, 4:34 pm
    Hi- Does anybody here ever go to Valli Produce in Evanston? I was there for the second time since the pandemic started on Wednesday to get some soy flour which they were out of. They did have huge organic red, orange and green peppers on sale for $.69 a pound. They were from Mexico, and usually I don't buy Mexican produce, but they were so cheap. I ended up buying seven of them.

    Both times I have been there they have been more crowded than I would have liked. They did have a sign on the front door reminding people to wear a mask and practice social distancing, but they apparently don't limit the number of people in the store, and the store is only open until 9:00. I find when I go to Jewel at 9:00 or later, the crowds are a lot less. Does Valli have senior hours? I know they did when the pandemic first started. Are there any times where the store is less crowded? I prefer Jewel to Valli anyway, and the only reason I went was because they were the only store in Evanston that carried soy flour. I don't think they carry it anymore.
  • Post #174 - February 13th, 2021, 4:46 pm
    Post #174 - February 13th, 2021, 4:46 pm Post #174 - February 13th, 2021, 4:46 pm
    NFriday wrote:Does Valli have senior hours?

    Details are on the homepage of their website = http://www.valliproduce.com/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #175 - February 13th, 2021, 4:51 pm
    Post #175 - February 13th, 2021, 4:51 pm Post #175 - February 13th, 2021, 4:51 pm
    Valli has senior hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00am-8:00am. I don't think I am going to make it there at 6:00 am. Maybe 7:00am. I am concerned how busy it is on Tuesdays when they have senior day though.
  • Post #176 - February 13th, 2021, 11:38 pm
    Post #176 - February 13th, 2021, 11:38 pm Post #176 - February 13th, 2021, 11:38 pm
    Yeah, Tuesday would not be the day to go, given the exacta of Senior Hours and Senior Discount Day. When looking at whether or not a store is limiting the number of customers, keep in mind that the mandated limit may be pretty high. For example, I was at the Dollar Tree on Harlem just north of Touhy a couple weeks ago. That's a medium-to-large DT, maybe around 10K sq ft, nowhere near the size of a supermarket, and the posted limit was 68 people. At Menards in Gurnee, a pretty darn large store, a sign claimed a limit of over 10,000 customers. That may have been a little John Menard joke, though.

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