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Supermarket Cards: Aid or Annoyance?

October 03, 1998|KATHRYN MACLAREN

After rent or mortgage, the single biggest household expense is often food. Do those supermarket club cards really save you money? Or are the applications to get them just an invasion of privacy? KATHRYN MACLAREN spoke to shoppers.

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ROSEANNE CORDARO

Homemaker, Reseda

I shop at Ralphs and I have all the other cards, like Lucky and Sav-On. I don't mind filling out the applications, the information they ask for seems OK to me to give freely. I always use the cards.

But if you analyze the whole thing, I don't believe you are saving like you think you are. It's all a gimmick and they are there to make money. No matter what they present to you, it's all to make a sale, get you in the store. It would be nice if all the supermarkets would just give you the lowest possible price at all times, but they don't. It's part of the game.

I don't skip around to all the stores for the specials; it's not worth the gas or the time. I am retired and shopping economically is important. I don't clip coupons but I try to shop economically.

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MARIA LEDON

Homemaker, Bell Garden

I shop at a market that doesn't use those membership cards. It is cheaper, doesn't require the card or membership and it's close to my home, which is important since I do not own a car. Where I live, there are many markets, which means a lot of competition. Other stores advertise certain items at a low price, but that's just to get you in there figuring you'll buy other stuff.

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KATHY GENT

Sales associate, Northridge

I think the market club cards are stupid. Items have different shelf prices and it's confusing and a waste of my time. I don't like grocery shopping very much in the first place, let alone trying to figure out what price I am really going to pay when they ring it all up. I primarily shop at the bulk markets. I do not have any cards, with the exception of one that my mom put on my key ring. I would never fill out an application, it's none of their business what I buy.

I think all supermarkets charge too much. I know my prices and what certain items should be. I may occasionally go into a regular market for something like cat food or milk on sale, but I never spend more than a few dollars and I always shop in bulk.

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DEVON ROWLAND

Food clerk, Mission Hills

I am a bachelor and I do not have any of the supermarkets club cards. It's not the questions on the application that keep me from getting a card. They're just basic questions they ask you in order for you to get the card. Occasionally if my girlfriend is with me and we stop at Ralphs she'll slide her card for the discounts.

I do most of my shopping at Costco. The most important thing to me when choosing where I shop is location, the variety of the merchandise and the quality of the food. The advertisements saying you'll win a vacation or a car filled with groceries don't attract me either; they're just a fantasy to get you in the store.

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