kro-outside

Total                                                             85/100

Convenience                                                  10

Cleanliness and Attractiveness                      6

Food Quality                                                   8

Pricing                                                            7

Comparison Shopping                                   10

Organization                                                  8

Selection                                                       10

Creativity                                                       9

Extras                                                            7

Service                                                          10

Let me start off by saying that my previous thoughts about Kroger were wrong. What were my previous thoughts, you may ask? That the store was fugazzi and I had no desire to ever shop at a Kroger. In millennial language, fugazzi is the best way to describe how I pictured Kroger as a grocery store. The word means fake in Italian. I’ve always viewed this chain as a bad knockoff of a Harris Teeter or Publix. However, I was very mistaken.

Before you go knocking Kroger, give it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised with both its variety and selection. Also, there were several items that you probably can’t find at any other grocery store in the area. One complaint, as always, is that the store isn’t open 24 hours. Nonetheless, Kroger does better than Food Lion’s 11 pm closing time. Most of the stores close at either 12 or 1 am, so get your drunk snacks before heading to the bar.

Without further ado, here’s my review of Kroger.

Convenience: 10/10

Kroger is the first of all my reviews so far that gets a 10/10 for convenience. For starters, the parking lot is huge. As previously mentioned, I think that people forget about Kroger so it’s not as frequently visited. This means plenty of open spots. However, the parking lot is still large in general. This is true for both the Kroger in North Raleigh and the one off of Creedmor Road. Multiple cart-returns are spread throughout the parking lot, because who likes wheeling that large thing very far after you’ve already been shopping for 30 minutes?

The number of carts is mind blowing if I’m being honest, and I had to take a picture to prove it. WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT MANY CARTS? Not knocking you, Kroger, just genuinely interested. It’s safe to assume that there will never be a shortage here with the cart situation – not even on the day before Thanksgiving when everyone is trying to get last-minute groceries.

kro-carts

As far as the checkout lines go, there are plenty of those as well. I saw roughly eight open registers, an express lane for *about 15 items* as the label read, and SIX self-check lanes. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, having self-check lanes is a game changer in my opinion.

Kroger also offers Kroger ClickList, which allows you to order your groceries online, pick a time, and pick them up. Win-win situation.

Cleanliness and Attractiveness: 6/10

I can’t duck any points in the cleanliness department for this category. All of the floors looked very clean, and the same thing goes for the shelves. There was a tower of soda shaped like a Christmas tree that was an attractive display upon walking in, and everything else was set up nicely for the most part.

Where Kroger loses several points is in stocked shelves and out-of-place displays that weren’t exactly strategically placed throughout the store. For example, there was a Thanksgiving display of leftover products that they were trying to get rid of by putting items on sale, but it was tacky and out of place.

kro-palletsBags of sugar and stuffing were placed on random blue and red cartons in the middle of one aisle, with a cloth thrown halfway over it. There were several times throughout the store that I saw things like that. Maybe they were unloading on this particular day, but it still made it harder to navigate the store.

Also, there wasn’t one single rotisserie chicken where they normally are. When I looked over, they had plenty baking which were obviously going to be used for the rest of the day but still not convenient for someone who might have been doing his or her shopping for the day.

Food Quality: 8/10

Kroger made it easy to give this category a pretty high ranking. Just look at how yellow those bananas are!kro-bananas

There were a few packages of strawberries that looked questionable, but other than that – I saw only fresh fruit. The raspberries were the perfect color, and all of the pineapples seemed to be at textbook ripeness. Honestly, the only reason I deducted two points from this category was because of some of the fruit.

Moving on to the vegetables, the first thing I thought was WOW, SO MUCH GREEN. It’s not uncommon to find some brown on lettuce in most stores, but I honestly couldn’t at Kroger. From the organic produce to the regular produce, I had no problem finding what I was looking for.

kro-strawberries kro-greens

As far as the meats and cheeses are concerned, those weren’t too shabby either. The deli had Boar’s Head meat, and there was a large cheese selection similar to Harris Teeter’s in a circular display. All of the expiration dates were within reasonable time periods, and nothing looked funky or old. There was also a “ready-to-eat” meat section as with many other stores in the Triangle, which is always handy for when you just don’t have time to cook or marinate meat all day.

kro-cheese

Pricing: 7/10

Here’s the best way to describe Kroger’s pricing: Not as bad as Harris Teeter, not as great as Food Lion. There were some prices that I thought were comparable to being just as expensive as Harris Teeter, while other staple items were definitely more manageable.

Here are a few items that I priced to give you an idea of what you’re working with at this super market:

  • Skim milk – $2.99 store brand ($3.59 at Harris Teeter)
  • Half-gallon of orange juice – $3.99 for Tropicana, $2.29 for store brand ($3.99 for Tropicana at Harris Teeter)
  • A dozen eggs – $1.39 for store brand ($1.59 at Harris Teeter)
  • Pound of chicken breast – $1.99
    • I’m really sad. I thought Harris Teeter was #special for offering chicken at $1.99 per pound. I’ve now come to find that both Food Lion and Kroger offer the exact same deal. Kroger advertises it with a sign on the meat case.
  • Apple Jacks – $3.19 ($3.99 at Harris Teeter)
  • Family-sized detergent – $11.99 for Tide, ($12.99 at Harris Teeter)
  • Shampoo – $5.29 for a bottle of Garnier Fructis ($3.69 at Harris Teeter)
    • I was kind of surprised to see shampoo this expensive. At every store so far, I’ve picked out the exact same shampoo, and this one prices almost $2.00 above every other store so far. Someone must really be willing to pay for sleek ‘n shine hair.

Kroger does have a card program, so get one if this is going to be your go-to grocery store to save some extra bucks.

Comparison Shopping: 10/10

Kroger hits it out of the park when it comes to searching for different brands. Out of any store that I’ve reviewed so far, Kroger has the most variety when it comes to comparison shopping. I had to give this category all 10 points, because it simply speaks for itself in terms of what they offer for popular products.

kro-wineLooking at toilet paper, dog food, and soup, I found that Kroger has a vast and unique selection for all of these items. Beginning with toilet paper, I counted eight brands in comparison to Food Lion, who only had six different brands. What I liked most about Kroger’s toilet paper selection is the fact that they have their own brand called “Kroger Home Sense”, which is modeled to be similar to Charmin. They have an Ultra Strong option, which is so crucial.

When I went down the dog food aisle, my mind was set on the perfect 10 score. I truly couldn’t count how many different brands of dog food there were, but it was more than 10. Once I got to 10, I then looked beyond the dry food to find the fresh pet refrigerated section. Shakin’ my head. Our pets are more spoiled than our significant others now a day. I gave Food Lion props for having bird seed, but Kroger had that plus bird cages themselves. You go, Glen CoCo.

I counted eight different brands of soup, ranging from soup in a bag to organic soup to my personal favorite, Annie’s soup. I used to only be able to find it at Target, but now my options are expanding.

There is also a large selection of both wine and beer at the front of Kroger, with plenty of specials on wine throughout.

Organization: 8/10

For the most part, Kroger is easy to navigate in regards to most items. In fact, I was most impressed by their labeling than I have been at any other grocery store yet. Like most stores, all produce and fruit along with meats and cheeses are on the outskirts. There is also a large floral department on the border of the store, and the wine and beer can also be found in its own section.

kro-beer

The reason why this category only gets 8/10 points is because some of the items were placed in strange spots throughout the store. Keep in mind that the labeling is great, but there were several things I found to be strange. For example, the toilet paper and the paper towels weren’t on the same aisle. Tell me how that makes any sort of sense. The coffee was paired with something strange too.

Regardless, everything else was easy to find for having never been to Kroger before. Harris Teeter probably got a little leeway in that category, because I frequently shop there and know exactly how the store is laid out. Here are some things that I searched for with relevance to how easy they were to find:

  • Light bulbs: Right away. There was a label for them, and there was also a wide variety of different bulbs to choose from.
  • Rubbing alcohol and Advil (or equivalent): Extremely easy. Kroger has a pharmacy, which makes sense to put all of the medicines and related kro-advilproducts close by. I found more offerings of Advil than I ever thought imaginable, and the alcohol was nearby.
  • kro-raidColored pencils: Once again, easy to find. There was a ‘School & Office’ label on an aisle with other similar products.
  • Mousetraps: By far, Kroger wins for the ease of being able to find mousetraps. I’ve had to search every other store for where I think they could be, and then have found the traps. At Kroger, they have a label for ‘Pest Control’ and there were the traps sitting in front of my face.
  • Sloppy Joe mix: No problem. Similarly to other stores I found this with the beans.

Selection: 10/10

If you think you might need something, there’s a good chance that Kroger carries it in some way, shape, or fashion. I already mentioned how diverse the normal inventory is, and the same goes for the store as a whole. At other stores, I’ve been able to find a few interesting items on sale, or a few other impulse items that would be worth checking out. At Kroger, every corner I turned offered something else that was enticing.kro-balloons

There’s a HUGE floral section for starters, complete with all different types of balloons, bouquets, and even colored vases to go along with whatever mood you’re in.

One of the aisles included a ‘Picnic Supplies’ label, so automatic points for that. Who says the days of packing your own lunch to bring to the park have to be over? And what store also thinks to offer that type of selection? Thank you, Kroger.

kro-displayThe most interesting on-sale item displayed was 100% the injectable butter marinade (injector included) that was sitting near the meat. I have so many questions, but I will refrain. I also saw an extender for your toilet paper roll that was on sale, because who doesn’t want that? There was a variety of books, coloring books and even DVDs including Finding Dory for the win.

In my opinion, the most interesting impulse item was definitely the wide variety of gift cards sitting at the front that has a sign on top “2X GAS POINTS WITH CARD.” Um yes, please. I shall definitely buy a gift card for someone for Christmas if you give me gas money to go along with it.

Fruit cake was on sale for $4.99, and yet again, I’m not sure why anyone would buy this. I also saw yams for $1.99 on clearance, and that’s another noooppeee from me. However, Kroger can’t lose points for that because it just further proves their expansive selection.

Creativity: 9/10

When it comes to off-the-wall items sold, Kroger gets most of the love yet. I didn’t find a jicama or a yahrzeit candle but I did find some other crazy things that I’m certain no other store in the Triangle offers. Just take a moment to appreciate the provided picture, and really take a long, hard look at it.

kro-haircolor

I saw a knee sleeve, a one-second slicer, a dump meal cookbook, a waist trainer, a headband with attached hair extensions (!!!!), and honey-flavored fortune cookies.

As mentioned above, I didn’t find a yahrzeit candle, but I DID locate reed sticks and diffusers instead. I also found Andouille sausage and ‘Rogerwood Pork Fatback Slices’, so there are all of the reasons for my near-perfect score.

Extras: 7/10

When looking at in-store extras offered by Kroger, I feel as if they mostly deliver. Where they lose points is for not having and eat-in buffets or salad bars, and that is a very sad thing.

Kroger does have a pharmacy in the store, and there was even a room for a physician consultation within the pharmacy. It’s probably nice to be able to drop off a prescription, talk to a doctor, grocery shop, and then circle back around to pick up that prescription all in the same time frame.

I already mentioned the extensive floral section of the store, but right next to that is a “Nature’s Market” with things like flaxseed products, protein shakes, detox teas, and more.

At the front, I saw Coinstar and lottery machines.

Service: 10/10

Based on my personal experience, I was approached three times in 30 minutres while wandering around Kroger. One man scared me due to the level of volume at which he said, “GOOD MORNING, MA’AM!!!” He was super hype about saying hi to customers, and I heard him do the same to several others. It made me happy.

When I was observing the meat, the butcher asked me if I was looking for anything in particular.

Finally, another cashier walked by and asked how I was doing. For that reason, Kroger gets a perfect 10 in customer service. Everyone that I encountered either was 1.) willing to help me find something or 2.) interested in how my wellbeing was.

In Conclusion:

I feel bad for doubting Kroger. If it were closer to my apartment, I might make the switch to this grocery store. From the quality of the food to the selection of items, I was thoroughly impressed.

The only complaint that I have would be that the pricing of the groceries isn’t exactly cheap. However, I’m always willing to pay a little bit more for better selection and quality.

If you haven’t yet been to Kroger to shop, I’d recommend checking it out.

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