Jump to content
Chapala.com Webboard

Large Grocery Stores Versus Corner Stores Versus Mercados/Tianguis


Recommended Posts

Is there a consensus on whether grocery shopping (particularly for the staples) is cheaper, easier, better, etc. at the big grocery stores, the corner stores, or the local mercados/tianguis? I guess the best example of the "big" grocery stores in the area would be Wal-Mart. There are smaller grocery stores on every other corner. I'm not as sure about the mercados/tianguis. I presume Chapala would have a standing mercado - but maybe not, I've not been to one. And the weekly tianguis are an option.

So, what do you you guys do? Why? And what would you recommend to new expats who habla un poquito espanol? I like the (written) marked prices in the big stores but presume they're probably more expensive than the other options. Thanks in advance for any input or advice. 

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an old adage here, "The bigger the store the higher the price".

Chapala has both a central market and a large tiangui. See where the local working family shops to find the best prices.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with shopping at the local markets is that if you don't have a car, and you need to get several items that they may not all carry, it's usually easier to shop at one place, such as Walmart.  You can buy everything you need and not have to get on and off the bus several times through town, which adds up in fares.  (plus standing and waiting for buses several times)   I try to shop locally when possible, and combine my trips so that they are the most efficient on the bus.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do not have a vehicle then shopping locally at the corner market is probably your best bet. That assumes that you are close to a corner market. Shopping locally can be very rewarding as we did that in a number of countries. However, we now live in an area that requires us to have a vehicle.

Having a car means you have to have a place to park... We have found that Wally World, Costco and Fresco fill our needs mainly because they have convenient parking and a wider selection than any local market...

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, AngusMactavish said:

There is an old adage here, "The bigger the store the higher the price".

Chapala has both a central market and a large tiangui. See where the local working family shops to find the best prices.

 

Angus, just so ya know: the word is tianguis, both in the singular and the plural.  The word comes from the nahuatl word tianquiztl.   One tianguis, two tianguis.  I know that some people seem to drop the 's' when they pronounce it, but nevertheless...

My personal preference is to shop at either a tianguis or at a municipal market.  I have several reasons: the produce, meat, etc, are fresher than at a supermarket or corner store, the prices are usually less, and shopping is a highly convivial social experience, not just a supermarket push-your-cart-around chore.  I love getting to know the tianguis and market vendors to chat about ingredients and recipes with them and with other shoppers.  I usually go at the same time each week, as do many other clients, and we meet over the jitomates y calabacitas to yak about life and food,  politics and that louse of a neighbor, whatever comes up.  It's fun.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, suegarn said:

The problem with shopping at the local markets is that if you don't have a car, and you need to get several items that they may not all carry, it's usually easier to shop at one place, such as Walmart.  You can buy everything you need and not have to get on and off the bus several times through town, which adds up in fares.  (plus standing and waiting for buses several times)   I try to shop locally when possible, and combine my trips so that they are the most efficient on the bus.

In Chapala you don't need a car because we have a mercado at our central plaza and many shops all around it as well. some people use the collapsible carts if necessary. You just picked the wrong town to live in without a car. I don't have one yet and have been here almost 10 years.Once a month I go to Soriana or Walmart by cab primarily for big cleaning containers and bulk paper goods.

$2.00 CDN-Table is 2x4s[a].jpg

bought the leg off this goat at chapala mercado.jpg

chapala mercado.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on who has what I want.  I like and want to walk, so picking up items I can fit in my large tote on foot is a great way for me to keep up on my walking.  Once a week a car trip to Walmart or Soriana or SuperLakes or La Paz for heavy or cumbersome shopping .   Use Costco buying service, rather than driving there.  

Some examples of items available at specific places within walking distance of me in Ajijic:

Green chorizo (Ajijic tianguis)

Warm bolillos (local tiendas)

Hot smoked salmon (Thursday market at Jasmine's)

Italian sausage and sliced ham/prosciutto (Lilifer on Colon)

French Pastries (La Vie en Rose #2, Independencia)

Coffee (truck from Veracruz on carretera at Javier Mina...his name escapes me today)

Granola, hard-to-find spices and baking needs, goat yogurt and Rony's chocolates (La Graneria next to Gossips on carretera at Javier Mina)

Half and half (El Torito only place I've seen it in Ajijic)

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Sorn said:

Is there a consensus on whether grocery shopping (particularly for the staples) is cheaper, easier, better, etc. at the big grocery stores, the corner stores, or the local mercados/tianguis? I guess the best example of the "big" grocery stores in the area would be Wal-Mart. There are smaller grocery stores on every other corner. I'm not as sure about the mercados/tianguis. I presume Chapala would have a standing mercado - but maybe not, I've not been to one. And the weekly tianguis are an option.

So, what do you you guys do? Why? And what would you recommend to new expats who habla un poquito espanol? I like the (written) marked prices in the big stores but presume they're probably more expensive than the other options. Thanks in advance for any input or advice. 

We shop weekly at the Monday Tiangus in Chapala. We buy almost exclusively at vendors there that post the price per kilogram we have shopped with most of them for many years. We do not buy meat or chicken there, for no particular reason. We also shop for our house keeper there as she says it is much cheaper than the tiendas and  Ajijic tiangus. You can generally grab a youngster to carry your bag of produce. One caution is that they tiangus sells mostly by the kilo and if you only want one banana or orange you will still pay for a kilo. Take the Kilo and give away what you can't use.  We also shop most Tuesday at Walmart for fruits like apples and pears which they put on sale on Tuesdays. We may buy flour and a little meat there if it is especially attractive. We buy tomatos and a few other things at the Organic market in La Huerta in West Ajijic, west of the Cemetery, Tuesday at 10:00 AM. We make a Costco run every 6 or 8 weeks for toilet paper and paper towels and plastic trash bags and laundry detergent.

  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, geeser said:

We shop weekly at the Monday Tiangus in Chapala. We buy almost exclusively at vendors there that post the price per kilogram we have shopped with most of them for many years. We do not buy meat or chicken there, for no particular reason. We also shop for our house keeper there as she says it is much cheaper than the tiendas and  Ajijic tiangus. You can generally grab a youngster to carry your bag of produce. One caution is that they tiangus sells mostly by the kilo and if you only want one banana or orange you will still pay for a kilo. Take the Kilo and give away what you can't use.  We also shop most Tuesday at Walmart for fruits like apples and pears which they put on sale on Tuesdays. We may buy flour and a little meat there if it is especially attractive. We buy tomatos and a few other things at the Organic market in La Huerta in West Ajijic, west of the Cemetery, Tuesday at 10:00 AM. We make a Costco run every 6 or 8 weeks for toilet paper and paper towels and plastic trash bags and laundry detergent.

The market in La Huerta is a Farmer's Market and not an organic market. It has not been an Organic Market for years.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the first considerations is where does one like to live... Some folks like the village or city accommodations and some are suburbanites... Your style of living and your choice of vendors are completely different.  To each, his own but each has its tradeoffs... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the input and insight. I've generally preferred the mercados in other areas of Mexico but, from what I recall, written prices were hit or miss. I'm much more comfortable reading Spanish than hearing it. But it sounds like written prices are the norm (or at least more common) lakeside. I can see an occasional trip to Wal-Mart or Costco, etc. being very useful, too, though. And, bottom line, I just need to improve my oral/audible Spanish.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't live Lakeside, but have similar options re shopping. It all depends on what your shopping list is. Once every couple weeks I do a Costco/ Mega run for dog food, large bags of coffee, aged cheddar cheese (which I can't find anywhere else unless they have bought it at Costco and majorly marked it up), toilet paper, and so on. For fruit and veggies, eggs, and some basic staples, I like the local markets, as the stuff is much fresher and better and I prefer to support local business as much as possible.  Unfortunately, our once-a-week farmers market is really expensive on most stuff- prices geared to tourists, so I only buy a couple things there I can't find anywhere else, or if I want to treat myself to something special.

You'll figure out after awhile what you can save on by hitting big box once in awhile, what isn't so much more expensive locally that it warrants not supporting local family business ( I couldn't care less about paying an extra 5-10 pesos on an item),  and what you really want to have on hand to eat that you can't find locally. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, tomgates said:

This is a really stupid discussion. In the US do you do all your shopping at 7/11?

Lol what a completely irrelevant comment.  Have you ever actually checked the prices at an Oxxo for basic food stuff? Pretty reasonable.   For myself I walk less then four blocks return, hit mr bull, the cremeria, surtidor, and veggie store.   About once every three months I go to Wal-Mart for shampoo and tomato soup.  Everything else can be found local.

Edited to add ... In centro, Oxxo is the only place to find ice cream :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm cool with people appreciating or not appreciating the discussion. No problem. For my part, I've found the responses useful. Others may have their own routines or just not be interested - and that's fine, too. My shopping habits in Mexico have differed from when I've lived in the US or (admittedly, for much shorter periods of time) France, England, Germany, or Italy. It's helpful for me to learn from people who have been here a while. So please indulge, or forgive, my ignorance.  

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...