Grocery Store Culture Shock

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on January 26, 2009

Taking advantage of a “kid-free” moment this weekend, I decided to pop in to Walmart to do some “research.” I wanted to familiarize myself with “my new store.” (Here‘s why it’s my new store, in case you missed it!)

I wanted to see if they carried my favorite products. To see if they carried gluten free flours, rice milk and a few other specialty items that I need for the boys and their GFCFSF diet.

Good news: they carry rice milk.

Potentially good news: they are willing to look into carrying the different flours that I use to make their snacks.

I had a lovely chat with the weekend assistant manager about sales cycles, advertisements, Rollbacks, etc. I look forward to shopping there and to working with the management of this particular store. Very kind people! I feel like I am now an “informed consumer” when it comes to Walmart.

As I walked through the aisles trying to familiarize myself with the layout, different brands and just the different look of the store, I felt only one thing.

Grocery store culture shock.

I’ve been through culture shock. And reverse culture shock (which I promise is worse!). I remember the overwhelming feeling when standing in front of all the toothpastes the first time I needed toothpaste after moving back from the Dominican Republic to the USA. Not only are there umpteen-million brands of toothpaste. There are umpteen-million types of toothpastes for each brand.

Paste.
Gel.
Whitening.
Prohealth.
Advanced Clean.
Mint.
Cool Mint.
Sparkle Cinnamon.
With Baking Soda. Yuk!
Tarter Protection.
Sensitive.

Really? Do there really need to be that many brands and types of toothpaste? (I’m a bit of a minimalist and am not a picky girl! And can you sense a hint of culture shock still. 2 years later!)

All this to say…I’m gonna need a few months to get used to the new store. To get past my “grocery store culture shock.” To continue on my quest to get the best deals I can find at my new grocery store!

But I’m curious now. With all these brands and types of toothpastes……

What’s your favorite???

My favorite is whatever is FREE that week!!!

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Elder Family January 26, 2009 at 8:25 am

My husband is unfortunately picky about his toothpaste — Colgate Total Mint Gel. Or maybe it’s cool mint. I recognize the packaging.

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Super Healthy Kids January 26, 2009 at 8:27 am

My biggest regret is ever buying the “kids” toothpaste. I thought, I always had minty toothpaste as a kid, there is no reason they should be using bubble gum flavored. I did not want to buy two different kinds, so I just started getting the mildest and gentlest.. usually a standard paste with no frills so we could all use the same tube.

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Charlene January 26, 2009 at 8:30 am

My family had become so “spoiled” to having certain brands/types of products, it’s taking them a little time to get used to changing according to what’s free or least OOP. They’re coming around, though, and sometimes even ask “Do you have a coupon for that?”

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Trisha January 26, 2009 at 8:34 am

Just wanted to extend my congratulations for winning the Walmart contest! I’m impressed you aren’t throwing in the towel on the $5 dinners but i hope this helps lessen some financial worries!

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Rachel @ Surviving The Stores January 26, 2009 at 8:45 am

We aren’t picky at all – whatever is free! But my favorite is any toothpaste with cinnamon in it!

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Wendy January 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

My husband prefers crest but I just bought 3 cologates because I got them for .75 each. I just started using coupons so I thought this was a good deal for me. I like the plan paste. I agree there are too many different kinds of everything!

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Danielle January 26, 2009 at 9:38 am

I use Toms because it is natural and safe. We don’t shop st Walmart beacause we think they are an evil company…the low prices come at a cost.

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Nil Zed January 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

my favorite is whatever ‘sensitive’ brand is discounted or on sale. I do miss cinnamon flavored brands, I dislike mint! But here in the UK, mint is the only way to go.

I had much more culture shock moving here than I expected. Not as much variety as in U.S., but still plenty to get confused by. Different brands, different products or names of products. Even the most superstore like groceries don’t carry certain sort of items, you must go to chemist (pharmacy), or ironmongers (hardware).

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Nil Zed January 26, 2009 at 9:50 am

Oh! and sadly, not much in the way of coupons (vouchers). The exist, but it’s not a big thing here.

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AB January 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

I used plain jane aquafresh most all of my life until recently. I’ve had a bout with sensitive teeth, and I’ve been using Sensodyne for several weeks now, which seems to be helping.

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Doris January 26, 2009 at 9:57 am

I use one of two brands, whichever one is cheapest, on sale, has a coupon, etc. Colgate or Crest.

And just curious…why is Wal-Mart evil??? Enlighten me. Cuz personally the cost savings from shopping there have saved my life.

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Amy January 26, 2009 at 10:13 am

I love Colgate- the white plain stuff. I hate the blue gel,which is what my parents bought when I was a kid. The blue is icky to me and I hate cleaning it out of the sink. :)

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Donna @ The Frugal Mom Blog January 26, 2009 at 10:16 am

Mine is Colgate Total Mint Gel. Here is why and it is totally nuts. It has a grainy texture and I like the way it feels when brushing my teeth…lol. You know, I never ever shop at Walmart. The closest one is about 8 miles away and on Long Island that is about a 20 minute ride, but, I might check it out as some people are telling me that they have GFCF products. I had no luck this morning at one of my local stores. No GFCF products at all. Thanks for reminding me to check out Walmart!

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Heather January 26, 2009 at 10:18 am

I buy whatever is at Big Lots and cheap. I don’t shop at the regular stores just discount stores. I don’t buy anything over a dollar….lol.

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Sheila January 26, 2009 at 10:18 am

So funny – we go for the baking soda toothpaste! Usually Crest. According to a few dentist that we have talked to (real ones, not those on TV :) ), Crest is the best. We also use Colgate sometimes.

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Joanna January 26, 2009 at 10:31 am

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, my dentist recommended I use a baking soda toothpaste. So, Arm & Hammer Dental Care was it.

Once, in college, I decided I didn't want to pay extra for the Arm & Hammer toothpaste and picked up whatever was on sale. Two weeks later, I started getting canker sores, and had a couple really bad ones over the next couple months. When looking up remedies online, one of the natural solutions was- ironically- baking soda.

I went back to the baking soda toothpaste & haven't had a canker sore since. Perhaps I used this toothpaste as a child so never built up a canker sore immunity? I don't know, but I'm sticking with the Arm & Hammer toothpaste to be safe!

I'm with Danielle & avoid shopping at Walmart entirely, and haven't sprung for Tom's yet, but have seriously considered it.

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Latte January 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

I am personally so not a walmart fan…but I still have to shop there for some things…I pray someday that I don’t.

We love Tom’s! Strawberry for the kids and just any mint flavor for me. Sometimes I can find it at the overstock stores for like .90 cents each!

Faith

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Carey January 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

I wish I could use regular brand toothpaste – and get it free! I am extremely sensitive to the sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste (the chemical that makes it foam). I use SLS-free Squigle with Xylitol! I love it, but it’s expensive, and I have to have it shipped.

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amanda January 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually bought toothpaste… I just use whatever my mother supplies in my Christmas stocking! Every year, she gives me a stocking full of candy and cleaners, several tubes of toothpaste, and tictcas or gum or … does my mother think I have lousy oral hygiene?

Right now, we’re using Tom’s of Maine fluoride-free (not for the kiddies!) and we’re loving it! So minty and fresh without any nasty chems or animal testing!

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Upstatemomof3 January 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

For me I buy whatever is on sale or even better whatever is free. Big Brother really likes colgate orange – but I stuck up when it is really cheap and then if we run out in between he uses whatever we have. Hubby, however, has terrible canker sores and has to use biotene to keep them at bay.

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The Bossy Yankee January 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

I will use any toothpaste but my favorite is:

crest cinnamon rush toothpaste

Oh I just love it.

Good luck with the new store. I am excited to hear about all your adventures.

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gail January 26, 2009 at 11:28 am

i like whatever is on sale, but must admit to being partial to anything mint-y. i’ve lived in the US all my life and even i think its overload to have all these options. and i can’t even claim to be a minimalist! lol

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Bargain Briana January 26, 2009 at 11:36 am

Crest Pro Health is my hubby’s favorite! I will use whatever is FREE!!!!

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Brodrick Family January 26, 2009 at 11:41 am

I use crest whitening expressions in mint. I watch and buy them in bulk or get coupons and use them on them. I loved listerines toothpaste and then walmart quit carrying it….

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Saver Queen January 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

Agreed, re: whatever is free! Pro-Health was a freebie last week that I missed! I hate it when that happens!

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Krissi January 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Welcome to the wonderful world of Wal-Mart! Living in Bentonville, AR the HQ of Wal-Mart and where Sam Walton himself opened his first store, we are pro’s at the Wal-Mart way of life! So many different products to chose from and evey now and again a few GREAT bargins :) It gets easier I promise!! Live Better, Save More Wal-Mart :)

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Sara January 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Aquafresh Extreme Clean. I like the way it bubbles in my mouth and it lasts a super long time. One tube takes me through anywhere between 6-10 months!

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Frugal in Florida January 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm

always either colgate or crest, but really, the decision is based on price with coupon and sale. Sorry. DH is so thrilled that I finally bought the BIG tube instead of the 4 oz … he hates the little things for some odd reason?

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LvPoohBr2 January 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm

We’re not too picky. Whatever comes free or 2 for 1. It usually ends up being Colegate. My kids don’t like anything too “spicy” is what they say. I try to stick to the paste rather than the “spicy” gel.

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Jennifer Wilson January 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I absolutely hate mint, so I often by anything I can get with a sale/coupon deal made in cinnamon that is not Close Up. Close Up is foul, almost as much as mint.

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The Reddings January 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Listerine Paste… nothing else really does it for me.. great job at designing the site and really going for this. I almost didn’t recognize your picture on facebook.

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Jennifer January 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Yep, when it comes to toothpaste, free is the only way we go. Now for my kids, I am trying to get rid of artificial colors and all the free toothpaste has them in it. I am trying to decide if I want to make an expensive switch on something my boys in particular love to use too much of.

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Shelley January 26, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Would you mind sharing what you learned about Walmart’s sales cycles, advertisements, Rollbacks, etc.?

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Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net January 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm

HA! Well, I’m glad to hear that they are working with you so that’s good news!

Um, I’m with you – FREE just feels better! Now, there have been times when it doesn’t work as good, like the deodorant I bought hubs and he said “never again.” But, in general, I think it all works the same. And, for the record – he smelled just fine :-)

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Rachelle January 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Congrats on your huge win!! Wow!!

I like Colgate oxygen bubbles and I get the kids aquafresh for kids(nice little pump dipenser thing for them). Both are under $2 at walmart.
I don’t know if you have the Super Walmarts there, we don’t here, but we have some selection of groceries, that I know I could shop from for some things.

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Melissa January 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

DH has to use Sensodyne Pronamel. It’s on the expensive side so I gave up my love of baking soda toothpaste and share with him. (Because really? 3 different toothpaste types in our tiny bathroom? FlyLady would not approve!)DD uses the kiddie toothpaste. I know it’s not the best, but she LOVES brushing her teeth (and she really brushes, not just eating the toothpaste)

All of y’all talking about the free toothpaste… how often do you need to replenish the toothpaste? DD’s been using her tube for 3 months and has plenty left, and our last tube of Sensodyne lasted at least 3 months maybe longer. I guess since I have to get it infrequently I’ve never worried about the cost…

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Sara January 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm

My Walmart (a “Neighborhood” Walmart, but still a Walmart) has all of the things you’d need for your special diet. If you live somewhere with other Walmarts nearby, it might be worth checking whether other stores carry the brands. Mine has only recently started stocking them, but I think it’s Hodgson Mill or Bob’s that they carry.

As for toothpaste, I love Crest Pro Health. I had a similar experience to yours after being overseas and having limited selection. My husband and I argued for 5 minutes in the mustard aisle at our local grocery store because there were literally hundreds of mustard jars from which to choose. Good luck! :)

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Heather @ Not a DIY Life January 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Favorite kind of toothpaste = whatever I can get for free or close to free! Not brand loyal or flavor loyal at all.

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Toni January 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Don’t forget that Wal-Mart price matches! Far and away, the best way to use your prize to the fullest! Feel free to email me if you have never price matched at WM. (t3haydenatwindstreamdotnet)

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Steph January 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Nice post. gluten free can be tough to shop and save for. Have you tried FoodSupoort before? They partner with local grocery chains and offer free food cards. You can learn more about them at http://www.FoodSupport.org

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Saved, Not Stupid January 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I use plain old colgate. We tried using all the different kinds, but kept coming back to colgate.

It’s awesome that your Wal-Mart is willing to consider ordering stuff for you. Ours won’t even order the soy butter we use. I have to go to Meijer or Kroger to get it. And they carry another margarine by the same company. Please let me know if you are successful in getting them to carry gluten free stuff

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Alli January 27, 2009 at 9:13 am

We’re a Crest with Scope family. It seems to keep my breath fresh longer. Although, once we run out of the stash I have of it, we’ll be going with the free toothpaste of the week. For now, I’ve instructed my other family members never to buy toothpaste because I can keep them stocked for free. Share the wealth!

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Amanda January 27, 2009 at 9:50 am

I’m one of those gross people who gags while brushing her teeth. I found that the Crest Vanilla Mint is the only one that keeps the obnoxious gagging to a minimum. Aren’t you glad I shared that?

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Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I exlucively used Aquafresh whitening gel for years, until I started CVSing this past May. Now my favorite is Colgate Total, but only the paste.

And Amanda, I can relate! Thanks to the joy of pregnancy it is now the only toothpaste that doesn’t make me gag.

Husband uses whatevever is around. Lucky for me and my coupon clipping ways he is not brand loyal about anything except his plain listerine. He’ll use anything so long as he didn’t have to go to the store to get it!

Michelle H.

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Heather January 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My very favorite is Crest Pro Health. I used it once and was hooked- it is not a brand a dentist typically recommends for sensitive teeth, but it made mine feel better and I truly feel they are better cleaned after than with any other toothpaste I have tried. It was a little rough to pay for it at first, since itis kind of expensive. I am a toothpaste snob, sort of (I usually buy it at Costco though, to get a good, all around price) I will not use whatever is cheapest, unless it is a brand I trust. If it is, then YAY! I just figure, I can eat and use many other generic brand things, but my teeth I leave to the experts :)

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evi January 28, 2009 at 3:46 am

I use salt-toothpaste. Yes, SALT. It contains salt in big chunks. And obviously, it tastes like salt. The first time I used it, it made me gag. By now, I can’t imagine another toothpaste. Why I use it? I got onto homeopathy and my homeopathy-doctor prescribed this toothpaste because mint lessens the effect (as does coffee).
Weird, weird, weird.
Besides that: the extreme diversity in toothpaste shocks me, too. My dentist says as long as you brush properly, the paste doesn’t matter. She even does NOT recommend mint-paste as it gives you a fresh and clean feeling although you might not have brushed enough.

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