I’ve been trying to do a post on an article I read on Yahoo a few days ago.
I got as far as putting notes into a draft, then we lost the internet and been busy doing other things (like finding alternatives!).
The article was right up my street as it was about Supermarkets and the latest way of conning the consumer.
Except it’s nothing new for me and I’m sure thousands of other frugal shoppers on limited budgets who are not daft and have been keeping an eye on the small print under the flashy price sticker.
I first got into this way of thinking because of toilet rolls.
I did a post on it way back, and basically if you want puppies on a roll, not only does it cost more but you get less sheets per roll, so it’s a double sting.
I carried my train of thought over to kitchen roll, having wondered why my preferred brand for years suddenly didn’t last as long. Not only had they reduced the roll size, but it was now only double strength, not triple as it had been, so I was using more. Simple solution, I changed brands.
I always check my weights too, and what looks like a bargain may not be when you actually read the label.
Take cheese for example.
We used to purchase a 400g lump for £2. This went up to £2.68, so we bought an alternative. Suddenly it was 350g for £2, and sometimes they really got their pricing wrong by special offers actually working out to be more expensive that buying 2 single packs.
Currently we are buying a mature cheddar for £3.99, for which we get 856g.
Daft weight, but it’s tasty stuff and good enough for us.
Baked beans and the like used to come in 420g tins. They are now 410g and some even less than 400g.
We used to get 4 chicken breasts for £4. You are lucky to get three for £6 now.
Most supermarkets have a ‘3 for £10’ range, packs of fresh meat at £4 singly that can be frozen at home. I can’t take advantage of this now as we don’t have a freezer, but I always used to go by the number of meals I could get. Because weights/numbers decreased, we ended up eating less meat as I would still make a tray of minced beef do 4 meals, even though the weight had reduced from 400g to 275g, and for a sweet and sour, I would use just one pork chop, not two as before.
Washing liquid is another con.
We used to purchase a bottle for 28 washes for £2. This went up to £2.98, then suddenly it was ‘rolled back’ to £2, but the new shaped bottle only provided 22 washes. I took full advantage of a pricing error for an 86 wash bottle at £5 when it should have been £8. This particular brand now has a range of various size bottles ranging from £4.50 to £12. We buy something else.
This very week I purchased a 500g tub of Flora light spread on special offer for £1 instead of £1.70 (otherwise I would never have bought it). A 250g tub of the same stuff was priced at £1.15.
And don’t get me started on crisps.
We used to get 12 x 25g bags in a multi pack for 68p. This went up to almost £2. Surprisingly, they didn’t sell.
However, for the named brands, you now only get 5 bags in a multi pack for your money, not the original 6, and they are almost two pounds a pack. One of the discount supermarkets sell a 6 pack of non brand crisps for 89p.
So Mr Marketing Man at Yahoo, your article is not news, or even something new.
It’s old hat.
Supermarkets have been conning us with less weight for more money for years.
They cover it by fancy wrapping, flashy stickers and misleading promotions.
They change recipes using inferior ingredients, and fob it off as ‘New and Improved’.
They reorganise their shelves, putting our usual preferences either out of line of sight, or they are temporarily unavailable for a few weeks so that we have to buy more expensive alternatives (I don’t by the way, we go without), then when they are back in stock, there’s been a price hike.
Perfect example, instant custard (made with hot water, excellent for people like me who can’t make the proper stuff for toffee). It was 6p a packet. Yes, just 6p. It was out of stock for 2 months, and when it was next available, it was 15p a packet. That’s a whopping 150% increase.
OK, we don’t live on custard, but the principle is the same.
Just for your information, the cheapest alternative was 42p a packet, and we didn’t buy that either!
Today’s shoppers have enough problems without having to carry a weight/price comparison chart or calculator.
You have to have your wits about you, be prepared to get on your knees in the aisles if you have to (I’ve done this to reach a particular product that was some 50p an item cheaper than the others in my direct line of vision).
Also remember to take your reading glasses or possibly a magnifying glass. It’s not just the weights that are getting smaller, so is the print on the labels.
It’s very much a case of “buyer beware”! I am constantly amazed at what they get up to ….. and it is apparently (for the most part) quite legal, albeit deceptive. I will not buy any product on principle if I cannot read the fine print; it it comes from China; if I cannot pronounce any ingredient listed. I am suspicious of any product on sale because, while it may well be a legitimate ploy to get me into the store, it may also be a “dumping” of an expiring product. Shopping really is not much fun.
We almost got caught by a ‘bargain’ printer. Turned out it was a discontinued model and spares were like hens teeth (helps that Hubby was in the fixing trade)
I remember starting to see this a few years ago (though I wonder if it was going on before then and I didn’t notice)! So frustrating – but at least if you are paying attention you can see that it is going on.
This has been going on “forever”! I was living in the UK when weights and measures were switched from Imperial to Metric …. and the amount of products whose prices changed disproportionately to the conversion was quite amazing. I guess basic greed is always to going to be around. If you consider that many large corporations hire professional marketing help (psychologists etc), then what chance do us mere mortals have?
So true. Decimalisation in the UK was a con (and now they want to abolish the penny and two penny pieces), and 100g of anything does NOT weigh 4oz as they would try to have us believe!
Here (Canada) they have already withdrawn the 1 cent coin. All our advertised pricing excludes various taxes (so we always pay more at the checkout than the label price), and as a result of no 1 cent coins (smallest coin now 5 cents) , it is up to the purchaser to round up (or down) as dictated by the final cost. One would like to think that there is a 50/50 chance of rounding up or down ….. but history would dictate suspicion towards that logic.
They do the same in NZ. Things here in the UK don’t go up by a penny or tuppence anyway, so it is just another way to make money at someone else’s expense. I would not be surprised if eventually all our coins disappeared, and we only dealt in paper.
Sad but “A penny for your thoughts” and “I need to spend a penny” and “Remember the Penny Farthing?” ………….will baffle most of the population eventually (probably already does!).
Funny, I did a post on that too some time ago!
I’m guessing even the professional help has trouble with this! I think I spend more time on my calculator at the store these days than I do actually shopping.
I go armed with a list and acceptable prices thereon, thus keeping to my budget.
That’s an excellent idea!