They go by many different names: unclaimed freight, freight salvage, dented can, discount salvage, scratch-and-dent, bulk freight, etc. They are sometimes looked down upon as having inferior or damaged goods and out-of-date groceries. But what they hold in store may surprise you.
There are several of these stores in my area (Kansas City). I can think of at least five of them, and I bet there are a couple I don't know about yet. Some of the stores stock primarily grocery items, while others stock everything from clothing, to electronics, to books, to pet supplies. Some are bright, clean and organized much like any other retail store. Others, well...not so much. Some sell at prices that can hardly be called a discount, while others sell for as much as 70% off regular retail prices. And what they'll have on any given day is literally a surprise. In other words, they have what they have when they have it; they may never have it again.
Today I shopped at two of my favorites, looking for grocery bargains and a quality 9x13 cake pan. I didn't find the cake pan, but I did find some grocery items and a few of other things.
A lot of times the grocery selection is limited to what I consider junky foods (Little Debbie cakes, lots of chips and snacks, candy and gum, highly sweetened cereals, etc.), but this time I saw more ingredient foods than usual and quite a few organic items.
Here are my grocery purchases. I bought 2 pounds organic lo mein noodles, 2 pounds bacon, an 8-ounce can of mushrooms, 4 7-ounce cans of diced green chiles, a 12-ounce bottle of safflower oil (for soap making), 2 pounds cornstarch, 1 pound yeast, 1 small can lo-sodium Old Bay seasoning, 2 boxes organic macaroni and white cheddar, 3 dozen taco shells, 6 dozen corn tortillas, 3 boxes of tea bags, 6 pounds Wendy's french fries and 5 pounds Burger King onion rings.
Ok, so those last two are junky, but oh so tasty! All items are well within date, the packaging intact, etc. All for just $28. I have no doubt I would have paid at least $48 for these items in a regular grocery store. That's a savings of at least 40%.
And here are my non-food purchases. A large indoor/outdoor drying rack (I picked this up for my daughter and son-in-law, who weren't able to make it out to get it today themselves), a "laundry lift" hanging laundry rack (for our sun room, whenever it finally gets done), and two bamboo cutting boards. Not pictured is a sleeve of 32 plastic 7-Eleven Big Gulp cups that I am using (and will reuse indefinitely) to protect my garden seedlings from snow and cold. I paid $80 for all of these. When I checked online for these exact items, the prices ranged between $130 and $209. Again, that's a savings of at about 40% off the next best prices I could find.
Freight salvage stores are nothing to be afraid of, and I'll bet there are similar stores somewhere in your area. You should check them out and see what you can find. You might be pleasantly surprised.