Making Peace with Kroger

Apropos of nothing, when I was a kid there was a very nice woman who was a cashier at a nearby Kroger. She had an actual beard. If I remember correctly, she shaved it, but I found it fascinating to see a woman with a beard.

In those days, there were only a few Kroger stores. But since all companies believe that MOAR is BETTER, they expanded and expanded and expanded and now there are at least five Krogers within 10 minutes of our home.

Remember I worked at Kroger for a minute back in 2012 and then again in 2018. My stint in 2018 started out being one of the most enjoyable jobs I had ever had. When I left in 2019 I was a little salty about Kroger corporate and their complete disconnect from what it’s like to work as an associate.

I’ve noticed over these past few years that Kroger has come up with MOAR and “BETTER” ways for one to save money. Used to be, they just had weekly specials.

Then they added the Shoppers Card which you had to have in order to get the weekly special prices.

Next they added Buy 5, Save $5. (Eventually Buy 5, Save $5 turned into Buy 5, Save 50 cents per item, cutting in half the savings).

Later came fuel points, which you get 1 to 1, except for certain special purchases when you can double or quadruple your points.

Later I started seeing special junk food deals in the aisle Buy 2 or 4 (bags of chips), save $2. (This is not to be confused with B5S5 because they are COMPLETELY different savings opportunities.)

Then Kroger started mailing coupons to me for things I already buy. (Thank you, Kroger)

Next complication opportunity was Digital Coupons. These are coupons you can download on your phone but must have downloaded to avail yourself of.

Now they have Cash Back where you can accumulate actual money when you buy certain products and then cash it out. I’m not all that familiar with this one yet.

Another whole program is called Points-Rewards-Plus Gaming. This is a cash back program on products that gamers apparently like. Looks like a lot of macaroni and cheese, snacks, pop.

So we went from some coupons in the Sunday newspaper to at least seven different ways to save money.

FINALLY this week my brain put it all together. I have to PRE-SHOP. I go to the Kroger website and look through all the coupons, and then look through all the digital coupons, and look at all the B5S50 products. Lastly, I must remember to take my paper coupons and then tackle the store. Pre-shopping is SO much easier than arriving at the store and discovering what is on sale for Buy 5, Save 50 cents, what has a digital coupon, whether Tostitos products are Buy 4, Save heckin money, and which of my staple items happen to be on sale so I can plan to stock up.

It’s like studying for a test. And this week I got an A. I saved 13% which worked out to $24.25 in savings. I promise you I wouldn’t have saved that much without the pregame.

If I were one of those newfangled youngsters, I’d make this into a tik tok and it would surely go viral. But I may be at my limit of social media apps and platforms right now. Have not delved into tik tok yet.

Oh, I almost forgot. There’s this entire subculture of pickup and delivery, for which there are special coupons and deals and subscriptions and Things to Know. I’ll shop for myself, thanks. But I am glad these other ways of shopping exist for people who either don’t have the time or energy or desire to shop for themselves.

So I’ve made my peace with Kroger. I still believe corporate is out of touch with associates, but I think I’m finally getting how this whole savings game works. I bet you can too!

LPT: You don’t have to put u-scan items on the bagging area. I found out you can scan them and bag them right into your cart. My reusable bags always fall off the bagging area, and I’m not trying to have more inconvenience. I love being able to scan items and bag them without putting them in the bagging area. No more scanning five different packages of the same item and waiting for each weight to register in the bagging area. Now I can scan one package five times. I don’t even have to get the other four out of my cart.

Wow, this has been full of info. If you read this far, GOLD STAR. As always, remember your reusable bags. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

4 thoughts on “Making Peace with Kroger

    1. I put my bag to the right of the scanner. A kroger employee told me I could do it that way and sure enough when you don’t use the bagging experience the machine accepts it. We can talk more in person if you want. Definitely a game


  1. Great job adjusting to the situation!

    When I was a kid, Southwestern Bell was the only phone company, I think maybe in the whole country (Bell Telephone). They even had a “fun” marketing campaign to get us to be more comfortable with the situation, with buttons that read WMBTOPCITBWTNTALI — Which stood for “We May Be The Only Phone Company In Town But We Try Not To Act Like It.” Uh-huh.

    As a kid I had one of those buttons and the gobbledegook on it was fun. As a kid.

    The Feds ended up busting them up, and now we all benefit because the phone companies have to compete with each other.

    When I was with Toyota, in 2008 we desperately wanted the other auto companies to survive and worked our butts off to help it happen (we share suppliers), because we knew what would happen if we didn’t have competition… sooner or later we would get lazy. Toyota leaders considered themselves to be as human as anyone.

    Kroger wants to be the “Only Food Store In Town And We Want To Brainwash You Into Believing That’s Working Out For Everyone.” That model doesn’t and won’t ever work out for everyone.

    Kroger is Food Wal-Mart; they create food deserts in cities by driving the small operators out – this is invisible-to-media but very real in Cincinnati. See any grocery stores in Avondale, Price Hill, Over the Rhine? Nope.

    What WILL work (for example) is local sourcing and community support, like CSAs – which shortens supply chains and keeps money local. With few exceptions, diversity is ALWAYS better.


    1. I realize that my response is not REALLY about your post, but it’s Saturday morning and I always have curmudgeonly things to say on Saturday morning after a solid week with other people. 🙂


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