On April 1, 2011, the former Piggly Wiggly of Midtown Memphis became a Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet, meaning the end of a nostalgic era. Out of curiosity, I made a couple of visits to the re-christened grocery store to see what it was like, and I came away with a surprise or two.
The biggest surprise is the way Cash Saver prices its items, which I found confusing. The way Cash Saver does it, it marks down everything below average cost, then at the cash register it adds ten percent to the total. For anyone not knowing this and not seeing the small banners displayed on some of the walls near the back of the store, seeing what the total price of his/her purchase with the added ten percent could come as a shocking surprise, especially if it's a huge purchase. For someone to see the price of something, then told later that it costs more can be confusing, so I hope that Cash Saver does a better job at informing the public about its pricing practices. It can start buy displaying banners outside the store that could inform customers about what to expect before they begin their shopping. After buying couple of items like a six-pack of beer and a lunch plate, I didn't see any real savings. For example, my lunch plate, which was charged by the pound, cost me $5.43 with the ten percent fee (the cost was $3.37 a pound, and I got 1.34 lb. of food). Compared to other places like Kroger and Schnucks, this is meager savings at best.
As for the food, the meal that I had was pretty good by grocery store standards. Dining during the lunch rush, I had three fried chicken drumsticks with au gratin potatoes and collard greens for sides. The fried chicken was decent in an average kind of way, for it tasted the same as many other places that I've been to, including The Little Tea Shop and The Cupboard. The side items, on the other hand, made a good impression on me for they were delicious. The au gratin potatoes were very cheesy and seasoned with black pepper that made it flavorful. The collard greens had a nice mild taste, and I'm guessing that Cash Saver uses just a little bit of vinegar to give a slight sweetness to it. Both "sides" complemented the chicken well, and was worth waiting the several minutes to pay the lone woman working the deli for my order. Overall, I was impressed, for I didn't expect a pleasing meal from a "discount" grocery store.
From my experiences at Cash Saver, I found the food to be pretty good by grocery store standards but everything else, including and especially the prices, average. Even though Cash Saver stresses that customers can save on grocery shopping there, other stores offer similar savings in a much less confusing manner. With regards to its nearby competitors Kroger and Schnucks, both stores offer discount services that customers, with the aid of a bar-coded card, can use to purchase select items on the cheap. And unlike Cash Saver, the discounted price is displayed with the item, so the customer can quickly assess the value of the potential purchase. With this being an easier way to shop, I believe most customers will choose the "discount card" method over Cash Saver's pricing policy. However, I've been wrong in the past and Cash Saver might win over a significant share of the grocery market. Only time will tell.
UPDATE (July 26, 2013): Since writing this, Cash Saver has greatly expanded its beer offerings that includes many craft brews. Brands like Ghost River, Sam Adams, Dogfish Head and many others are available and can be purchased singularly (in six-packs) or as a combination of different beers. Also, the grocery store sells craft beer on tap in growlers, which are large jars that can either be bought from the store or elsewhere. This service is fully supported by staff trained to answer any questions pertaining to its beer offerings. Personally, I like getting beer growlers because they cost less than a six-pack and of the satisfaction of helping the environment by reusing my glass containers. By the way, in addition to the growler that's shown here, Cash Saver (actually Madison Growler & Bottle Shop) also sells smaller growlers for who love the taste of craft beers but can't afford a costly six-pack. Regardless of how you get your beer, you will save money by getting it at Cash Saver.
Labels: Beer, Gas Station/Convenience Store, Midtown, Soul Food
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