Admittedly it was at the Guardian but a couple of the comments were quite sane:
As a former manager for Currys PC World, I have to say neither consumers nor Which truly have any idea of the scale of the problem. The sheer volume of fictitious ‘offers’ I used to see was simply outstanding, and the companies that use them have become awfully good at masking them and convincing consumers and regulators alike that as is well so it’s rather unlikely anything will change.
There was more on that but wanted to get to the food shopping.
My local Aldis are awful. The aisles are cramped, the fresh stuff is all pre-packed in plastic multi packs (I really am not going to be able to eat 4 leeks and courgettes before they go mushy, and don’t get me started on the unnecessary packaging), the checkout is always rushed, they have 3 or 4 aisles of odd crap like bicycle pumps and corn plasters stacked in the middle, and I nearly always have been unable to buy what I want, even normal stuff like dried fruit and cheese crackers. Although the stuff I’ve bought is of decent quality, and it is cheaper than Tesco or Sainsbury’s, I can’t say Aldi is any better than where we usually shop – Asda.
I’ve occasionally gone to an Aldi for things in the specials bins in the middle. Picked up some work shoes for next to nothing. However, when approaching the checkout, there are always around twenty five to thirty people queued up.
But that’s not really what I wanted to write on. It’s the dishonesty I’m so down on and it’s not just the supermarkets, it’s the manufacturers, the suppliers. Most disgraceful was Ry-Vita thins – box which should have had 24 or so stacked, like the current Matzos here. There were 11 whole ones and the rest were broken. Second box was no better.
Another thing which annoys me is: the comparison of prices is made more difficult by one item being shown at “£11.50/kg” and then a competing item being shown at “£1.20/100g” They honestly are taking advantage of people’s inability to move a decimal point. Next to each other on the shelf, but people tend to go for the lower £ amount. SO deceitful.
Deceitful’s the word in the case of people who don’t do mental arithmetic each day, which my project does require. This is not just dodgy pricing but actual fraud at times. One of the Guardianisti wrote:
I’m not sure which is worse, the supermarket for trying to pull that stunt, or the consumer for being fvcking stupid.
Now look, chum, when you go along with your list of what to get, you do check a certain amount. You’re not going to spend an hour in there, are you, maybe 20 minutes, tops. Sure you do your maths on similar items but even here they trick you. Biscuits in one aisle are similar to others in another aisle. Yes I know you can walk one aisle but this is on most items.
What they’ve done is call one of them “food of the world” or whatever and though it’s a standard brand, they mark it up hugely. If you spend five minutes – and that is a long time in a supermarket, a real five minutes, doing a thorough check on one product, you see their sneaky little moves. Then what do you do?
Personally, I think one of the biggest gifts for supermarkets was the demise of the price sticker. Items no longer have any fixed price and prices can be manipulated very quickly. Then, there is the added bonus that the customer has no reminder in their cupboard of what they paid for something. Very few people quick till receipts and compare them item by item week on week or store by store.
Well I actually do keep them and check but I’m strange. Would I be right in saying that we’re similar, you and I, in that we’ll gladly pay for quality, even a large amount but we’re damned if we’re going to pay well over the odds for lesser stuff which they’ve defrauded you over.
The Competition and Markets Authority stopped short of a full-blown market investigation but has announced a series of recommendations to bring more clarity to pricing and promotions to the grocery sector.
And who are the clever d***s actually doing all this in the little offices upstairs or at SMHQ?
The one that really p’d me off a few years ago was when the Tesco CEO announced a “new strategy” of cutting prices. Then the next day all the prices were “cut”, complete with promotional banners and signage.
Now, firstly, how did they design, manufacture and install the banners suuposedly within 24 hours of the new policy being announced?
But more importantly, what Tesco actually did was raise the prices off the affected products quite significantly a few months beforehand, and then after the “price cut” was announced dropped them down to slightly above what they were before. This was quite obvious to me as I was unemployed at the time and so watching prices very closely.
Annoyingly the media, including The Guardian, reported the price cut as a major news story (which would be questionable even if the cut was honest) and even more annoyingly took it completely at face value.
The price per 100g is unreliable too. I have previously noticed in Tesco sultanas at 99p/300g (33p/100g) and 800g for £2.99 (37.4p/100g) but the shelf label on the latter stated 30p per 100g.
This could go on forever. Best stop here.