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The best and worst grocery stores: You get what you pay for

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Edgard Garrido/Reuters/File

(Read caption) A shopper carts her purchases from a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City last month. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, Walmart was ranked among the worst supermarket chains, with high marks for competitive pricing failing to make up for woefully low marks in customer satisfaction.

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I can’t stand customers who choose to shop at Walmart but still complain about the service. Walmart is known for rock-bottom prices, so long lines and lackluster customer service shouldn’t be a shocker.

In fact, that’s exactly what Consumer Reports discovered when they asked more than 24,000 people to rate their grocery shopping experiences for the magazine’s May issue. Despite its low prices, Walmart ranked among the country’s worst supermarkets. Check it out…

The rankings

The best…

Consumer Reports polled shoppers about food prices, selection, and quality – as well as customer service, line length, and crowds. Four chains came out on top. In particular, the magazine says shoppers praised these supermarkets for “quality meat and produce, a clean shopping environment, and very good or excellent prices.”

The worst…

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Three chains came out on the bottom because they “tried customer patience the most.”

In limbo…

Two chains were rated as highly in certain categories as they ranked poorly in others.

The moral of the story

Although many supermarkets avoided the best- and worst-ranked categories, I see two lessons that any grocery shopper should take away from these survey results…

Karla Bowsher runs the Money Talks News deals page and covers consumer, retail, and health issues. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.

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