Rami Levy has his devoted bargain-hunting followers who would never step foot in another store, period. While I have shopped in Rami Levy, and I know they can have some crazy low prices, I no longer do so. Here are some of the reasons:
1. I am a strong believer in the generic brand. I will discuss my reasons in more detail in another post, but I just don’t like the quality or taste of Rami Levy’s private label.
2. I could easily spend 3-4 times the amount of time shopping at Rami Levy as I do at other stores. My time is precious, and I have no desire to spend it fighting off people who leave their empty wagons at the register to do their shopping. As the saying goes, “time is money.”
3. Rami Levy has been fined many times by the court for their deceptive sales practices (see sample links below). If veteran Israeli shoppers are getting bamboozled, then think of what the new oleh is falling for…
Rami Levy fined 7000 shekels for advertising a lower price on the shelves than what was rung up.
Rami Levy was fined 80,000 shekels for not providing the weights of their products so the consumer can do an effective price comparison.
The Consumer Protection Department Head takes issue with Rami Levy’s advertisment stating they are the cheapest in the country.
Rami Levy was fined 10,000 shekels for not listing product prices.
4. One of the biggest attractions for me at Rami Levy as a frugal shopper was their fresh chicken prices. To come home with a whole chicken for 20 shekels, especially compared to American meat prices, was a steal. Until one day I didn’t cook the chicken the same day I bought it, and it was green the next day. So the next time I was there I looked for the “best before” date on that should be on the chicken. It is a little-known and little-enforced law, but supermarkets are supposed to provide the best before date on the label, or at least have it available for the consumer if requested. I found out that the chicken was expiring the same day I purchased it! After seeing the quantities of chicken that is sold at Rami Levy, I have a difficult time believing that the chicken had been sitting in the store for 5 days (shelf life of chicken is 5 days- slaughter date plus 4 days).
So where did it come from?
My guess is that Rami Levy is buying soon-to-be expired chicken from other stores and reselling it. From a food safety standpoint, that is a nightmare. Transporting soon-to-be-expired chicken will accelerate it’s rate of decomposition because it will not stay under optimal temperature conditions, maybe enough to further shorten it’s shelf life. That is not a product I want to feed my children.
So what is my recommendation?
Yes, go to Rami Levy and get some great bargains. Just check the barcode to make sure you get the right product,the receipt to make sure you paid the right price, and do the math to make sure it is a good deal. Regarding perishables- make sure you know the expiration date of what you are purchasing and make sure it is stored at the proper temperature.