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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

As time goes on, I’ve become accustomed to my weekly habits from quarantine life. From learning how to persevere through remote learning, crocheting alongside my mom, and perfecting the perfect cup of tea, I’ve developed a new skill: grocery shopping. Maybe it’s a symptom of getting older, but every time I go to a grocery store I get giddy over all the new items in stock. But as a result of my new love for grocery shopping, I’ve also become more critical of the grocery stores I go to. The grocery stores featured in this list will be picked based off of the following criteria: regional proximity, cleanliness, efficiency, and convenience. I will be giving each grocery store a score out of five. 

Trader Joe’s (4.5/5)

What can I say? It’s my favorite go-to grocery store as it’s one of the closest ones near me and the safest regarding covid regulations. I saw a tweet saying that it was harder to get into a Trader Joe’s during the pandemic than into our nation’s capital and they’re absolutely right. Trader Joe’s has been the only grocery store I know of which has stayed consistent in counting how many people are allowed in and out of the store. When you’re in line for the cashier there are clearly marked areas indicating where to wait in line so you can be socially distanced 6 ft. apart. Also, when you see the cashier they’re either a wise old person with tattoos and a chill vibe, or a gen z worker. There’s no in between and I love it. The only reason why Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a full 5/5 is because of their culture appropriation of hawaiian shirts and food; they can do better. 


BTW – Trader Joe’s has a “Blueberry Lavender Almond Beverage” available and it’s oh so worth it, ESPECIALLY with your coffee. 

Safeway (3.75/5)

I get an inexplicable sadness every time I walk into a Safeway. Although, I can always rely on my Safeway to stay open 24/7 in case there’s ever an emergency (like an ice cream shortage). Walking the aisles alone at 2am trying to find the one worker to cash you at the register is my peak experience. Other than that though, I feel like I could go to any other grocery store if I wanted better produce and a good time.

Ranch 99 (4/5)

Ranch 99 or 99 Ranch? The debate is ongoing, but I think one thing we can all agree on is how nice it is to bond over the collective experience of touching the eyeballs of the fish in the Seafood area of the store. I can always rely on this store to have the spices and sauces available for my mom’s asian household. Same goes with my favorite aisle full of instant noodles. What other grocery stores have a whole aisle dedicated to noodles? Exactly. The only reason why I didn’t give Ranch 99 a perfect score is because every Ranch 99 I’ve been to has dim lighting and it messes with my mood. Also, they didn’t have chinese sausage the last time I went to the store and I’m still salty about it. 

Whole Foods (2.5/5) 

Do they have good produce and products? Sure. Is it also outrageously priced? Yes. I can find reasonably priced produce from other grocery stores by the same brands. Also, Whole Foods is owned by Amazon and I don’t want to further support a conglomerate. On the inside, things might look clean but just recently my local Whole Foods just came out revealing that they had many Coronavirus cases at the store, yet will continue to stay open. The only reason why I didn’t give Whole Foods a lower score is because of the food they make. Their mac n’ cheese is pretty good, I’ll admit, but that’s all they’re good for. 

Costco (5/5)

Does it count as a grocery store? Maybe not. But I absolutely love Costco. The CEO once threatened death because there was discussion over increasing the price of the iconic $1.50 hotdog. That’s called dedication and loyalty to customer service. The devil works hard, but Costco cashiers work harder. They are the backbone of this country and it’s no wonder why Costco gives them the highest minimum wage. In pre-pandemic times they would have samples and it was the greatest thing ever; it was my version of Disneyland growing up. Name anything and you can get it at Costco– in BULK. Costco really has it all– efficiency, cleanliness, and convenience. 

Honorable Mentions:


(Grocery Stores I’ve Been to Like Once But I Had a Good Time)



New India Bazar 


(Grocery Stores I Haven’t Been to But I Just Know I’d Have a Good Time)


Numero Uno Market 

Super King Grocery 



Now, I know by no means have I mentioned all of the grocery stores available within this country, however, the ones I’ve presented are those which ignite strong emotions within me. I would like to continue my journey on finding new and better grocery stores. Some people might want to see the seven wonders of the world, but I would like to see as many grocery stores as I can in my lifetime. Here’s to a life full of adventure and grocery stores.

Hello! My name is Theresa Bostic but I also go by DJ Terbear for my radio show, "The Shuffle" which plays on Sundays from 2-4pm on KZSC, UCSC's campus radio station. As an undergradute at UCSC, I'm double majoring in History and Sociology with a minor in Black Studies. I love making new friends, baking, hiking, and watching video essays on YouTube.