Gristedes Gets “Ban’d”

Right or wrong, Brooklyn Heights residents often shake their fists at the lack of quality dining and decent supermarkets. A trip to Key Food could end with you on ABC’s Gotcha Journalism Show or even worse, eating green chicken. Meanwhile, Gristedes’ prices seem to come from Rodeo Drive (if Rodeo Drive were to have a Gristedes). As one reader put it:

I was in Gristedes on Henry Street by Clark yesterday and checked out the price of Ban antiperspirant there. Needless to say, I didn’t buy any. But I was so startled, I took this photo.
But then compare it to the price yesterday at CVS.

Comparison shop after the jump.

I asked a Gristedes clerk if he would pay this much for Ban deodorant, and the answer was a definite “no.” When I asked a Gristedes manager where the prices came from, I was told that headquarters sets the prices based on a formula he was unsure of. I am not a good at math, but I would still like to know their deodorant formula.

UPDATE: As noted by one commenter—and by the tipster himself, “Granted, the $9.19 container is 3.5 ounces and the CVS container is 2.6 ounces, but still!!! I don’t understand how Gristedes stays in business!”

Gristedes Ban

Gristedes Ban



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  • AEB

    Gristede’s formula is squeeze the suckers for all they’ve got/all they’re willing to shell out.

    Don’t you just love it when you get condescending exploitation with your deodorant? Won’t make you smell better….

  • Todd

    It’s time to ban Gristedes.

  • Bartmann

    Even though Gristedes is the closest supermarket to me, I always walk past it to Trader Joes for weekly shopping and Key Food for quick items. The only people I ever see there are the students who live across the street and some old people from the working class housing projects.

  • Jo

    If you do happen to buy anything at Gristedes, be sure to check the price on the label/shelf as they have a habit of charging more when you finally get to the register (especially for items marked as “sale” but are not updated in their registers).

    They may try to make you feel bad for holding up the line, but it is their own darn fault.

  • Mike

    You do need to read the size on the tags though, it’s not apples to apples. Gristedes is 3.5oz and CVS is 2.6oz

  • ABC

    yes mike. that makes a big difference.

    why anyone would EVER shop at gristedes is a mystery to me. bcs you can’t walk three more blocks? you can have all this stuff delivered to your door for cheaper

  • AAR

    Bartmann: I think what you refer to as “working class housing projects” are the Cadman Towers apartment buildings — all Co-ops!

  • ABC

    they are a lot of affordable housing in there too. a family I knows has one of those units — 3 bedrooms for under $1000. too bad they don’t get to enjoy it much bcs they spend so much time at their house on Long Island. grrr. dont get me started…

  • GHB

    Went to Gristede’s the other day to buy a 1/2 gallon of non-fat milk. As usual, there was none on the shelf. You know that guy who’s always stocking the shelves (or at least shifting items to look busy) at the back of the store? I asked, and he said they didn’t have any. Luckily, Andy the mgr was right there and he told him to check downstairs. Sure enough, they had it. With all the people out there who need work, how they keep this loser employed is beyond me!

  • WillowtownCop

    Deodorant is one of those things that, if there are no other stores around, they can charge anything they want for it. At what price would you forego deodorant? $20 a stick? $30? Fortunately, we’re capitalists and there are other stores.

  • abeautifulmind

    Gristedes: 3.5oz @ $2.625 per oz = $9.19
    CVS: 2.6oz @ $1.533 per oz= $3.99

    why in the world would I pay $1.09 MORE per oz
    have I missed something?

  • Heightsman

    Thanks abeautifulmind, I was just doing the math myself although the price is $2.99 which makes it even cheaper!

    I heard that Gristedes has many food stamp customers so they keep the prices high….myth or reality.

  • dannyinbrooklyn

    I also have been totally shocked by the prices at Gristede’s. On a recent night, I went to Gristede’s looking for a few toiletry items because it was after 10pm and CVS was closed. I ended up deciding to go shopping the next morning instead. Just one example that I remember- A stick of Sensodyne toothpaste costs $9.99 at Gristede’s, while it costs between $5.99 and $6.49 at pharmacies in the nabe. I honestly can’t believe that anyone would pay ten bucks for a stick of toothpaste. I decided not to waste my time looking for anything at Gristede’s ever again…

  • yd

    CVS is not quite the cheapest either and I have my moment of price shockers there too.

  • Gristedes: Ew

    Adding my voice to the chorus of Gristedes denunciation. I never ever EVER go there except in case of life-threatening emergencies. I am baffled why anyone consents to being ill-treated and overcharged, which is what their customers do.

  • Publius

    We’ve all gone through this for as long as BHB has been around. Many times have there been price checks and outrage displayed by BHB contributors.

    Gristedes is routinely 300% more expensive than a standard supermarket.

    One example is Autie Chung’s soup bowl. $1.95 at Fairway, $8.99 at Gougestedes.

    I hate those guys.

  • statestreet

    you people all sound like you’d shop at walmart if had the chance.

  • PJL

    Gristede’s prices aren’t that bad for high-volume/perishable items (milk/bread), so I go there for those since their location is so convenient to me… it’s the stuff they don’t sell every day that I avoid/seems to be so ridiculously over-priced….

  • Quietude

    Gristede’s sells paper plates and cups, and Key Food does not.

  • David on Middagh

    Those ecologically incorrect bâtards!

  • nystrele

    great post! good investigative work. i just shake my head on those rare occasions that i stop by gristedes. they seem to think they’re the nabe’s whole food market. that would be a NO.

  • beth

    I was holding this back, but here’s my chance: Last week I saw a worker pick an olive out of the olive bar and eat it.

  • rank_outsider

    nystrele, I’d love it if a Whole Foods came here.

  • William Spier

    I don’t know why I am getting into this, I usually shop at Fairway. As a rule, grocery stores charge ridiculous prices for sundries like deodorant. Gristedes’ price for the item is really on the high end of stupid.

    If you work the store carefully though, you can get some things at a reasonable prices–it is a big and decently stocked market. Gristedes’ problem is that it is the wrong kind of market. It is trying to please every type of customer while pleasing very few. Volume suffers.

    Even though I think Trader Joe’s is second rate, it does think through its demographics well; the result is good sales.

  • Jen

    I went to Gristede’s in a moment of desperation and paid $6.49 for packaged sliced Swiss cheese….which (I realized when I got home) had expired the week before. I didn’t bother to take it back — I should have.

    I also don’t understand why their organic milk always has expiration dates that are only about a week away. Every other place in the neighborhood sells fresher milk — the kind with expiration dates about a month out.

  • Mike

    Yes the price per ounce is higher but you should give some latitiude to CVS having a sale on it, which is evident from the picture above. To be fair you should then compare Gristede’s sale items. If you are going to bash someone at least be fair about it.

  • Cmac

    Beth…I too was holding back… I was at a bar and I saw the bartender sneak a glass of beer from a tap….the horror! No doubt you felt the same regarding the olive bar! What are those bartenders and stock boys thinking?

  • since47

    If you shop at Gristede’s, don’t buy drugstore items; if you shop at Key Food, don’t buy drugstore items. IF you shop for drugstore items in a supermarket, you will pay more, and that’s the way it is. So don’t do it.

  • my2cents

    Well, now we know why John Catsimatidis is a frickin Billionaire. It’s all that marked-up Ban!

  • ABC

    I know everyone was complaining last week about the boorish Brownstoners crashing this thread, but I can’t say deodorant-gate is all that interesting.

    Maybe you can lift the ban Homer? I don’t like the idea of banning people for being, at worst, lame.