Take some time to get to know the people that work in the produce area and meat/seafood counters. When you get to know them, they are willing to cut something special or pull the freshest products that are not out.
For the meat and seafood counter:
If you are looking at the seafood that is set out in the display, ask when it was put out. They have to date everything when it is put in the case. For the freshest seafood, you don’t want it being in the case for more than two days. Items like shrimp will defrost pretty quickly, but if you don’t want to buy 2 pounds of shrimp, the workers can sometimes open a bag of frozen shrimp and give you the quantity you need or want.
For the best meats, you can have steaks cut the way you want them. If you are in the mood for a holiday prime rib roast, you can ask the meat cutters to cut the bones off and tie them back on. You want the bones for the flavor but when you are ready to carve the roast, cut the strings and the bones come right off. Then you have the beautiful roast with no bones to get in the way. But if you are on a budget but still love a good ribeye, ask the meat cutter for a chuck eye steak. The chuck eye is the end of the ribeye that is not big enough to make a ribeye steak. You have all the flavor of rib eye at usually a fraction of the price of it.
For the Produce:
If the produce at your local store doesn’t look very good, check to see if they have something fresher in the back. It never hurts to ask the produce workers what is the freshest or best quality food they have gotten in today. But the best way to get the freshest produce is to go to a farmer’s market or a market that specializes in fresh local produce.