I would rate the arrival of to be one of the best things that has happened to Pleasanton. But every time I go there, I am always amazed at how few shoppers there are in the store. Let me try and convince you that Fresh & Easy is one of the best places to buy your food in this area.
The store is located on Santa Rita, in the Rose Pavilion, near . The first thing you notice is that there is plenty of parking near Fresh & Easy, unlike and where parking near the store is always difficult.
If you get Fresh & Easy’s own brand of products they are guaranteed to contain no artificial colors, flavors, trans fat or high-fructose corn syrup. Each time I visit there seem to be more of Fresh & Easy’s own brand of products. Their products are not filled with so many preservatives they have long best before dates. This is real food, not food stuffed with cheap fillers.
I compare the prices of Fresh & Easy food with Safeway. Most of the items I buy are considerably cheaper than similar products sold at Safeway, and that’s without coupons or buying from the reduced section.
The Reduced Section
Because Fresh & Easy products are fresh, they go off. And so we have the reduced section. Daily the products are checked for proximity to the "best before" date and a large amount of food is placed in one of the two reduced sections of the store. One section holds the refrigerated food, bread and produce that have been reduced, and another section contains non-perishables that have been reduced for some reason. Make sure you check both sections while you are shopping.
Foods are reduced in the last hour the store is open, so if you want to get the best choice of reduced food, go the first hour the store is open.
The Size of the Store
I love the size of the store. While you don’t have the choice of 100 different shampoos, you don’t have a whole aisle filled with shampoos either. The variety of choice of products is small, but so is the area of the store. It’s easy to walk round and back track without feeling you’ve done a daily exercise just to get your groceries.
Fresh and Easy has good quality products at cheap prices, then some are reduced, and then they offer coupons. Can the store get any better?
It took me a while to work out how best to use the coupons, so let me share. First you need to get a Friends’ Card. When you use the card you get points, these can be converted to cash off your next purchase. You give Fresh & Easy your email and each week you receive an email of weekly specials along with coupons you can print on your printer. Now this is the best bit, print multiple coupons on your printer at home as you are able to use up to 3 coupons with each purchase.
So, if your coupon says $6 off $30 and you spend $90, you can use 3 coupons and get $18 off your purchase. This gives you 20% off your whole purchase while most stores (even if they give coupons) will limit you to one coupon per purchase.
Coupons also arrive in the mail, and they are different from the coupons you can print online. So if you print $10 off $50 coupons and only spend $45, you are still able to use the $5 off $25 that you received on the Fresh & Easy Flyer.
Most coupons only last a week, so you do have to watch the dates. But when one set of coupons expires another set is in my mailbox or inbox waiting for me to store in my purse.
Do you ever have a cup of small change that you take to a machine in a supermarket only to lose 8-9% of its value as its turned into a credit you can use in the store? If you take your small change to Fresh and Easy you can put it in the self-check machine and not lose any value. You do have to carry it round the store with you and it does take a little while to count, but you do get the full value for your money.
I’ve heard people say they don’t like Fresh & Easy because they don’t like the self check with no option of someone else checking for you. It’s partially because of the self-check that the prices are low, but here are some ways I make the self-check easier to use.
Usually when I go to Fresh & Easy I take a family member with me. Then one of us checks and the other packs the groceries. If I am alone, most of the time there is a Fresh & Easy employee who helps me pack. But also, because of the fresh produce and the fact there is a good reduced section every day, I find myself going 2-3 times a week, so I don’t buy as much and it’s easy to pack.
So, if you’ve never been to Fresh & Easy or you can’t park at Trader Joe’s or you think Safeway prices are high, then try Fresh & Easy and see if you agree with me that it’s one of the best grocery shopping options in Pleasanton.
Tina Razzell has lived in Pleasanton for 15 years and is the author of a number of books including Living Simply - Improve Your Life with Less Clutter