my food site is weber_cam

December 14, 2008

Marc's vs. Giant Eagle: Columbus, OH Edition

Nothing like a tabulation of data to make your 3 site visitors surf away.

I was doing some grocery shopping yesterday. In addition to the normal items of survival, I wanted some dried cranberries for a cold salad recipe I'm working on. I bought some earlier this week, reluctantly, at Giant Eagle. The $5.99 price killed me, but the salad I'm making is worth it (soon to be disclosed on I went to Marc's yesterday (, Henderson and Reed). Here is a comparison I made based on a handful of items:*

ItemMarc's, $Giant Eagle, $
walnuts, 1 lb 2.894.99
pecans, 8 oz3.485.29
Bob's Red Mill Bulgur, 28 oz1.983.49
snow peas, 8 oz2.783.49
Dei Fratelli, diced tomatoes, 28 oz1.091.69
Honey Nut Cheerios, 17 oz3.503.99
Oatmeal Crisp, 17 oz2.783.99
Fiber One Cereal, 16 oz3.284.49
Organic Earth greens, 16 oz4.695.99
Dannon Nat yogurt, 4 pk1.852.29
Marzetti Sw. Vidalia dressing, 16 oz1.504.49
Heinz ketchup, 24 oz1.502.49
Red Star yeast, 3pk1.191.35
clementines, 5lb5.006.99
Barilla plus, 14.5 oz1.792.25
Mariani dried cranberries, 6 oz.1.985.99

Giant Eagle gives a 20¢ gasoline discount per $50 spent; an ingenious marketing campaign that, for a 14 to 28 gallon tank filled when the light comes on, amounts to a 5-10% discount. Charge 20-300% the price of another retailer tidily makes up for the gas discount.

I'll still go to Giant Eagle for some things because it's close to home, but they rob me almost daily.
*Note: These are the most egregious examples. The smaller discrepancies all favor Marc's as well.

Also, Marc's prices were determined 13-Dec-08, and Giant Eagle's this morning at 6:30.


Big Momma said...

I grew up in Northern Ohio, where they have had Marcs for years. While I love their prices, I can't bring myself to buy their meat......was wondering if you have??

Dave said...

Most of the meat is pretty generic big name stuff, nothing fancy. They do have cute little 5-6 rib vacuum wrap baby back rib slabs. They're wonderful. Perfect size for a small meat portion for the 3 of us. They are also from generic big meat house. They don't butcher anything there.

Not Important said...

There used to be a site called that compared grocery store prices in a town when the two major grocers introduced those customer loyalty cards. The end result was that consumers paid more for a cart of groceries after the cards than before, even considering the special pricing on select items.

whitneyf307 said...

Dave, I'm a student at the University of Akron and have grown up in Columbus all my life. Recently I visited a Marc's up in Akron with one of my roommates and were indeed surprised with the prices. However, we came to check out with out carts full of food and figured out we were only allowed to pay with cash or discover card. also we noted how filthy and cluttered the store was. many of the things were out of date and I would never think of buying meat or perishable food from this store. Giant Eagle has the freshest meat and produce I have experienced. And coming from a struggling college student, the fuel perks (even though i only have a 13 gallon tank) and now foodperks are phenomenal. I will continue to shop at Giant Eagle for their great customer service and great quality of their products. To coin the phrase "you get what you pay for, is not rocket science." Sorry Dave, I have to disagree on this one.

Dave said...


1. The Marc's I went to accepted MC.

2. The produce is mediocre at Marc's, but at Giant Eagle on a Sunday moring, I routinely observe fuzzy green growth on the strawberries and lemons. I can only hope it's mold. If that's the freshest produce you have experienced, that's unfortunate.

3. Fuelperks and Gasperks, using a simple bit of addition and multiplication, amounts to little more than the typical dividend offered by most credit cards.

4. For all the times I've cleaned and unclogged their commode so my daughter could use it without gagging, I deserve a small portion of their profits. When I begged the manager to keep the men's room from being toxic, he just shrugged. Customer service, not so good.

This comment comes conspicuously close to the time I passed this post on to, but the grammar is not what I'd expect from a Giant Eagle corporate do-gooder, but I'm not certain.

I'll stick with Marc's.

Anonymous said...


roses are red violets are blue when God passed out brains he overlooked you.

Dave said...

Look Whitney, this is spiraling to immaturity. These tabulated items are commodities. They can sit in a warehouse and wait for someone to sell them. Giant Eagle sells them much more expensively and offers no added value, Marc's doesn't offer much either, but they simply charge less. Giant Eagle is stealing from us at these prices and Marc's isn't (as much). It's a purely objective bit of data. Try to think critically - it's really nothing personal - stop taking it that way.

Anonymous said...

Dave, your information is both helpful and telling. The responses you have received are simply reflective of the shoppers in Ohio. Some say the data is dead on (like myself) and great to see in black and white, the others will continue to shop at a place that obviously makes you pay more overall, but looks a bit more "pretty." You win some, you lose some. Thats why Giant Eagle hasnt gone out of business- yet.
People that buy generic cereal, like myself- dont care if it looks as pretty and isnt in a box, but appreciate that it sure as hell tastes the same (except the Cocoa Pebbles knock-off, those are awful) and they saved some money by getting it. The food bought at Marc's isnt exactly in the cleanest of places and the most organized or the most friendly. But what are Giant Eagle shoppers thinking when they're eating that frozen hamburger or that box of Rice-a-Roni? It sure wont be, "Boy am I glad I bought this from Giant Eagle because it sure wouldnt have been the same if I would have bought it at Marc's." The college student posting here will one day learn that customer service doesnt mean a damn thing when money is tight and you have to eat AND pay bills. Until then, to each their own.