A Grocery Auction?

A friend of mine sent me this AP news article about a recent trend in grocery shopping, grocery auctions.

Rich Harris, 28, who was recently laid off from his welding job, showed up at Williams’ auction in Dallas earlier this month looking for meat for his freezer and snacks for his kids. With his wife pregnant with their third child, “I’m basically trying to expand my dollar right now,” he said. “The deals, they seem to be fairly good.”

Grocery sales make sense for auctioneers, too. Sales of baseball cards, estate jewelry and other auction staples have “fallen off a cliff,” Williams said. He hopes to average about $12,000 in sales per auction, which would net him a profit of about $1,000.

The popularity of the auctions – which sell leftover or damaged goods from supermarkets, distribution centers and restaurant suppliers – comes at a time when people are stretching their grocery budgets by using more coupons, buying inferior cuts of meat, and choosing store brands over national brands.

I had never heard of this before, but it sounds interesting. I have friends that buy fruits and vegetables by the bushel at auctions in the summer and get really awesome deals. I wonder, how good are  the deals  at these grocery auctions? I searched the web for a while tonight trying to find a grocery auction in my area, but couldn’t find anything. I would love to attend one and check out the prices.

What about you, would you purchase groceries at an auction?



  1. Honestly, I just don’t think that I could. Well, let me rephrase that–the deal would just have to be stellar, and unbeatable. Pennies.

    Something about really not knowing where my food has been at that point, just weirds me out a bit.

  2. I would do it, if I could talk my husband into going. I would NOT buy meat, but I could do produce and nonperishables, sure!

  3. I can’t say that I would. My kids have such food issues that I would be worried that it would set them off. Grocery’s are the one area that I haven’t been cutting back, simply because If I don’t keep Alex on his very strict diet it is a disaster. And part of his diet is all organic.

    That being said, if we didn’t have the diet restrictions, I would at least take a look to see what was available.

  4. I agree with Phoebe. Perishables will be out of the question. Meat? No way. Dairy? Forget it. I have a hard time with milk or yogurt expiring in a few days. My stomach just starts to quiver.

    I’d go though. You just never know.

  5. if it was sealed, unopened in any way and not past it’s expiration date..you bet ya I would!!

  6. Southern Gal says:

    I read this article and was trying to think of all the blogs I read that would need to read it. Glad someone forwarded it to you.

    The article stated at the end that sometimes people get carried away and the deals aren’t as good as you could get in the stores. I would probably try it if they had one in my area.

    We have a produce co-op year round. Usually 25-30 ladies pay $20 per month for a laundry basket full of fresh fruits and veggies. It’s wonderful.

  7. Angel Beers says:

    I would but ONLY if I was ably to look over everything first…you know like a pre show. I do shop at salvage (dent can) stors & get great deals there. Mine happens to have a few farmers that wholesale things like veggies fruit & eggs. You just have to be careful and read expiration dates. Salvage stores can be great.

  8. My husbands family used to collect those unused/dated goods directly from the grocery store and use it and share with other families, they called it Mana! We have talked about asking at our local store but have not yet got up the nerve. I am wierd about certain things too but I think it would be worth it. I didn’t know they charge for the “mana” now too!

  9. Apples for applesauce? Peaches for jam? Sure. 50 pounds of meat that is on the verge of walking away? Probably not. Shelf stable items? Yeah.

  10. hmmm yeah i have never heard of that until now…..i guess it would depend on what it was for me to buy it or not

  11. I just read an article this morning in my paper, very interesting. It said people can save 50% off the groceries. If I shop the sales with coupons I frequently can save 50% off many items (not produce or dairy, which the auctions don’t include.)

  12. My granddad used to go to these all the time and come home with neat stuff at great prices. They’re fine by me for sure.

  13. we have a local store that sales eggs, milk and dented cans from the local grocery stores at a large discount but your income has to be below a certain level

  14. I looked into something similar before. Some places will sell items by the Banana Box, you can just pick up a box for $X.xx. The closest one I found was 40 minutes away, and only open on the weekends as a ‘flea market’ where you buy things by the item, or the truckload. I still haven’t gone, its just not enticing enough since I don’t know anyone that has shopped there before.

  15. I’ve never even heard of a grocery auction. I’d have to check it out and see what they had.

  16. Lindy Tomberlin says:

    Does anyone know where grocery auctions are in Oklahoma? I live in Enid, OK; can’t find anything online.

    • I don’t know if you ever found any grocery auctions yet in your area. I live in Stillwater, OK and they have food auctions in Jennings, Glencoe and Perkins. I usually go to the Perkins one the 3rd Thursday of every month. It starts at 5:00 p.m. Its outside the city limits, so you only pay state and county tax. You can go through the canned goods around 3 p.m.

      • Lindy Tomberlin says:

        Thanks for the info; I will check it out. Do you happen to know what highway road # it’s on?

        • I tried to reply to this last month, but this site wouldn’t let me. It used to be on Highway 33, but I went last month, and they were no longer there in Perkins. I assume Glencoe is still having theirs at 6:00 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of the month. It’s on Main Street, on the North side. The big front windows has a painted sign telling about it, you can’t miss it.

      • Do you know if there is still any more auctions and the date times or and/or names that I can look up the information where row interested in coming ??

  17. Although this seems to be a way to save money, people should be careful on the products they eventually buy. Expiration dates on food should be viewed not only for freshness, but for safety.

    I would rather put my faith in coupons for getting my deals.

  18. Michelle Cummins says:

    I also live in Oklahoma and was looking for the auctions that I saw on a news story and have not. I wouldn’t buy meat, but canned and boxed yes. I find that Aldi is the best buy on produce and dairy products. For instance, milk at Aldi’s is $2.08 a gallon, eggs $.90 and good quailty, long dates.

  19. We have something similar to this in a town over from me. I’ve heard good and bad, but never witnessed it before. I can’t imagine buying perishables though!

  20. I have been going to a food auction for the past 3 years. I live in Oklahoma and have found that I get amazing deals on canned foods, cereal, all dry goods, and even meat. I have never had anything bad from the auction. The auction I go to is close to Cushing and it is wonderful. I was able to get a ton of stuff…(diapers, toilet paper, groceries, dish soap, etc)…for an unbeatable price! I got over $350 worth of stuff for $150 or less. I love grocery auctions!!!!

  21. It is too bad there are so many people here responding saying “no” etc. and not a single one has attended a grocery auction missing out on literally amazing deals. Tisk tisk. Look before you judge. Quivery stomachs from an imagination that is formed vividly without any facts or evidence of reality. The meat is fresh. Sealed and frozen at zero degrees or below. Factory packaged in very thick vacum sealed plastic. Everyone is literally brainwashed thinking a pretty decorated grocery store means the meat is so perfect with the pretty displays etc. I’ve worked in a butcher shop and for a wholesaler and it is definitely not a perfect world out there. There are so many gimmicks at grocery stores to fool people into paying more than the actual value. Downsizing everything from cereal boxes to candy bars. Placing the over priced stuff at eye level and placing some sale items at the end of the isles when unfortunately they place items that are not selling because they are overpriced for their value right next to the sale items to fool you people that do not go out and study the real facts into buying these overpriced items thinking they must also be on sale or at a reduced price since they are on the end of the isle or are in a bin etc. Everything at these auctions is dated etc. The most you pay is just a bit over 1/2 price. The prices can easily drop to one fourth of regular price. I am talking quality fresh meats, lunch meats, frozen seafoods, entrees, pastry, canned goods, jar goods,candies, etc. etc. Last night we pucrhcased $315 in groceries which we priced today at store prices. Easily over $1000 in a grocery store and we do use coupons and store brands and club discounts etc. We paid $6 for a 2 lb. box of jumbo shrimp, bagged boxed and sealed and frozen. That was 1/2 price compared to Sam’s club equivalent. We paid $12.50 for an 8 pound New York Strip tenderloin, Pretty red in color. Same deal, frozen and very well packaged in a thick plastic vacum pack similar to Sam’s Club. That is $1.56 per pound! My brother is a chef and he said it was absolutely fine and my own meat experience tells me it was obvious it was frozen from fresh. Most dated items are 1 to two years ahead of their shelf life. Most items were dated late 2010 or 2011. Many items were later. They are particular in pointing out the date on everything. Another point too. I also shop at the discount scratch and dented stores. At the auction there was literally nothing damaged or outdated like at teh discount stores at all. It was all well within the dated shelf life and not a scratch or a dent on anything whatsoever. So at least visit an auction. Do yourself a big favor. No obligation to purchase but at least visit one. I do suggest however that you do register before the auction starts and you get seated because I can’t imagine you NOT BIDDING on the products once you are seated. They even raffle off tickets to the highest bidder of each item. Then after you win a bid they still drop the price almost in half to sell off a complete lot of product and they give you the product for the reduced price that is enticed to everyone else to sell all of the product even though you placed the highest bid. Then at several times throughout the auction they raffel off food or money. Typically $20 bills. And just one example last night was a raffle for 3 sepearte items or in other words they did 3 quick raffles whcih included a 20 lb box of frozen and vacum sealed baby back ribs, a 10 lb box of silroin steak tips, and a 12 pound non cured frozen ham. Your choice of shank or butt ham. The 12 pound hams were going for as little as $8.00 each by the end of the auction. They started at $12.00 each and since they had several they kept dopping through the night. The hams looked awesome too. Hope this enlightens some people that are restricting their grocery buying knowledge with an imagination drived from imaginary facts only. BEst of luck and fill that freezer like we did.

  22. i also live in oklahoma and have been looking for food auctions with no luck could you please inform me of where you have found any and when they take place or a way to contact them for that information. thank you very much. donna j

  23. Are there any in Georgia? I’d like to attend one and check things out.

  24. Glenda Stokes says:

    Drumright has one on the first Saturday each month. Can check website for times and dates at varnellsauction.com look at the grocery auction.

  25. Glenda Stokes says:

    I have purchased almost monthly at the one in Drumright, including meat. All products have been great. Definitely recommend checking this out. It is held on the first saturday each month east of town then south on highway 16 at the activity center. Can check out times and dates at the following web site varnellsauction.com then go to the grocery section. The sale started at 7:00am last saturday due to the heat. Normally starts around 10am.

  26. Glenda Stokes says:

    Does anyone know if Perkins or Glencoe has a web site?

  27. My parents use to go to the one in Jenning. I have tried to get info on it, does anyone know where it is and how I can find out any contact info?

  28. I have never been to a food auction but know of a store in the town I moved from in Missouri they bought all their products at food auctions. Their prices were cheap and everything was within date and they had some really good food. Many items I could not buy in a regular store including restaurant packages of items.

  29. Peggy Martin says:

    I used to live in Cushing and have been to the grocery auction in Jennings many times and attended the one in Perkins once. We have since moved to Seminole, but would really love to attend these auctions again. I hear the one in Perkins is gone, and the reason we went to the Perkins one was because the Jennings one stopped. Im hearing there is one in Drumright now. How would I find out about it, where it is, and is there a website or mailing list? We used to be on the mailing list for the one we went to, but I guess they have since stopped doing it. Any info would be greatly appreciated. We are a single income family trying to feed 8+ people and need to save money everywhere we can. I have saved a lot of money at these auctions in the past, so much that we had extra to donate to needy families and such. Please if anyone can let me know anything about these, or any around Seminole or Shawnee would be great, but its such a great deal I dont have a problem going to Drumright either. Thanks.

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