Friends donít let friends buy spices at American grocery stores!
I have shopped for years at Oriental, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Arab, African, and Chinese grocery stores and realized that their prices for spices are much lower then American grocery stores.
When I was in Tucson doing a contract for IBM I did a price comparison between the American grocery stores and the Indian and Oriental stores in Tucson on maybe the prices for 10 different spices. Spices at American grocery food chains literally cost 10 times as much as the same spices at the Indian and Oriental grocery stores. Another way of saying that is spices cost 90 percent less at the ethnic stores.
I donít think there is a conspiracy by American grocery stores to rip off people who buy spices. I suspect it is merely based on the laws of supply and demand. Americans eat bland food and only buy small quantities of spices, which means American stores have to charge higher prices to make money off of the slow selling spices.
On the other hand people in the Orient, Middle East and African eat and buy large quantities of spices, which means since the ethnic stores are selling large quantities of spices they can have lower margins and still make money.
Any big city is going to have a bunch of these ethnic stores. I am guessing the Phoenix Metro area has about 30 or more ethnic grocery stores. In Phoenix we have two super sized Oriental Food Stores which are as big as a large size American grocery storey. They are 99 Ranch Market which is a chain that has stores in Arizona, California, Georgia, Nevada, and Washington and Lee Lee Oriental Supermart which is a large super food store in Chandler. I am guessing that the Tucson metro area has maybe 15 ethnic food stores with two larger but not super sized ethnic markets.
I worked a contract at John Deere which is in the Quad Cities on the Iowa and Illinois border. That place had the blandest mildest food I have eaten on the face of the earth but they still had one ethic food store. (Although I did bring in a large supply of chili from Phoenix because they didnít have the hot spicy stuff I am used to)
Last even though all these different cultures eat vastly different foods the spices the sell overlap a lot. You can buy Middle Eastern spices in an Indian or Chinese food store and vise versa.
Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes