A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Supermarket seduction

I went into a supermarket to buy a few things. I noticed an offer for soft drinks. "Buy any two for £2". So I chose two different flavours and went to the check-out. Being a bit wary of supermarket tactics, I checked the bill. Wow! the two packs of drinks came to over £3. I queried the check-out assistant. "Oh!" she said, "You picked the wrong ones. It's only the six-packs that are on offer." Then, rather churlishly, she added "Do you want them?" Well, I had momentarily thought I would take them and not bother, but this remark made me change my mind. "No I don't," I said, and then took a junior manager to the offending section where I had made my erroneous choice based on rather sly shelf positioning! I accepted a refund.

My thoughts here are on the seemingly deliberate, but not illegal, attempts to deceive the customers, by all supermarkets, by positioning offers so close to ordinary prices that customers are no better placed than some hapless fly becoming entrapped in a spider's web. On this occasion a few 6-packs were placed next to far more 4-packs. The offer sign was over the two types. The 6-packs sold out, but the sign was allowed to remain. I got caught, and I don't feel I am that stupid, as I read the notice (but not that well!).

How many people get caught in the same way. Buy two for the price of one, etc. (Known as BOGOFs - Buy One Get One Free!). This gimmick is similar to the BOGOF but it is two for £2, meaning there is a till refund. But if you pick the wrong ones, then no till refund. It would be interesting to see the computer records of supermarkets to see how many customers fall foul of the confusing shelf labels!

This link is to Corporate Watch. I don't agree with all the views, but this kind of site grows when supermarkets lose touch with their customers! Much of it, in my opinion, is due to lack of positive training for the staff and constant price juggling to give the customer the feeling of price cutting.



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