I apologise that I have not posted in a few days. I away away at a history festival and didn’t have internet access. I thought I would make my ‘comeback’ by highlighting a few supermarket scams…read on and work out for yourself if you have been sucked in.
I have read a number of internet articles on the tricks that supermarkets play to get you to part with your hard earned brass. Some of them are subtle, others are just plain rude! They work, however, meaning that the stranglehold continues! Here is a few of my ‘favourites’:
1. Offers you cannot refuse
Everywhere you go in the supermarket, you are bombarded with a range of special offers. They are usually marked out with jazzy tickets and promises for better value. This is often not the case. When it comes down to it, these are often scams. You will often find that they work out as the same price as, or even more expensive than, buying single items or smaller equivalents. These scams often come in the form of multibuys: 3 for 2s etc. I encourage you all to lift that special offer ticket and do the maths. All British supermarkets are required by law to state a price per unit. Tot up the total in your head before you go and buy 12 jars of pickled cabbage! Think about waste too. Special offers are often found on everyday basics, such as milk, cheese, and fresh meat. These are all perishable. Some people may freeze the surplus, if they have the space, whereas others forget and it ends up in the bin. I have been guilty of this, have you?
2. The Metro/Local stores
Now this is something that is really relevant to my situation. Oxford, despite being a city, does not have any big supermarkets located near the city centre or on direct bus routes. Students often do not have cars and are forced to shop at their Sainsbury’s Local or Tesco Metro/Express. I was stuck in this situation until Steve moved up with the car. Online shopping is not an option for some, as it requires a minimum spend – typically £25, which believe it or not, is sometimes out of a student’s budget. So those living in Oxford city centre are forced to shop in these supermarket ‘convenience’ stores, which offer a smaller selection at a higher price than their superstore equivalent. They are capitalising on a ‘captive market’. Avoid doing a weekly shop there if you can possibly avoid it!
3. Rearranging the shop
This is one of my bug bears and it is something that I have been guilty of myself. When I worked for a national clothing store, we often moved around our department to put the items that didn’t sell closer to the entrance to entice people to buy them. Supermarkets often do this to shift slow selling stock but they also do this to get you lost. Getting lost when trying to find a particular product means that you have to hunt for it, going past different aisles crammed full of special offers and capitalising on our instict to impulse buy. Best way to avoid this – have a shopping list and DO NOT DEVIATE. Alternatively, try local shopping 😉
4. Eye level merchandising
This is a very successful tactic that supermarkets employ. When you next go into the supermarket, say to buy some cola, work out where the most expensive equivalent is situated. I can guarantee you it will be at eye-level. Supermarkets do this because human beings are naturally lazy. We will buy the product that is right in front of our faces, instead of bending down to the bottom shelf to find the cheaper equivalents. Check it out when you are next in the supermarket.
5. Understaffing the checkout
This is probably the most common tactic employed by all supermarkets. How often have you found yourself peed off when stuck in the queue and there are lots of staff wandering around aimlessly, when 10 out of the 15 checkouts are open? This supermarket is not understaffed, they are trying to get you to buy more. You will typically be waiting in an aisle or near products. The more you wait, the more likely you are going to buy the thing you have been staring at for the last ten minutes. These are often special offers. Ask yourself: do I need 10 Glade Air Wick plug ins? Sweets are usually located nearby too. How many times have you spotted a child begging a harassed mum or dad for a packet of sweets that were conveniently located next to the queue? Smart eh?
So that is my top 5. Keep these things in mind when you go to the supermarket and I guarantee you will come out with change!