Sunday, 4 December 2011

Supermarket Sweep

Lynda wrote in her blog earlier this week about some of the festive goodies in stores right now, and in particular the shocking rip-offs being peddled on certain items.

It is indeed true - but not a problem that can't be overcome. I think the problem for many shoppers these days is that their is such a multitude of choice, lack of time, and crowded stores, that people don't have the time or inclination to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I have always maintained that it's possible to save £££'s a week on your shop if you're clued up. Now over time the retailers have developed more and more sophisticated ways of parting us from our money. But, I am on to them, all those years of working for Nielsen weren't wasted.

Things are always changing and there are some new things happening I have noticed lately which you might not be aware of.

I'm going to start by talking about offers, and I'm going to focus on Tesco, not because I want to pick on them particularly, but they are the store most readers will be most familiar with, dominating the Bicester retail scene as they do.

I think that most shoppers have become so conditioned to "special offers" they completely dominate the shopping mindset. Now in Tesco - generally we might believe that a yellow sticker means an offer, white sticker is normal price. Not always true as we will see.

At one time, a buy one get one free or a half price offer was generally a good deal, but not these days in all cases. The stores have become very good at artificially inflating prices in order to dupe people into a false offer. I am not going to dwell in this as I've covered it before, but a quick word about wine. Generally of all the wines on sale at a fiver, by far the worst ones are those that are advertised as half price, cut from a tenner. I have found that some of the nicest wines are those that are tucked away on a low or high shelf and have £4.99 as their normal price. Trust me, I'm a drinker.

Same old crappy wines, half price. Here's one I do not recommend

Right a couple of new observations:

Balls. Yes, that's right. Tesco Cheese Balls to be precise. Tesco sell these for 90p a pack. Just a little further along the aisle they also sell Eastmans Cheese Balls for 69p, they look a bit cheaper and nastier than the Tesco ones. In fact, if you pick up the two and examine the back of the package you will discover from reading the various nutrition blurb that it is in fact an identical product. So everytime anyone buys a Tesco pack that's 21p pure profit just because they played on their fear of buying a cheapy brand.

Which would you buy?

There are numerous examples of this around the store. So there's one to think about.

Secondly, I mentioned earlier about us being conditioned to look for the yellow stickers and ignore the white ones. Now for some reason I am struggling to comprehend, there are price cuts being made on some items, to which no attention is drawn to whatsoever. Now I won't dwell on the 16p pens that were £1.35 I can only assume that was a mistake, but there are other examples I could quote. Now this week, on the chilled fruit juice cabinet amid a sea of yellow stickers advertising multibuys on Tropicana and various other brands, Tesco's Finest Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice dropped from £2.40 to £1.50. No yellow sticker, nothing to highlight this at all. This is probably the best quality product they sell and at that price is cheaper per unit than Tropicana, and even other Tesco Own Label. But tucked away up in the corner, with all the yellow stickers on the Tropicana, how many people would have spotted it?

£1.50 - but for how long?

I have noticed other strange cuts on certain lines - for example where you have got 3 flavours of a product that cost say £2.99 and one variant suddenly drops to £1.69 for a couple of weeks for no apparent reason.

I am sure the Orange Juice will go back up in a week or two, but I am mystified, why make such price cuts and not make a song and dance about it? They do about most of their other offers.

One other word of warning - be very careful with multisaves on brands with lots of variants - as sometimes they leave one particular flavour out of the offer for no obvious reason I can think of other than to trick people.

Throughout the year very occasionally you get an amazing offer that looks too good to be true. If it looks that way I advise snapping up the product asap, it's either a promotional loss leader than they are marketing to get people into store so they will quickly run out (e.g. this week's £3.99 Quality Street) or a mistake. Make sure if you are really sure they've made a mistake that you milk it for all it's worth. Buy as much as you can, and if the till doesn't tally with what you think you should be charged, kick up as big a fuss as possible and get yourself down to customer service. And remind them of their policy of refunding double the difference if they've made a mistake you can get some stuff for practically nothing if you do it right. Don't let them make you feel guilty it's their fault!

Every little helps!

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Jason x x


  1. Actually it's celebrations on offer this week at £3-99 a box, but what do I know, I just work there?! Sorry if that makes me stupid, my mistake!!!

  2. On the contrary I was hoping to utilise your presence in order to suggest some promotional offers - sadly most of my contacts at Head Office have now left so I've no influence there any more.

    Next week please could you arrange for half price offers or Buy One Get One Frees on the following items:

    Strongbow 24 Pack
    Melton Mowbray Mini Pork Pies x6
    Eastmans Cheese Balls
    4 Pack Mars Bars
    Terry's Chocolate Orange
    Unsmoked Gammon Joint 1.8kg
    Tesco Finest Sirloin Steak
    Carrs Cheese Melts

    If you can sort all that lot for next week I'll be well chuffed!

    Cheers, J

  3. Hahahaha, you wish!! Terry's chocolate oranges were on buy 2 get 1 free a few weeks ago, but the offer has sadly finished!