July 3, 2009

Groceries cost 14% more in the Bay Area than Seattle or Washington DC

Happy July 4th everyone!

I’m posting this one day in advance because I’m taking tomorrow off.

As is tradition on Burbed, here is the latest installment of “Groceries cost more in the Bay Area.” As usual, I have compared 3 cities where Safeway is available: Cupertino, Seattle (possibly our new enemy), and Washington D.C.

As we all know, it is our explicit goal to have the highest cost of living here. It helps keep the riff raff out, and promotes innovation by encouraging people to constantly work.

So… for those of you who are slacking off, not adding value by taking the day off to have a BBQ, here’s a sample grocery list and how much more it costs to have it in the Bay Area. I compared the exact same items on Safeway.com for these three cities, choosing only products that were not on sale. That explains there are no hot dog buns on this list – they were all on sale!

Item Cupertino Seattle Washington DC More than Seattle More than DC
Coke (12 pk) $6.29 $6.29 $5.99 0% 5%
Beef Back Ribs $5.98 $3.58 $2.98 67% 101%
Pork Loin Bank Ribs $17.99 $18.99 $17.99 -5% 0%
A1 Sauce $8.23 $5.56 $5.99 48% 37%
Salt $0.89 $0.89 $0.79 0% 13%
Ground Pepper $2.99 $2.69 $1.99 11% 50%
Red Potato $0.37 $0.37 $0.32 0% 16%
Can of Corn $1.49 $1.15 $1.15 30% 30%
Gravy Mix $1.45 $1.39 $1.09 4% 33%
Chicken Breast $8.99 $8.99 $8.99 0% 0%
Match Light Charcoal $5.59 $4.49 $3.99 24% 40%
Lettuce Blend $3.79 $3.49 $3.49 9% 9%
Madeleine Cookies $4.29 $3.99 $3.99 8% 8%
Organic Corn Chips $2.99 $2.99 $3.49 0% -14%
Sheet Cake $21.99 $17.99 $20.99 22% 5%
Dinner Roll $0.59 $0.59 $0.59 0% 0%
Red Roma Tomato $0.54 $0.40 $0.54 35% 0%
Dill Pickles $4.19 $3.29 $3.79 27% 11%
Ketchup $2.99 $2.39 $2.59 25% 15%
Mustard $1.99 $1.75 $1.89 14% 5%
Red Onion $0.97 $0.74 $0.97 31% 0%
Beef Franks $5.29 $4.99 $4.49 6% 18%
Paper Plates $3.29 $2.49 $2.49 32% 32%
Utensils $0.99 $0.99 $0.99 0% 0%
Total $114.16 $ 100.48 $101.57 14% 12%

The Bay Area wins again!

So congrats to the Bay Area for once again being more expensive in groceries than Seattle and Washington DC.

Now if only Safeway.com would open in NY so that I could do a comparison there. That would be the ultimate match up!

Have a good BBQ tomorrow!

Comments (23) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:43 am

23 Responses to “Groceries cost 14% more in the Bay Area than Seattle or Washington DC”

  1. aaa Says:

    In addition to groceries, look at building costs.

    I can see land in the RBA going for a premium w.r.t. non-RBA and most of the rest of the country, but why should it cost 2X or 3X more to build in Mountain View compared to, say, PA or TX?

    In the rest of the country, it costs 100-150 $/sf to build, but in the RBA somehow wood, drywall and nails cost so much more and can’t be simply transported in.

  2. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Our unskilled day laborers aren’t just going to give away their unskilled labor in the RBA! Instead of 5 bucks an hour, it’s 20 bucks an hour!

  3. steve Says:

    after all, they have mortgages to pay

  4. Herve Estater Says:

    Madeleine cookies? For a July 4th BBQ? Are you a girlie man?

  5. zanon Says:

    Not a good comparison, burbed.

    Our produce is grown locally, so is of much higher quality.

  6. Fourth of Julyer Says:

    “Our unskilled day laborers aren’t just going to give away their unskilled labor in the RBA! Instead of 5 bucks an hour, it’s 20 bucks an hour!”

    Yep, and unlike most of the country, ours are undocumented.

  7. Steve Johnson Says:

    Grocery stores are now turning into food asembley plants were consumers go in and pick from a variety of ready to eat or ready to heat food components to take home and place on the table. In other words they are becoming Grocerants. Most consumers do not cook them simply assemble meal s particularly Monday – Friday. Lets look at prepared food ready to eat next time; that is how america is eating.

  8. nomadic Says:

    Oh, I thought a “grocerant” was a rant about how your local grocer screws up. Like when I go to my Safeway and they’re out of friggin’ bananas!

    :-)

  9. burbed Says:

    Our produce is grown locally, so is of much higher quality.

    At Safeway?

    Madeleine cookies? For a July 4th BBQ? Are you a girlie man?

    It was really hard to find cookies that weren’t on sale at one of the 3 safeways I compared.

  10. anon Says:

    Safeway’s become a retail business.

    Their markups are as high as mall stores…

  11. steve Says:

    an unhappy 4th in LAH:

    27741 ELENA Rd Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
    DOM: 12

    Jun 22, 2009 Listed $1,089,000 (REO
    Jun 03, 2009 Sold $1,337,419 (foreclosure)
    Mar 22, 2007 Sold $1,805,000 (resale)
    Jun 29, 2005 Sold $1,635,000 (resale)

    that’s $468K in down lost by the 2007 buyer and a min of $200K lost by WaMu

  12. steve Says:

    one to watch in PA. despite the market this one will likely double in 10.

    2340 DARTMOUTH St Palo Alto, CA 94306
    Beds: 2
    Baths: 1
    Sq. Ft.: 1,088
    $/Sq. Ft.: $1,190
    Lot Size: 6,250 Sq. Ft.
    DOM:10

    Jun 24, 2009 Listed $1,295,000
    Jun 23, 1999 Sold $575,000

    seems like a clean apple from the photos

  13. steve Says:

    a little icing for your 4th of july cupcakes:

    435 BLAKE St Menlo Park, CA 94025
    Beds: 3
    Baths: 3
    Sq. Ft.: 1,538
    $/Sq. Ft.: $1,167
    Lot Size: 8,250 Sq. Ft.

    Jun 26, 2009 Listed $1,795,000
    Mar 30, 2007 Sold $2,005,000
    Aug 10, 2005 Sold $1,375,000
    Apr 12, 1996 Sold $530,000

    Wow! 2005 buyer was a genius. No loan docs on file, so I don’t think it is a short sale. Not to go all RE on you, but if this moves north of $1.5M I’d view it as a sign of strength.

  14. rick Says:

    Um, yeah our groceries are grown local, even groceries in Washington is probably grown here though, we make up 1/3 of the produce in the US.

  15. no estater Says:

    #11 – steve, Los Altos is just clearing out “dead wood.” Obviously those folks didn’t deserve to live in the RBA.

  16. Axxel Says:

    It’s a little known fact that Washington is a barren wasteland. Incapable of growing local produce of any kind. All food must be transported in from California, which, given the vast distances involved, probably takes weeks, right? I hear the ethylene gas used to warehouse ripen Burbed’s “Red Roma Tomato” is better here too.

    Seriously folks, local food in the Bay Area is quite good, but its not unique.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    The above list is misleading. Many in the Bay Area get free drinks at work. Google employees get free dinner. Some of us also get airline miles and hotel points. For example, I’m prepping for another business trip (to OC). Will definitely check out Irvine. From what I’ve seen, airport is packed. Lots of folks are traveling despite the downturn.

  18. DreamT Says:

    Irvine, do you mean John Wayne/Santa Ana? That airport is never packed, even after labor day. Even San Jose is busier.

  19. Kevin Says:

    “In the rest of the country, it costs 100-150 $/sf to build, but in the RBA somehow wood, drywall and nails cost so much more and can’t be simply transported in.”

    The actual cost of materials isn’t appreciably higher, but the cost of labor is a lot higher, as are permits.

    However, that doesn’t explain appraisals.

    I was recently looking at a house that was listed for $599k. It was a 3 bedroom place, around 1400sq ft, that had been recently remodeled.

    It’s appraised value put the building at $280k and the balance in the land.

    A nearly identical home anywhere else would have seen the building appraised for less than half of that.

    I can totally understand the higher value of land. It makes complete sense — but why do buildings become more valuable just by virtue of where they’re located? Is the plywood of a higher quality? Is the drywall magic?

  20. Axxel Says:

    > Many in the Bay Area get free drinks at work.

    Wow, I’m sure that’s something that only happens in the RBA.

    > Google employees get free dinner.

    Good to know that Google only has offices and cafeterias in the RBA.

    > Some of us also get airline miles and hotel points.

    It’s true, business travel in the US is only done to and from the Bay Area. In fact, credit cards with travel points are uniquely RBA and not generally available to every American with a pulse.

  21. zanon Says:

    RE actually makes a good point. about 6 weeks ago, the airport suddenly went from empty to packed (I go through SFO every week). Not just here either, also on the other side.

  22. Pralay Says:

    Some of us also get airline miles and hotel points.
    —–

    That sounds sooooo on-topic! What do you do with miles and points? Buy grocery? :)

  23. Translating Realtardese to English as She is Spoken [Burbed.com] Says:

    […] Are there any phrasings you’ve noticed particular to Bay Area homes?  The first one in particular we’ve noticed, having moved here from somewhere else.  And almost everywhere else this expression does not mean what they think it means.  The others are just part of the pleasure of living in the RBA, like paying more for the same groceries.  […]


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