Blogging for Change

Savvy scavengers can save at the salvage grocery store

If you like searching for deals at the dollar stores, maybe it is time to take it to the next level. I recently saw a news story about the growth of sales at salvage grocery stores which take unsaleble stock from traditional stores to sell at a reduced price. I always like the idea of a bargain, so I decided to check one out for myself.

First thing I noticed is that it is not convenient to shop this way. The store closest to my house is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, so I had to drive to a rural town (population: 3,000) to find an open store. Situated on the one and only main drag, the store looked a smaller version of your typical small town supermarket.


Inside was well organized, but with a limited (and eclectic) selection of items that have seen better days. Items were various states of distress: dented, stained, taped together, dusty, open, or crumpled. Don't get me wrong, it's not like there was soup oozing out of the cans or anything! Salvage stores are regulated and inspected; however, expiration dates offered by manufacturers don’t seem to be a concern. I bought some Lime Jello mix with an expiration date of November 18, 2007. Curious, I made and served the Jello after dinner last night (so far so good!) All of the other items I purchased had expiration dates sometime in the future.

So, is putting up with the shabbiness worth it?

That comes to about a 60% savings. I have to admit that when I did the calculation, the dings and dents didn’t look quite so bad! I would certainly recommend following a few rules when shopping salvage such as:

1. Plan your trip because stores have odd hours.
2. Don’t buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy anyway.
3. Check the expiration dates.
4. Wear your rose-colored glasses.

But with those things in mind, savvy scavengers can find some exceptional bargains.