Friday, July 11, 2008

The "Does Wegmans Rule" Experiment Results?

Now that the "Does Wegmans Rule" experiment is complete, we (lacochran & I) thought it would be nice to share the results. For those of you new to this challenge, we asked for volunteers (here and here) to take a checklist to their local grocery store and price the following items:

- 1 dozen large eggs
- 1/2 gallon Bryers vanilla
- 1 pound of bananas
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 box of San Georgio Spaghetti
- 1 1000 sheet roll of Scott toilet tissue
- 1 cup of Dannon Light ‘N Fit yogurt
- 1 12oz. can of Spam luncheon meat

We figured that this would give a wide variety of products that are commonly used. Well, except for Spam because Spam is funny and makes us think of Monty Python.



Our gracious volunteers visited these stores:

- Wegmans in Fairfax, VA
- Harris Teeter – Herndon, VA
- Shopper’s – Alexandria, VA
- Greenbelt Co-op – Greenbelt, MD
- Giant – Alexandria, VA
- Giant – Reston, VA
- Safeway – Fairfax, VA
- Kroger – Atlanta, GA
- Publix – Atlanta, GA

On to the results. We prepared an elaborate spreadsheet and a 20-page PowerPoint presentation to share, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to post it here. Maybe we’ll publish it as part of our dissertation: Sean Learns the Difference Between Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce. Back to the premise of our experiment, does Wegmans rule? The answer is yes. We took the total of the eight items at the DC area stores, and with a total of $12.93, Wegmans had the cheapest prices. Shopper’s finished in second at $13.25 and the Greenbelt Co-op earned the bronze with $13.34. Safeway was the most expensive at $18.09, although we think that the toilet paper priced was possibly a 4-pack and not an individual roll. (If one roll is really $3.35, we’re never going there again.) Even adjusting the price of toilet paper to $1, the total of $15.60 was about $1.35 more than the next most expensive store (Harris Teeter - $14.16, note: they did not sell individual rolls of Scott toilet tissue at Harris Teeter so we plugged in an assumption of $1 for comparison purposes).

What about Atlanta you ask? We say it is a city in Georgia . Oh, you’re wondering about the prices. Both Krogers and Publix do not carry 1000 sheet rolls of Scott toilet tissue or boxes of San Georgio spaghetti; however, if we add average price of each to the total, Kroger would actually be the cheapest at $12.29, largely due to Breyers ice cream being on sale (only $2.27). Kroger does have the most expensive eggs at $2.29 but Spam is apparently cheaper in the South ($2.29 – Kroger; $2.09 – Publix; between $2.49 [Wegmans] and $3.35 [Safeway] in the DC area).

In case you were wondering, the prices at Giant in Reston and Alexandria were exactly the same.

We were hoping people would document hilarious anecdotes about their secret shopper expeditions but by in large... not so much. Apparently, this is pretty serious stuff. So, we release you from your official obligations as secret shoppers and invite you to create a clean up on aisle 3 incident of your choosing.

So that’s about it. Thanks again to everyone who participated, to DC Blogs for linking to us and to Swapping Tales (aka The Abbot aka abbotofunreason) who created the incredibly cool badge.

A special thank you to lacochran for not laughing (at least that I know of) at the original idea of the "Does Wegmans Rule" Experiment and for truly organizing most of the challenge!

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