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How to shop the Shaw’s reduced sections – and what to do if you get something yucky!

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Reduced Refrigerated Produce at Shaw's in Sanford, ME


I have been shopping in the Sanford Shaw’s reduced sections for several months now.  I often post about my finds and even take photos to share with my readers so they can run to Shaw’s if they see anything they like.

I love, love, LOVE that Shaw’s offers reduced food AND that they let us use manufacturer coupons on the reduced items (and the coupons still double!!!).  By shopping for reduced food, I have saved mega bucks! I get free eggs, free milk, free cheese, free hummus, free lettuce… let’s just say I get lots of free and super cheap stuff by shopping reduced. But, shopping the reduced sections is not always a perfect experience. I know this first hand.

My Very Rotten Potato

Last October, I picked up a 10 pound bag of potatoes in reduced produce for $2 (you can see that shopping trip here). The potatoes were in the original paper bag, so I could not check the quality. When I opened the bag, one potato was sooooo rotten… that… that… that… it had maggots all over it.  Yes, it did.  Lots of them.  For some odd reason, the potato did not stink.  But man, was it rotten.

I took the entire bag to Shaw’s and showed customer service the little critters. The store manager was not there, but when I spoke to him the next day, I explained what happened and I suggested that next time they have potatoes in the paper bags that they open the bags and sell the potatoes in clear plastic so we can see what we are getting.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen potatoes in a paper bag since.

And if you think I’m nuts for still shopping reduced after the maggot episode, I totally understand that stuff like that happens.  I don’t hold it against Shaw’s. There were absolutely wonderful in the way they handled my buggy ordeal.

My Reader’s Rotten Coconut

A reader on my Deals by Darlene facebook page shared her recent reduced coconut purchase. I had posted that Shaw’s had reduced coconuts for only 25¢. My coconut was perfect (you can see it here). My reader’s coconut was not. Hers was rotten and moldy.

I suggested to my reader that she let Shaw’s know about the coconut because it will help everyone in the long run. The more Shaw’s knows about the quality (or lack of quality) of their reduced items, the more the reduced sections will improve!  I have seen a big improvement in the quality of reduced items over the past few months. That’s probably because they actually listen to my suggestions!

Ways YOU can Help Shaw’s Improve Their Reduced Sections

1. Make suggestions!  I will suggest to Shaw’s (without mentioning any names) that next time they sell reduced coconuts, maybe they can crack the coconuts open, put them on the little green tray, wrap them in plastic wrap then toss them in the refrigerated section of reduced produce instead of on the non refrigerated carts. Then we can see what we are getting and they won’t be putting out bad fruit!

2. Point out the bad stuff!  Whenever I see something in reduced that has gone too far, I point it out to whoever is in charge. I do it nicely. They want to know. They really do. Sometimes they say people buy the overly ripe stuff to feed to their animals. When they say that (and they say it often), I always insist suggest if it’s meant for animals, they need to knock the price down to next to nothing. And now I’m thinking maybe they should start a separate section for overly ripe food for wild stock… if that’s their true intent. Hey, that sounds like a good suggestion!

3. Discuss price with the managers!  For weeks, I was buying potatoes for 29¢ per pound or less in reduced. Then the price suddenly jumped to 59¢ per pound or more and it stayed there for two weeks! On three different occasions I spoke to three different managers and whole-heartedly express my sadness about the price increase. I was spoiled rotten (no pun intended) and wanted my cheap potatoes to be dirt cheap (pun intended). I guess the 3rd time was the charm, because next time I shopped the potatoes were back down to 29¢ with only minor increases in price now and then.

4. Tell them what you want to see in reduced sections!  I have heard through various followers that the Shaw’s in Sanford has just about the best reduced sections around!  If you want your store to offer more reduced items, tell them! Tell them Deals by Darlene wants YOU to get great deals too! And when I post photos of the goodies I find in reduced, print them and show your store manager!  Seriously. You should do that :O)


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