Grocery Shopping With SEMO TIMES

Oct 18, 2014

Walmart & Harps Tie For Best Prices – Krogers Most Expensive

POPLAR BLUFF – While talking with a friend about the new Harps in Poplar Bluff (on Shelby Road), they said, “Harps is really nice, but it’s more expensive.” SEMO TIMES felt it would be an interesting task to see how grocery shopping in Poplar Bluff compared among stores.

When we mentioned grocery stores to Poplar Bluffians, the list was usually Walmart, Kroger and Harps. So those were the stores we focused on. Yes, there are other places to buy groceries but on the budget we had for the story the limit was set at three. If this story is popular, we might also do a comparison of ALDI, PriceSaver and Calhoun’s for example.

We sat down and created a grocery list of 13 items, each product a brand name except for a second gallon of milk from the stores’ own brand.

With list in hand we headed to Walmart and it was there that the list was refined to include specific sizes (for instance, 16 slices of Kraft American Singles).

The groceries were placed on the conveyor belt and the total came to $41.22 plus tax.

In the parking lot, we spotted a family of five putting groceries in their car and walked up to them with a gift of a cart of groceries: definitely the best part of doing this story.

The finalized list of products included:

  • 1 gallon Prairie Farms whole milk
  • 1 gallon store brand whole milk
  • 16 slices KRAFT American Singles
  • 16 oz. Oscar Mayer Thick Cut Bologna
  • 12 oz. Starkist Albacore Tuna
  • 1 lb. deli sliced Cajun Turkey
  • 30 oz. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 lb. 2 oz. box of Rice Krispies
  • 11 oz. bag of Nacho Doritos
  • 2 liter bottle of Coca-cola
  • 24 ct Ziplock gallon storage bags
  • Wonder Bread – classic white
  • 1 roll of Bounty paper towels

Using deli meats wasn’t wise because the weights were never exact which made comparing difficult. In one cart the weight caused the price to be 49 cents higher.

On to Kroger where we found everything on the list and checked out using a Kroger Card for maximum discount. The groceries were $46.17 plus tax which included $1.67 in Kroger Card savings.

Harps was, by far, the most fun of the three stores to visit. For one, it’s just so new which gives an impression of sparkling clean. You can see the effects of the newness as positive on both staff and patrons.

Harps loyalty program doesn’t give you a discount on your groceries but your purchases do reduce your gas price. For each ten dollars you spend, the price of a gallon of gas goes down a penny (with a fifteen gallon maximum). With our purchases we saved 4 cents per gallon of gas for a total of 60 cents savings.

There were two complications at Harps. First, Doritos had a sign for buy-one-get-one free. This meant being charged regular price but getting twice the number of chips.

The other complication was that Starkists’ Chunk Light tuna and Albacore tuna are the same price at $2.28. However, Harps employee Brad was not able to locate any 12 oz Albacore cans. Chicken of the Sea Albacore was $4.28 so I went with the Chunk Light.

The total at Harps was $44.35 plus tax.

Kroger gets the distinction of “priciest” of the three.

Walmart and Harps were only off by pennies once you adjust for variances of deli meat weight and the extra bag of Doritos at Harps.

*Here’s a challenge for you. Take our grocery list, buy them at your favorite store and post your results to semo.times on Facebook.  Let’s see if your store beats PB Walmart’s $41.04. And if you want to be a blessing to someone in the parking lot…even better!


1 gallon Prairie Farms whole milk  $            5.06  $            4.87  $            4.99
1 gallon store brand whole mile  $            3.44  $            3.29  $            3.29
16 slices KRAFT American Singles  $            2.78  $            3.49  $            2.76
16 oz Oscar Meyer Thick Cut Bologna  $            2.00  $            2.29  $            2.49
12 oz Starkist Albacore Tuna  $            3.48  $            4.39  $            2.28
1 lb deli sliced Cajun Turkey  $            6.16  $            7.79  $            7.55
     weight of deli meat                1.03                1.04                1.07
30 oz Hellmans Mayonaise  $            3.98  $            3.99  $            3.98
1 lb 2 oz Rice Krispies  $            3.33  $            3.89  $            3.74
11 oz bag of Nacho Doritos  $            2.98  $            3.29  $            4.30
2 lt bottle of Coca-cola  $            1.38  $            1.50  $            1.50
24 ct Ziplock gallon storage bags  $            2.68  $            2.99  $            3.29
Wonder Bread – Classic White  $            1.98  $            2.00  $            1.99
1 roll of Bounty paper towels  $            1.97  $            2.39  $            2.19
Subtotal  $         41.22  $         46.17  $         44.35
Card Discounts  $            1.67  $            0.60
Adjustments (meat & Doritos)  $            0.18  $            0.30  $            2.64
Total  $         41.04  $         44.20  $         41.11



  1. James

    ok you picked and choose what you got. Do this Got to anyone of the stores and do your regular shopping for you own home. Then go to the other 2 and do the same. I will Promise you Kroger is Cheaper. For example Progreso soup at harps is 2.75 Kroger 1.86 and so on. Tv dinners at harps is 1.65 Kroger 1.00 I have found over the years Kroger by far is cheaper. Everyone has there option to go any where. But for a family of 4 Kroger is the cheapest and always has been for us.

  2. SEMO Times

    As a side note. One of the families we gave the groceries to contacted us afterwards:

    Thank you so much for the food you gave us. I know God has a plan…[our] income has been cut more than 80%…We really appreciate it, thank you so much, thank God for people like you…