Best Times to Shop

You may have hunches based on your own experiences. But we decided to crunch anonymous shopping data from the Coop to offer you some best bets on how to avoid crowds.

Ok, let’s get started:

Our most important (albeit obvious) finding: no matter the day, the least crowded time to shop is during the first two hours after opening, according to anonymous shopping data that we analyzed.

This is especially true on weekends when the Coop opens at 6 a.m., but even during the week, before 10 a.m. is quieter than most other times.

Can’t shop first thing?

In general, try to arrive at the Coop on weekdays at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m., the data indicate. Shopping during the 30-45 minutes after shift changes will generally be a more crowded time in the Coop. Members who have just finished their shifts will be released to do their shopping so there is an immediate bump in the number of shoppers every two and a half hours.

If you have a choice of weekdays….

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the least busy days. Monday and Friday are busier. Weekday mornings are always less crowded, but Friday is generally the worst weekday morning to shop.

Weekends! You may have the time to shop, but you fear the lines. We’re here to help.

Yes, the data confirm that Saturday and Sunday are the most crowded days. So go as early as you can — before 10 a.m. — or slip in for the final hour before closing time. The Coop closes at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Have no choice but to shop on a weekend afternoon? Here’s a tip:

The busiest shopping times for the whole week are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with the absolute peak between 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

But there are mini-spikes on weekends when people get off their shifts and shop for themselves. So go right in the middle of shifts, namely: around noon, 2:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. It may still be packed, but it’s your best option.

What about fruits and vegetables? When are the best days to shop for those? We have answers.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, Tuesday is the winner, according to the Coop’s produce buyers. Many produce deliveries arrive on Monday, so they are available for shoppers on Tuesday.

The rest of the week….

The produce shelves still look pretty good on Wednesday and Thursday. But Monday and Friday are more challenging.

Weekends used to be especially tough, given crowds of shoppers who often stripped the shelves quickly. But the Coop staff has a new initiative to improve the stocks on weekends, and is hopeful that the variety and quantity will become more like weekdays.