11 Secret Grocery Store Services You Don't Know About
Sure, the grocery store is your go-to for both ingredients and prepared foods, household items, and even health and wellness products, but many grocery stores offer services that you might not realize. And in a day and age where we want to be smart about how many trips we are taking, or how many facilities we visit, knowing how to capitalize on your time at the grocery store or warehouse club can be to your advantage.
While not every local grocer will offer all of these services, it might be worth a fast perusal of the website of your nearest market, or a call to their customer service line, to see if you can't streamline some unexpected errands. Verify any costs first. Many of these services are free (or you just have to pay the cost of the food or goods), but the store may have some fees.
1. Get Pharmacy Services
Many of us have shifted our pharmacy pickups to our local grocery stores for ease, but did you know that you do not have to have any standing prescriptions at the grocery store's pharmacy to get your flu shot there? That's right — no script or appointment needed. If your grocer has a pharmacy, you can usually get your flu shot free of charge.
Even better? Many grocers offer a same-day coupon to customers to encourage you to shop while you are there for your vaccine. And there is a pharmacist on duty, so if you have a health question, don't hesitate to ask.
2. Request Help with Electronics
Places like Costco and Sam's Club that sell consumer electronics also offer tech support for those units, usually free of charge. Be sure to ask an employee in that department while you are browsing for that new piece of equipment if tech support is available and how to access it.
3. Have Photos Printed
Many grocery stores still have in-house photo printers, and some can even print your pics while you shop for same-day service. Check the website to see if this service is available, and how best to use it. You might be able to upload your photos right from your phone in store.
4. Have Your Party Catered
If your local grocer has a prepared foods section, chances are they also do large format catered events, too. This can be a godsend for gatherings, but also useful if they make a dish you love, since often the pricing per pound on catering sizes is much less than in smaller formats. So if they have, for example, a mac and cheese, lasagna, pulled pork, or other dishes that freeze well, you can often buy a small catering tray (to serve 10 people) and then repackage and freeze at home.
5. Order Floral Arrangements
If your store has a floral section, you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to the pre-made bouquets on the floor. They are often happy to customize something just for you. If you need more than one arrangement, call ahead to place your order in advance.
6. Bring Your Car for Servicing
If your local grocery store is a big box like Costco, Meijer, or Walmart, you might find a car center tucked around the side or back. Deals on new tires, basic oil changes, and the quick fixes like light bulbs can often be done while you are shopping for your groceries.
7. Take a Cooking Class
Many grocery stores offer free classes, from wine tasting to cooking to nutrition, often in unseen gathering spaces, so it might not be so obvious. Check the website of your local store for a calendar of programs and events that might perk your interest.
8. Buy Stamps or Ship Packages
Most grocery stores will sell you stamps, but many also serve as drop-off locations for shipping services like UPS or FedEx. Check to see if your store offers package pickup, which is terrific for easy returns of boxes that came with return labels, or if you have an online account to print your own labels at home.
9. Get Your Knives Sharpened
If you head to the store early in the day, or catch a quiet moment at the butcher counter, you can often ask them to sharpen one or two of your knives for you, and usually it is free. Be aware of timing, how busy they are, and don't bring in your whole cadre of knives at once. But usually if they are slow, they are happy to put a quick edge on your knife.
10. Request a Quick Wine Chill
Stopping by to grab a bottle on the way home or headed to a friend's house? Many grocery stores have fast chillers in their wine departments and will be happy to get that bottle to the proper temp for you.
11. Order Something Special Just for You
We all have those items that sometimes require an extra stop because our primary grocer doesn't carry it. Have a certain olive oil you cannot live without, or a cereal that is the only one your picky kid will eat? If your store doesn't currently carry it, just ask. Most grocers are happy to special order a product for you, and if they see that there is a market, will continue to keep it stocked.