Tonight, someone on remembering_retail mentioned the 3/$1 hoagies that were stocked near the front cash registers in the delicatessen at Kmart stores (before the mid '80s reconfigurtation) and it brought back some memories.
The price explains why my dad would buy those hoagies (we called them subs) from Kmart. I was really little when we used to eat them and I never realized they were so cheap. They were truly awful. The only way I would eat them is if Dad bought me popcorn to go along with them. Looking back, Kmart popcorn was pretty tragic too, but it was still better than the subs.
Kmart reconfigured its snack counters during "the orange years" and it seemed like the food quality got a little better. I know the popcorn did. They used to do the bulk bags for $0.99, and if I was good, I got one :-)
Kmart popcorn still paled compared to Hills ("We're a different kind of department store")popcorn though. Hills had some of the best snack counter popcorn there was. It seemed like it was always fresh. Writing this makes me hungry for some again, but that'll never happen.
Roses had decent popcorn too, and the one or two Sears counters that had it were pretty decent as well, though Sears was all about the hot salted nuts and bulk candy.
I've had popcorn at McCrory's, Woolworth and Murphy's too, but I don't remember anything about how it tasted. Must not have been very remarkable.