I'm kinda wondering the same thing here, Jeekinz!
As for what you guys are talking about concerning big box stores and especially Safeway.. we saw that here as well. I don't think they were trying to be devious, just trying to do what all business do and that is increase profit margins.
I know I wouldn't want to run a business that showed little profit for lots and lots of time invested.
As for whether or not it is a good idea, well that is up to the consumer. If it doesn't work well for them because the consumer rejects it then they will stop, if it does they will continue. The reason so many of these chain stores vary so much from one part of the country to the next is because of this approach. They try something out, and where it succeeds they keep it and where it fails they switch back. Over time and many times doing this the stores loose some of the uniformity and become more unique to the community they are serving. Makes business sense to me, I would want my stores to succeed where ever I put them, so tailoring them to have the most appeal to the community I am going into is smart.
In our case, Safeway bought out Dominick's here. Within six months Safeway products dominated the shelves and it was actually pretty hard to find brand names. Two years later, we can't find a Dominick's anywhere in our area, all four stores are closed. It is a simple matter of the consumer having rejected what they were doing and going elsewhere.
Unfortunately for them, it was a costly mistake as here in Chicago the grocery business is fierce, and often times once you loose your client base you don't recover. Someone else has already stepped in and you just aren't going to get them back.
My personal approach is to shop where I can get the most value for my dollar. That doesn't necessarily mean cheapest, but more like highest quality and best service balanced with value.
I don't need to support only mom and pop stores, nor do I need to support only big box stores. I just want to keep em both in business so they have to keep competing with each other, that is where the consumer benefits the most ;)
I have been in areas where the mom and pops won, and man is it expensive to do business with them there. I have also been in areas where the big boxes won and there is no other competition, and it stinks too.
Competition is the key folks!!
PS mine is Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce... didn't even think about it before now! See, I just knew there was something on topic in here somewhere!!!