Avoiding Safeway

Buying Locally Offers Better Prices & Selection

Avoid Safeway

I avoid Safeway as much as possible. I used to think I didn’t have much of a choice for buying groceries. Now I’m learning that there are plenty of options that beat chain grocery stores for both price & selection.

Growing up in a nuclear family, I always thought that big grocery stores were necessary to supply my house with staples. Mom made the weekly trip to Stater Brothers or Alpha Beta and collected Blue Chip Stamps to save up for free appliances, long before the days of club cards. It seemed like back then, there were more major grocery stores as well as plenty of small markets you could choose from.

Nowadays, in San Francisco, you’re pretty much limited to Safeway and the Vons that’s out on Sloat. Calla Foods closed up a couple years ago. So are we stuck buying groceries from huge national chains that truck in supplies lord-knows-where and set prices however they please? Hell No!

San Francisco has plenty of small mom-pop markets with much better selection of produce, meats, and seafood than the Mega Marts. You just have to be willing to look for them.

While Safeway charges fifty cents per lime, my corner market sells them ten for a dollar. El Chico markets have wonderful produce and a fantastic meat counter too. I frequent the one on Mission in the Excelsior but they have locations all over town. Chain grocery stores also tend to have a very limited seafood selection. Try J.R. Seafood on BayView or Mission Meat & Poultry Market at 22nd & Mission for unbeatable quality, price and selection. In fact, Mission Poultry only sells sushi-grade fish. Your neighborhood Asian market is also going to be a great place to pick up fresh seafood. My favorite butcher, also at 22nd & Mission is Mission Meat Department. The staff is always so friendly and ready to offer recipe suggestions. They carry a variety of delicious hand-made sausages, too.

The best part about avoiding Safeway is that I am supporting local businesses and directly affecting the local economy. I may have to make a few more stops, but in my opinion, I get a much richer shopping experience and the access to greater variety of foods that chain stores just don’t carry.

I’ve listed a few of my favorite stores. I’d love to hear where you shop, whether or not you’re in San Francisco.

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9 responses to “Avoiding Safeway

  1. If I’m looking at walking distance (1/2 mile or less), Safeway is the only store, period. There are no local meat markets and my El Chico doesn’t have a meat counter.

    The one local Chinese seafood store… well most of the signs in the store aren’t in english, and most of the employees don’t speak english either. It’s just not worth the effort to try to figure out what you’re buying and how much it costs.

    At least Safeway has a fish counter with employees that speak english, and will even answer questions about which seafood is sustainable.

    I’d prefer to walk to a local nonchain store, but it’s not a reasonable option in my location (Central Sunset near Noriega).

  2. Good point, Seven. I wasn’t thinking about this from a non-driving viewpoint. I have a car.

  3. Yeah but what about milk, bread? Cotsco seems the cheapest for both… can’t stand Safeway though

  4. just darn convenient though!

  5. @seven – I know which Safeway you’re talking about. Actually, you’re not that far from a nice produce market at 22nd Ave. and Irving. Yeah, it’s probably a few blocks for you, but I’ve walked that route many times 🙂

    As for the Asian market, you can wade through most of the produce and meats without needing a translator.

    Also, being near Noriega, you’re close to one of the best Asian BBQ shops in the Bay Area – It’s called “cheung hing” – http://www.yelp.com/biz/cheung-hing-chinese-restaurant-san-francisco

  6. Thanks for the comment! I do like going to Safeway so I can get my Alaska Airline miles that’s for sure. 🙂 I’m really looking to being able to buy at least produce this summer at a farmer’s market.

    Another great place to look for different stuff is at the Latino markets. I’m not sure if you have any around there but my mom has been able to find some great deals.

    Have a great day and thanks again for the comment! 🙂

  7. @smilinshell1 – Yeah, El Chico is a Mexican Market and it kicks some major ass. There are a bunch in the Mission. They’re usually epecially good for Safeway.

  8. We have some produce and meat places on Taraval, but I end up at the [now] Lucky on Sloat a lot. I try to only buy stuff on sale there, though, unless I really need it. The Daly City TJ’s is good for ‘green’ cleansers and some other stuff, they have Niman Ranch for cheaper than the luxury grocery stores.
    Safeway is good for the occasional deep discount on beer or liquor [comparable to or cheaper than costco if you get it the right week].
    I’ll have to try to hit up the indie places more. I make a good effort in most other areas.

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