Slate has an interesting article on expiration dates on food. The author contends that the dates are based on the habits of the most careless consumer and actually extend much longer than what is posted on the packaging.
The food we sell at the Coop is very fresh. For example, cereals on the shelves are delivered several times a week and each particular cereal is restocked two to nine times a week. We try very hard to sell our refrigerated products with extended dates. Milk and produce arrive six days a week. Sushi twice a day. We don't have space in our basement to store an entire week's worth of food.
BTW, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are very, very good evenings for shopping. We receive many deliveries early in the week, the shelves are fully stocked, and the store is not nearly as crowded as on the weekends and Monday and Friday evenings.