Millionaire Grocery Clerks: The Amazing WinCo Foods Story

Millionaire Grocery Clerks: The Amazing WinCo Foods Story

There are businesses that pay living wages; others have benefits packages better than others. To work for a store such as WalMart or any other business that does not pay a living wage, does not provide adequate health insurance or retirement plan, is foolish beyond imagining. There is no reason to agree to serf-wages. Businesses will continue to pay low wages as long as there are people willing to work for low wages. 

Seem obvious? Yes! That is correct. It is obvious. It is so obvious, it is almost funny. Except it isn't funny. 

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Grocery stores typically have very small profit margins, only a few percent.  So it's a bit surprising that grocery clerks could get rich working in them. 

It sounds like the employees pay into a retirement fund that is leveraged by the store. If that is so, an account can build for retirement. I don't shop at a WinCo; there is not one near me. From what I read in this string, if they charge for bags and don't accept credit cards, that lowers the cost of groceries somewhat. It would be interesting to talk to some employees and see how they like the retirement plan. 

I like shopping at Winco. It's a no nonsense place, more environmentally responsible - bring your own bag or buy them - efficient, clerks are nice.

Wow.  I would LOVE to see WinCo promote itself and its business model outside of Oregon and especially in direct competition with Walmart.  It might be tough going, as they don't accept credit cards, but if they deliver good product at a price and supply matching service, I'll guarantee you they'll draw a crowd!

I've shopped at Winco for about 20 years, and have been more impressed as the years go by, although they're not perfect.

One of the things I noticed 2 years ago is that they allow no panhandling, no religious begging, and no other kinds of begging or selling anywhere on their premises.  I love that!

There are many stores that have the xmas bells-ringing beggars trying to make me feel guilty for not donating to their cause.  And many have their clerks asking if I want to donate to x, y or z.  I hate that!  I come to their store to purchase something, not to be harassed.  In fact, I think I'll start saying that from now on.  Better yet, send an email to the owner &/or manager of those stores, stating that.

A few months ago, I sent an email to Winco, thanking them for the no begging policy, and they thanked me in turn.  

A month ago, I sent another email, saying that I use a lot of Hydrogen Peroxide, and asking why they charge $1.04 when Walmart charges $0.88  I said something like: Is it because you don't deal in as high a volume as Walmart and/or is it because your product is superior?  There answer was:

"Thank you for the great question!  While we can’t comment on other stores’ pricing, we’re happy to give some insight.

We do our best to negotiate the lowest possible price on the best quality product we can find.  Factors such as how much we sell does play into how low a price we can negotiate for our customers.  While we can’t always have the lowest price on every item, we do our best to make sure that our customers will save the most on their overall total.  We hope this gives some insight into our pricing. :)

Thank you as always for supporting our employee-owned stores, it’s an honor working for you!

Thank you for your time,                                                                                                                  Abi H.,                                                                                                                                       WinCo Foods - An Employee Owned Company

Some of their meat and produce are not the best tasting to my 73 year-old tasting apparatus, but no worst than Walmart.  

Fred Meyer seems to have better tasting meat & produce, but they are also more expensive and it's like solving a very hard puzzle to figure out their price reductions, come-ons and deal with their discount & rebate cards.  Ugg!

Winco employees are very helpful, and seem very nice.  The store has a good selection, much better than Costco, and I appreciate the fact that I don't have to "join" Winco to the tune of $55 every year.  I also don't have to buy large quantities, that often go bad before I can eat them.

Overall, there are more things to like about Winco than dislike, and I buy 95% of my groceries there.

I didn't know that the employees were that well-off.  It sounds like a good business plan.

It would be interesting to talk to some of the employees to see how they like the benefit package. 

Safeway disappeared from this town many years ago, and it sounds like a good thing.  I would very much hate the excessive nagging you describe.

Costco:  I've joined twice and quit twice.  They do have some good things at good prices, and I like that they move the customers through quickly, even during the busiest times of the day, but there are other things I don't like about them.  

They open at 10 AM, which is way too late for this early-riser.  WinCo is open 24/7/364, which I love.

Costco has some mediocre tasting frozen food, and some of their products are higher priced than other stores.  Hydrogen Peroxide for one.

The selection is poor, and there are several things I use that they don't have at all.  Such as distilled water, kidneys, and octopus.

I'm been given a very hard time by employees when I try to quit, sometimes even lying to me.  I've been harassed at great lengths to pay more than the basic membership, even though I tell them I don't buy much.

I had an eye exam and reading glasses made at Costco, and they were very poor compared to my regular optometrist's reading glasses.

Just yesterday in Sullivan, Missouri Dollar Tree was nagging at the register for a buck to support children. What children and why now? Is it to buy Christmas toys or what? You just don't know. About this time of year Walmart starts doing the same thing and they allow all of those horrible bell ringers outside the door.

Last week, for the first time ever, The Chubbuck Idaho Dollar Tree asked me if I wanted to give a dollar to support the troops.  I don't know where that money goes, and I highly resent them trying to guilt me into giving.

Yesterday, I sent an email to Dollar Tree expressing my dislike of that practice.  Their site said they would respond to emails, but no response so far.

No WinCo close to me, but the story makes sense. When I was in high school Sullivan, Missouri had grocery stores like anybody else. The whole community was under 6,000 people but a few "mom and pop" neighborhood groceries sprang up. That meant they added an extra 5 or 10 cents to something the other stores had anyway, but they made a profit the same way quick stop stores do today. Many small store owners went on into being landlords from this profit and some became well off. There is money to be made even in small profit margins.

Yes, if they have high enough volume. 

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