Bargain Foods Pelzer SC store reminded me of a down home country cross between a Big Lots store and a Sams Club. It offers no frills bargain hunting at its best! Tell us what you think about this source of cheap food below.
I was pleasantly surprised by the plethora of terrific deals, the huge and diverse selection, the large store size, and the loads of friendly staff on every aisle and at checkout.
Watch the below video for a walk-through of various aisles and deals inside this Pelzer discount grocery store.
Whole Foods it surely is NOT, but it is a wonderland of savings for less persnickety bargain shoppers like me and you.
Just be sure to check dates on foods, verify safety / freshness seals are not broken, bring extra coolers, extra vehicle room, loads of patience, and ear plugs (if by chance you really don't care for Southern Gospel music;^}
I wish we had known about this Bargain Food Store in Pelzer SC years ago because we probably could have saved thousands of dollars on groceries and many other household items over the years. How in the world did we missed this!?
Luckily we heard about it from a frugal friend recently and decided to drive the 50 or so miles to check it out for ourselves. All I can say is WOW and Ka-ching!
If you too are on a tight budget in SC, GA, or NC - you need to check this source of cheap food out for yourself. It is now my new favorite grocery store...bumping Aldis down a notch.
It's easy to get to. Coming from the direction of Atlanta / Seneca / Clemson / Anderson, we just took exit 32 off of I-85 and drove around 6 miles southward on Hwy 8 (see map, address, and contact information below).
We will now be taking a little trip to Pelzer SC every month or so to do all our bulk food buying at Bargain Foods Store.
And it is just a few miles down the road from another of our favorite hotbeds of bargains...the famous Anderson Jockey Lot - the most visited tourist attraction in the state of South Carolina, believe it or not!
To give you some idea of the tremendous savings, lower down this page I've included a list of some of the terrific bargains we took advantage of to stock up our freezer and pantry.
If you check out the Pelzer SC Bargains for yourself, don't forget to take some videos or pictures with your camera phone so you can come back here and add your own comments or review of Bargain Foods Store at the bottom of this page.
I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say about this deep discount store.How did you like Bargain Foods? Share your comments or review here (jumps you down this page to the comment form)
I personally talked to the owner Neal Batson. He's a really friendly hardworking fellow. I often see him out working on the floor helping his fellow employees keep the shelves stocked with amazing bargains.
He told me that helping everyone save money on food is part of his personal mission work. He's been in the salvage food business a long time.
Mr. Batson seems very conscientious and happy to offer the deepest discounts so families can save lots of money on groceries and other items.
In my opinion, unlike most big box retailers and grocery chains, Bargains culture is not at all about greed driven profits. Speaking to the owner reinforced that realization for me. This is another reason I'm happy to shop there regularly and to spread the word to help support the owner, his employees, and the local economy.
I have no affiliation with Bargain Foods or its owner. This page is my way of paying it forward to help local families and a local small business that benefits families in the Tri-state area.
The following Bargain Foods video was uploaded by Gwynn Dorine who, like me, also loves deal shopping in Upstate SC.
She shows us a typical haul to what you can expect to score every time you visit this popular upstate SC salvage food store:
71 items for only $64.57 (tax included)!
If anyone wants to whip out their i-phone while shopping there and make a quick short video tour through the aisles, or take some pictures of your deals found inside the Pelzer Bargains, please do share them with us by providing a link to your uploaded video file on Youtube (set to allow for embed on websites) or elsewhere, or by directly adding any pertinent photos via the easy sharing form at the bottom of this page.
I and many others will greatly appreciate it and I'll be sure to give you full credit and a link to your Youtube channel if applicable.
Until then, here is another short video related to the Pelzer South Carolina Bargain Foods store. It highlights a few hair accessory deals one resourceful shopper bought there. Proves Bargains is not just for food deals. They have health & beauty supplies, hardware, pet food, farm & garden supplies, cleaning supplies, soils, fertilizers, spring bedding plants, and on and on.
Credit for below video goes to Youtube user: "tashaislovnit"
For $195 I alone bought two buggy fulls of 176 items of food (we did two trips through checkout;^). And I estimate I probably saved at least $100 on all those items based on what other grocery stores are charging.
The parking lot was full and every shopping cart at checkout was jam packed. You can tell it is a popular spot for stocking up on discounted grocery items.
Lower down is a list of the great bargains I found in Pelzer South Carolina.
There were a few items, particularly in the produce and dairy section that were not a very good deal so I passed on those. I don't blame them for throwing in a small percentage of full-priced convenience foods like Milk and eggs.
I'm frugal, but I also like one-stop shopping....my time is valuable too. So needing eggs and apples, I paid $7.55 for a box of 5 dozen eggs (I LOVE eggs) and I paid $3.99 for a good size bag of Red Delicious Apples.
Not too bad, but not great either. I wanted tomatoes but they were not a good deal at all and they looked like the pale red tasteless kind shipped in from some greenhouse farm factory.
I expect better deals on local fruits and vegetables during the warmer months at both Bargain Foods and at the nearby Anderson Jockey Lot - a very popular flea market (in case you ain't from around these here parts and have never heard of it;^)
Overall, despite a few full-priced items on the dairy side of the store, Bargains Foods is like shopping in a store made up of 90% loss leaders or clearance sales specials.
I did find some exceptional deals in the produce sections, such as the ~10 lbs of sweet potatoes I got for about $1, and the bag with 6 lbs of nice red potatoes I bought for 60 cents total (that's only 10 cents/lb)!
(Sometimes I like to boil red potatoes and just eat them with a little butter and salt...it's a German thing).
I also got a great deal on almost outdated hickory smoked bacon for around $1/lb - which I cut up and put in small bags in the freezer for later use.
I use Bacon very sparingly for seasoning other foods. For example, adding a piece or two to an entire crockpot of pinto beans to add flavor. Or frying up a piece of bacon next to my eggs (can't beat bacon grease for flavor there) or to dice up for a spinach salad topping.
In my experience frozen bacon stays viable for a very long time compared to other frozen meats. The 4 lbs. of bacon I bought for seasoning will last me 6 months or longer.
Carnivorous Bargain Hunters Rejoice
There were also big packages of clearance meat randomly piled up in one cooler. I didn't explore those deals very closely though since I'm not a huge meat eater. I am a cheap-skate afterall!
But there is probably more of a goldmine of bargains for the more carnivorous bargain hunter willing to dig through these bulk meat coolers.
Overall, I could easily be a vegetarian and eat very little meat...especially the much over-rated expensive cuts of red meat. So even bargain bins of beef don't impress me much.
Less meat in your diet is probably THE #1 way to save money on food and slash your monthly grocery bill - with the additional benefits of possibly improving health and lessening your environmental impact (if you are one of the minority who cares about sustainable living).
Western cultures eat way too much meat anyway. Regularly consuming too much animal fats is a leading contributor to many modern diseases such as heart disease and colon cancer, especially here in the Southern United States.
There are lots of other good cheap sources of protein such as the beans in my list of Bargain Foods bargains lower down this page.
Back to Bargain Foods Store...
Bulk Boxes of Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, Shrimp, Rabbit, ect.
There is also lots of big boxes of cheap bulk meat on the last aisle, and a good selection of other cuts on the second to last aisle.
Update: according to one employee, "we have an on-site experienced meat cutter and we offer the freshest meat of all popular sorts and at very competitive prices".
You will find all sorts of deals on beef, chicken, pork, Flounder, Perch, and Talapia fish and even rabbit quarters. I even saw several organ meats for sale in bulk.
I did notice some meats came from China - a country I have grown to be greatly distrustful of in regards to product quality and safety - not just on food items. I'll save those stories for another day.
Needless to say I avoided any meat products that listed China as the source.
No telling how much chemicals or mercury may be in some of those things. Could be less than here in the U.S. Who really knows?
But foods from China I particularly distrust due to their history of recalls, all the recent serious contamination incidents, and their lax or non-existent environmental oversight.
So keep an eye on where Bargain Foods is sourcing these bulk food items from if you are also distrustful of eating out of China's hand;^)
And if you are like many people and could care less, then go whole hog on the bulk meat. I'd just recommend you split a box with someone else and taste it first before committing to a large purchase. You can always get more on the next trip.
But one bulk meat item I do recommend is the big 10 lb. box of breaded chicken breast fillets for only $10.50. Yum!
These are great for quick sandwiches too. A box lasts me about 6 months or more.
For convenience, I portioned out the box into portions of four or five chicken breast pieces per ziplock freezer bag, and froze them. Makes for frugal, quick, and easy meals.What's your opinion of Bargain Foods Meat? Share your experiences here (jumps you down this page to the form)
Beggers and Choosers
Since I'm not quite a beggar, I can still afford to be a little bit of a chooser - such as I was when I chose the discounted Peter Pan peanut butter, over the larger and cheaper container shipped from Saudi Arabia (Arabic writing on jar caught my eye).
Needless to say, I took a pass on the Arabic peanut butter. lol
Yes, you see all kinds of things in the Bargain Foods Store, and from all over.
If I saw something from Fukushima Japan, I'd probably NOT be buying it either!
But most of the time we really don't know where our food comes from anyway. Labels often don't tell the true tale about country of origin.
But that goes for the fancy foodie hang-outs such as Whole Foods Supermarkets as well.
Evidently, there's a lot of "organic" false advertising going on at higher priced chains, based on recent news stories.
So I say, "fancy schmansy" when it comes to paying outrageous Whole Foods prices.
I'm not a food snob by any stretch...more of a Great Value kind of guy. But I still try to be mildly discerning where I can.
Bulk Buyer Beware
Overall this store has mostly closeout / liquidation type bargains so they are clearly purchasing lots from many different retailers.
I saw a wide variety of store branded products from various grocery chains, such as: Albertsons, Wal-mart, Meijers, Food Lion, and many others I had never even heard of.
Maybe some of the little known sources are now bankrupt operations liquidating their inventories. Or in many cases it appears to be outdated or nearly outdated clear outs and close-outs from small to regional to national chains in other states or countries.
There are also many "scratch and dent" sales on things like brand name canned soups, which I passed on. (I make my own soups and freeze extra...it's cheaper and a lot healthier than the high sodium canned stuff.)
But I bought a lot of perfectly fine un-dented canned goods for 33-50 cents a can. The large restaurant-size bulk canned goods are an even better deal in many cases.
But again pay particular attention to dates because some items are well past the "best before" dates. I saw several things that were a year or more outdated. But many items are not yet outdated. Either way, you can get brand name foods cheap!
Also be aware that some items may have involved some type of less than catastrophic defect somewhere along the supply chain.
Most things appear perfectly fine, but I noticed a few things that were cheap for a reason related to the actual manufacturing process, maybe.
So if you discover a great price, be careful before buying boxes and boxes of it. I'm now glad I held back on loading up on a few deals.
We saw one old-timer pushing out a buggy with a 5 foot high stack of about 7 boxes of the marked-down hickory smoked bacon.
I sure hope for his sake all is well with it. At least with my piddly 4 lbs. of it I have little to lose but a few dollars if by chance something's wrong - which I highly doubt.
High fat, salt cured, smoked, and vacuum packed bacon? Not very hospitable conditions for bacterial growth. I'd say we both made a wise gamble at ~$1/lb.
Update: Bacon tasted just fine!
I almost bought an entire box of the below Hershey Chocolate bars (I actually rarely ever eat candy - but I knew I could freeze the chocolate).
But I decided to buy only a few Hershey bars after all, and it's a good thing I decided to hold back on a bulk buy.
After opening and tasting one, I now know something is off. The nuts in it taste a whee bit stale and there is light-colored spots on the bars, as if the cocoa powder had not been mixed in well in the factory.
Who knows what the back stories are. There is some above average mystery to some of these below average prices. Check the items out as closely as you can.
The below Reeses cups also look as if they got too warm at some point and stuck a little to the wrappers with a bit of mottling on top, as you'd expect if they got warm at some point.
But they taste 100% fine and look 95% normal. Maybe a refer truck hauling them lost refrigeration for a few minutes in Texas last summer. lol
Another example of possible factory flaw was a pallet of un-labeled bottles of ketchup (each bottle with ketchup of a slightly different shade of red. Tasted perfectly fine though).
I suspect some factories may sell off the accumulated fraction of product from their assembly lines which may not quite meet specifications. Maybe a pH titration was a tiny bit off, or different lots of tomatoes caused mixed colors in a grocery store's end cap display. Like I said...mystery...like taking a bite of SPAM;^)
Despite my gut feeling, I bought a fancy Pad Thai noodle soup that I ended up later throwing away because while preparing it I found the sealed pack of prepared noodles inside smelled rancid.
I should have listened to the family member who told me not to buy it. That's the sort of prepared food I'll know to avoid next time.
It looked like it was not outdated on the package, though sometimes it can be hard to interpret those numbers. Next time I'll be even more judicious with what I buy, and avoid certain types of processed foods, as I normally do anyway.
I'll especially avoid buying any out of date grain-based products like noodles and crackers.
At least the below dry pasta turned out to be an excellent buy with no quality problems. Pasta lasts a very long time anyway.
Is it legal for grocery stores to sell outdated foods?
If you go shopping at Bargain Foods in Pelzer you may find yourself asking that question.
After some research online I've verified that it is legal to sell most outdated foods in most cases, with exceptions being foods that can become potentially dangerous, such as dairy or packaged meats.
I had been wondering about these type discount grocery stores selling outdated food for cheap ever since I saw an episode of TLC's "Extreme Cheapskates" in which a particularly frugal mother was shopping in a bargain food store similar to this one in Pelzer South Carolina.
Now this lady was beyond frugal. She was the one who insisted the family members use cloth rags in place of toilet tissue, with the used rags getting re-washed and re-used over and over.
Besides the free road-side salad greens she and the kiddies picked, she was getting tremendous deals on slightly outdated but safe items from a bargain food warehouse. After that episode I was wishing we had such a store here.
Well now I know we do!
I'm glad there is a store like Bargain Foods in this area where outdated and closed out foods can be bought by us more economic folks. But I am also not as paranoid or bacteria phobic as the average American seems to be when it comes to "beyond sell by date" waste.
I often eat "outdated" foods and have never had food poisoning from anything in my fridge. If it smells fine, I'll usually eat it.
Bargain Foods in Pelzer SC is my kind of store because instead of all that outdated food being destroyed, it can instead be sold to thrifty and low-income families who may be willing to sacrifice some quality for a lower price.
But "thrifty" often includes higher income families too. You'd be surprised who frequents Bargain Foods Store.
I know more wealthy frugal people than I do poor frugal people. I guess it's because frugality can often lead to wealth.
So shopping at this hidden gem in upstate SC is the perfect fit for anyone wanting to keep more of their hard earned money, no matter what tax bracket.
Important Fact to Consider: Yes you absolutely can return items for a full refund if you are not satisfied with something! Keep all your receipts.
What deals have you found at Bargain Foods in Pelzer SC? What do you think about this discount grocery store? Share your review or read others' reviews and comments below. Photos and especially videos get extra credit!
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