Monday, June 28, 2010

How I Grocery Shop - Store Clearance With Pictures!

Another favorite grocery shopping trick is to check out the store clearance items. These "finds" are often my favorite part of shopping because it's such a delight to come home with an uexpected sweet deal.

Some stores have a clearance section, just mark items where they are on the shelf, or a combination of both.

At my QFC there are several markdown sections. One is in the refrigerated lunchmeat & cheese area. Another is at one end of the meat department. There is also a bakery markdown shelf a few aisles down from the bread and a general merchandise markdown shelf near the pharmacy. All of these are in the back of the store.

At Fred Meyer, it's a similar situation. The meat department has a little corner clearance area and there are general merchandise and bakery markdown racks, too. At Fred Meyer the deli cheese & meat doesn't have a designated spot, but the clearance items are tagged and left in their regular display spots. The markdown salad, refrigerated 'produce' items and organic items are also left in their displays. Freezer markdowns are usually on the top shelf of the endcap freezer case nearest the meat deparment.
Clearance tags at Fred Meyer & QFC have the same orange & yellow Kroger markdown tags and look like this:

Fred Meyer has additional "50% off original price" tags that are big orange circles:

At Target the clearance sections for every non-clothing department are usually on endcaps. These are on the end of an aisle pointing away from the front of the store. In the refrigerated cases there is usually a clearance shelf in the last cold case toward the back of the store. The Target clearance stickers look like this:

Albertson's has a big variety of stickers depending on where the item is. Also Albertson's stores vary pretty widely about where they locate their clearance items. This sticker is pretty standard. It'll be on pre-packaged meats & cheese - pretty much anything in that vicinity - and it's really easy to spot.

These red mark-down stickers are on the "fancier" deli items like refrigerated pasta & soft cheese. I think the general meat markdowns also have these. Sorry for the poor picture quality - I used my cell phone at the store.

Next, these "Clearance Item" tags are on non-perishable food items. Some Albertson's have big clearance racks that are filled with these tags and related items and you won't find too many of these tags in the aisles (Redmond). Some Albertson's have a tiny clearance shelf and more of these tags will be in the aisles (Bellevue). The Woodinville store has a good mix. My preference is the Redmond store so I can see all the clearance stuff in one place and do my "perimeter" shopping quickly. If I decide to walk through the aisles loooking for the tags the shopping takes much longer. Again, this is cell phone photo.

Safeway's clearance section is usually in the back near the doors to the stockroom for non-perishable items and a small section of the deli case (knee height) for meat & cheese. There is often an additional freezer markdown area on the bottom shelf of a freezer case near the meat deparment. They have bright orange tags that clearly mark the original price. Safeway also has white "% Off" tags for markdown meat, too - sorry no photo of the white tags.

Lastly, this is a Walgreen's markdown sticker. I happened to have this so I thought I'd include it. (P.S. This was only $0.09 because I had a $1.00 off manufacturer's coupon!)

Grocery shopping on clearance is just like any other clearance shopping. Some items are great deals and some are on clearance for a reason. Just use your discretion, know what a good price really is, and have fun hunting!
Tomorrow I'll put all the grocery shopping together and show you a whole week's worth of shopping.


  1. Wow! You're a journalistic photographer!

    Happy birthday, photographer!

    - Ed

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So, what do you think?