Search This Blog

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shopping Bargains: T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Ross

Believe it or not, you can find real food bargains at these discount retailers, which usually have “gourmet” aisles tucked somewhere in the back of their stores between the cheetah-print bras and the clearance Buddha heads.

These stores are a lot like flea markets—if you go looking for a specific item, you’re likely to be disappointed, but if you have the patience to browse, you can find some genuine steals.

Our T.J. Maxx is a good source of marked-down oils, vinegars, dried herbs, mustards, olives, and preserves. It’s the only place we buy walnut oil: a 17-ounce can of the excellent Tourangelle brand is $6.99. There’s always a lot of tea and chocolate, too. And, in case we’re worried that the food on the shelves is as stale as last year’s fishnets, a banner over the aisle proactively assures us that everything they sell is fresh. This is true; we’ve never had a problem with T.J. Maxx’s food (and that's more than we can say about Williams Sonoma's).


  1. I've never bought foodstuffs from TJ Maxx/Marshalls, but we have about five of them within a 6-mile radius of our house. And since I've gone gluten-free (and chocolate free, and most cheese-free), I've been searching for more ways to boost flavor. The discounted oils and things may be just what I'm looking for....

  2. I avoided them for a long time because I assumed their food was either stale or garbage or both, but what a pleasant surprise it's been. As with all discount stores, you have to overlook a certain amount of junk to find what you're looking for, but on the whole, my local T.J's has very high quality stuff.

  3. I can vouch for that La Tourangelle brand too- they produce a toasted sesame oil that's unique- in that it's less toasted than the typical asian brands, resulting in a beguilng and less dominant contribution to salad dressings and sauted green beans. It's delightful.

  4. Aww, gee, you just had to tell this "secret," didn't you?
    Now people will be picking over the food and spice aisles as badly as they do the bargain shirt bins.
    Soon it will be harder for me to take my pick of things like some wonderful-tasting fruit jams from France and Switzerland that I recently found. :-)