/ Food & Drink, Shopping

What influences you to spend more in the supermarket?

Do you ever find yourself stood in a supermarket, staring at the multitude of offers on display, desperately trying to work out whether any of it is value for money? I know I do…

I’d like to think I’m pretty good at grocery shopping – yep, I’m American ;-). I’m on a budget (saving for a wedding isn’t easy!), so I’m trying to eat out less and prepare my own food more.

It’s important to me to get the most for my money when I go to the supermarket. Unfortunately, sometimes that can be easier said than done. I really can’t tell whether those multi-buys are really worth the money.

Deal, or no deal?

I love a good deal, probably more than the next person, but I hate how hard it can be to tell if the “deal” I’m getting is good at all.

Things like ‘buy one, get one free’ offers when the price for one is £3, and I know that just a few weeks ago I could pick it up for only £1.50.

In April last year, we submitted a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority about supermarkets’ pricing tactics.

The super-complaint called for retailers to stop using pricing tactics that mislead consumers and to make special offers just that, special, instead of sneaky tricks designed to make us think we’re getting a deal.

Research from the Money Advice Service this week says consumers typically spend £1,274 more than they intend to each year. Special offers have the biggest influence on shoppers with 76% of people spending an extra £11.14 in their shop due to these deals, whereas pestering children only influence 26% of shoppers but adds the most amount to the bill (£15.50). Hunger influences 59% and adds £10.87 to the shop, not making a list affects 49% with an extra £13.44, and tiredness impacts 22% of shoppers and costs an extra £13.94.

Pricing tactics

Everyone says you shouldn’t shop when you’re hungry, and I definitely believe it. But that’s sometimes hard to avoid.

I know most of the treats I end up buying aren’t on my mind before I start shopping, but it’s hard to resist when you head to the till and are faced with a huge display of Cadbury’s Giant Creme Eggs. Our investigation in 2014 revealed they were £10 in Tesco and Sainsbury’s in February. It was then on offer at £8 and £6.66 from March onwards in the lead-up to Easter.

This week there were changes starting to come through following our and the CMA’s work for consumers when Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco all announced they’ll be changing their practices, and we hope we’ll start seeing fewer dodgy offers on their shelves.

I shudder to think of how much money I’ve wasted over the years due to tempting offers. Offers that might have been misleading and ended up costing me more.

So how do you deal with these supermarket offers? What are the things that lead you into temptation at the supermarket? Do you find it hard to navigate special offers and figure out what the cheapest product really is?


Not worth the time as you go through a lengthy process of completing surveys & you are asked to pay weekly to be redirected to the voucher. Even if you pay you realise soon its a scam


Wendy says:
22 February 2016

Right now the government are quietly trying to push through a bill (TTIP) that will give powerful corporations the ability to sue the government for loss of profits. The government does not have any money. It is the tax payer, once again, who will be paying greedy corporations, like the large supermarket chains. Unless we (the people) stand up to the government and the corporations, we will have a lot more than supermarket pricing to worry about!

One of the recommendations arising from the Money Advice Service research is not to shop on an empty stomach.

It’s too late.

At the major supermarkets near us we have never seen an empty stomach. They are mostly full to overflowing and the trolleys are bulging as well. I am convinced that the shopping list is only a default menu and that most items are key words to prompt a general survey of the entire category. Nobody just drifts into the biscuits , crisps and fizzy drinks aisles accidentally – you have to physically push your way in and there are usually two or three on-line order fillers on the go in there as well picking stuff that people have deliberately pressed a key to acquire and another key to increase the quantity. The multiplicity of confusing offers is not the reason for over-loading, it’s just a convenient scapegoat. Wouldn’t it be interesting to reintroduce food rationing for a few weeks and see what happens before, during and after?

Seriously, on the day this report was released the newspapers were sure that the government was going to legislate to stop the dodgy pricing practices. It would be good if they did but I don’t think there’s any chance of tough controls. The CMA is not due to report back on the Which? super-complaint until March so it is speculation at present. The Authority might issue some pronouncements, and, as reported above, certain retailers might change their ways, but it is the nature of commerce to attract the customer with appealing offers and a way will always be found. Nevertheless, on this issue all gains are good gains and I look forward to the end of certain malpractices but for so long as I can still do my sums I don’t wish to say goodbye to the BOGOF deal provided it is honest and faithful and true to the end.

I agree with the comment above, apart from the reference to BOGOF: this, and its near-equivalents, are a nightmare, because they’re sales ploys that are almost impossible to resist and epitomise consumerism at its worst. I wonder how much the ‘bloat’ in those supermarket trolleys contributes to the diabolical volumes of waste going into landfill each year?

I pay more attention to unit prices, which makes it easy to compare what is on offer, until a multi-buy offer is involved. These generally show the unit price for the single item but not when bought as a multi-buy. If it is something simple like three for the price of two I have no difficulty in working out the unit price of the offer. I have often quizzed staff in my local Tesco store and raised the issue at the customer service desk. Occasionally they say that they will pass on my concerns to head office but do not offer to take my contact details or give any indication that they will take action.

The special offers that are most confusing where you buy several items and get the cheapest free. I asked a member of staff in the local M&S about how to go about making a meaningful price comparison and was told that the special offer price was shown on the pack – which it certainly was not.

If supermarkets do take action on offer pricing it looks as if they will leave it until the last minute.

If you buy three items, say, and the cheapest is free that seems pretty clear to me. Coffee was on promotion recently – 2 packs of ground at £3.50 and a jar of instant at £4.50. So the total was £8.00 instead of £11.50 – one pack of ground was free. The prices were clearly marked on the shelf and the individual prices were exactly the same as at other times.

That’s a simple example, Malcolm. It gets more complicated when the offer includes items sold at different prices. The assistant in M&S offered to get some one to come to see me and they said that it would be ‘very difficult’ for a customer to work out the unit price of an item when bought as part of a multi-buy offer. It becomes easier if you opt for choosing the most expensive items included in a multi-buy offer but many of us like variety in our diet.

On many occasions, supermarket staff have agreed that pricing is confusing but except where there has been a mistake, no positive action is taken.

These were different prices. and the offer says you get the cheapest free. If the individual prices are unchanged from normal then this is a simple offer to evaluate. M&S routinely have a wide range of offers – 3 for £7. buy one get one half price, for example – and in my experience are good value (no hidden price rises), give a good range of choice and are generally clearly priced. Their staff are available and very helpful if there is any explaining needed. I don’t regularly use any other supermarket so cannot comment on their practices, but in the end if you don’t want it, or don’t need it, then don’t buy it. It’s only cheaper if you use it.

M&S’ worst crime in my view is the dozens of 3 for 2 offers they have. These just encourage waste. Who wants 3 items all at once? especially if they are a perishable item. Not many other supermarkets off 3 for 2. M&S need to do better. Also pet food in M&S is in a can/foil conatainer which is then packed in a stout box. Is that reaslly necessary? I don’t think so.

To my dismay, I am frequently ‘caught out’ in M&S. Too many offers of 3 for £10 or 2 for £5, 2 for £7 and it’s rather confusing as the company place items together which are not related to the offers, but appear to be. Arrive at the pay point to discover that one hasn’t in fact picked up any special deal! Statements such as ‘stickered’ items, for example. Also another gripe of mine, labels on items which in large type proclaim £2. whilst in very small case 99p, therefore if not wearing reading glasses, paying 50% more than one realised (£2.99) The shelf sticker often does not relate to items on the shelf. Waitrose have, in my opinion, the same reputation for this sort of behaviour.

My tale of a visit to M&S is incomplete. After giving me the incorrect information the shop assistant offered to call someone to speak to me. That person immediately told me that it was ‘very difficult’ to compare the price reduction when an item was sold as part of a multi-buy including items at different prices. I agreed and said that I hoped that the recent Which? super-complaint would make life easier for shoppers.

If the mixed multibuy results in a worthwhile saving over buying the items individually, and you want all the items, then surely the deal benefits you. Have I missed the point?

I wonder, do you have a vested interest in a certain view point Malcolm? Perhaps work in the retail sector?

Lynne, no (to both). I use my common sense and, if needed, a little bit of simple arithmetic.
The examples I gave above were recent examples from M&S for products I wanted and that saved me money. Straightforward.

I want clarity in pricing and so do many others. It’s one of the reasons why Which? submitted its super-complaint last year.

This summarises the verdict and essentially addresses “misleading” pricing (presumably pricing intended to deceive).
If I buy, for example, a pack of chicken (normally £4.50), gammon joint (£4) and salmon (£3.50) and they are on offer at 3 for £10, I save £2. I don’t need to know what each one is discounted to, because they all form one purchase. I have saved £2. I have not been misled. It is clear.

Incidentally the Peruvian ground coffee that was free (buy any three coffees and get the cheapest free) is very nice! 🙂

We should concentrate on deceit, not genuine offers that save us money.

It’s not that simple, Malcolm. Prices are often raised by supermarkets a month beforehand to make the special offers look good value for money. For this and other reasons, unit prices were introduced to ensure that shoppers can compare prices with similar items in the store and long-term.

I want to know the unit prices of products shown on the packet when included in multi-buy offers. It means that you cannot have multi-buy items at different prices, eliminating the possibility of deceit.

wavechange, we must not confuse deceit with legitimate offers. The particular examples I quoted were based on regular prices with the offer being clearly beneficial. I do not want that mixed up with offers that are deceitful, whether reducing “increased” prices or smaller products or whatever. There are good deals out there for people to take advantage of, and I want those preserved. “Misleading” is what the CMA primarily dealt with, quite correctly. Separate the good from the bad.

I am not sure how many people will remember the unit price of every item they have bought to check whether the current price is fair. On genuine offers from a reputable retailer – such as my example above – there is no need; it gives a clear benefit. When M&S let me down I will say so, but I am a happy customer for now.

You should have been in teaching Malcolm. Teachers have a reputation for making comments such as ‘we must not…..’ 🙂

Putting up prices and then lowering them again for special offers is a well known underhand trick. From memory, it is covered by the Which? super-complaint. As I have said, I want to know unit prices of all goods, including those on special offer.

It’s never easy is it.

I do think retailers should be able to ‘push’ the sale of slow-moving stock by combining it in an offer with popular goods which might be at different prices. There are ways in which the labelling and product presentation can make this crystal clear to the consumer; they just need to try a lot harder.

Who defines ‘normally’?
Has that price been charged for a week, a month, six months, in some shops, in all shops?
Will that price resume after the offer finishes?
That’s why it’s so hard. You need to buy the same things in the same shop to know if it’s a good offer.

Comparisons would be much better if they used the same units etc across a range of similar products

The smaller supermarket have the price per kilo so much easy to see which pack is the cheaper. But these supermarket tend not to have the wide chose, but what they do stock is very good value for money, More people should shop around

Of course if you only want (and buy) one of something and it’s on special offer, two for one, the shop gets the extra cash from the hike in the unit price to cover the offer! Sometimes there’s just one left on the shelf and it’s on the shopping list. To buy or not to buy, that is the question.

c hewitt says:
19 February 2016

I shop in tesco and when there has been a BOGOF the price has been normal, and if there is only one on the shelf I have a price promice ticket for the next time. and when other offers are on use your common sense the, tickets on the shelf tell you how much per killo sometimes it is cheaper to buy 2 small than 1 big one.

I think you’ll find like fresh veg and fruit the supplier is the one funding your 3 for 2 etc offers………….Often they don’t even get the extra cost of packaging………..BB never looses at least not if they can pass the costs on

To be honest I find this pathetic. The fact that people behave irrationally, cannot do simple maths, eat poorly and fail to plan ahead is not going to be cured by a CMA report on the supermarkets.

There are many TV programmes on poor diet and naughty supermarket practices so there is enough information for those that care. These along with articles from Which? they all suffer from the fact that they are not recallable.

How about Which? provides big stick on posters that list the the big No-No’s when going shopping. And has a link to a single up-dating article on the dirty tricks that supermarkets and manufacturers pull.

This may be more effective to those people who read and care than just moaning at the CMA. Also Which? should introduce Shonky’Awards [as per the Australian Consumer group “Choice”] to make more adverse publicity for those companies that cheat.

Both Tesco and Asda include in-store Wi-Fi so we’re able to scan their products and compare prices while wandering round. We can also work out the cheapest items in multi-buys so we’ve no complaints. It’s often at the checkout where things become odd. M&S, for instance, in their self-serve till area, display calculated prices without discounts until the very last moment. In practice, what this means is if you’ve picked ‘2 for £5’ in the flowers section (as my beloved regularly does) the flowers will be shown at their full, undiscounted price until the pay point. It’s only when you’ve paid it’s obvious that you’ve secured the discount.

The other fascinating strategy is when Tesco offers ‘£12 off £80’. Now that’s a decent saving, but it’s dependent on only spending £80. The more over £80 you spend, the less value the discount has in percentage terms. We have great fun getting as close to the target as we can, and we use a fairly simple technique.

Everything is priced up or down to the nearest pound, depending on whether it’s over the 50p mark. So ‘£1.49’ is counted as £1, while ‘£1.51’ is counted as £2. Surprisingly, it works extremely well.

Yes Ian,,,,,,,,,,your nearest pound theory is good…………….I use it also and i also count my online fleabay etc purchases similarly with pretty good results

I wanted to spend the absolute minimum on food shopping and reduced my bill from £4k PA to £2.5k PA
That’s a free holiday or half a dozen weekends via travezoo
Forward buy and store when your favourites are on offer and are not date sensitive
Sign up to Lidl & Aldi newsletters to see offers weekly ie super6, meat, fish offers etc
Sign up for price alerts on mysupermarket for your favourite products
Plan your menus for the week around these offers. I trade down on some ingredients but still eat well steak/fish etc
Make a list and stick to it!!!!
Shop at Aldi/Lidl then discount chains like home bargains/B&M stores then finish off at your supermarket
Spend a little time each week ie 1 hour to get it right but still worth the £1500 savings over the course of a year. How long would it take you to earn this saving in wages?

Worth it

So there you are. Kevin proves that if you are prepared to think about purchasing food and plan ahead you can save money. I have been known to plan ahead to the extent of 36 jars of coffee and 112 rolls of toilet paper when a supermarket has had a stocking problem and is selling them at sacrificial prices.

I have also bought the commercial sizes of Fairy Liquid, boxes of toothbrushes, boxes of toothpaste, and of washing and dishwashing powder. All delivered to the door.

Is there a limit to spoonfeeding those who do not care? Or is spontaneity is their thing and they are never going to spend any time planning expenditure.

Try telling that to my wife…………..She’d walk the legs off of you up and down every isle in search of a bargain that she probably doesnt need……….I have to sit down so I avoid shopping with her now………..
I go in with a list of what I need and come out with that………..Yes to a degree Kevin is right but I cannot be doing with such bargain hunting……………..but I do see the price per kg,grm,litre etc and I do pay attention to them……………………..My eldest has a degree in dietetics and she would say that the main thing one is paying for in branded goods is consistency and we like consistency apparently

george says:
20 February 2016

no the main thing you pay for on branded goods is advertising and the cost to the supermarket to have them on middle shelf and more expensive packaging. I buy unbranded good they taste same in week after week .look at bottom and top shelves to get a better deal.

I like the coffee-to-loo-rolls ratio, Diesel – well planned. I am easily tempted by offers and discounts on provisions. However, it does require both storage capacity and having the readies to do bulk shopping and there is a risk of forgetting how much you have in stock already. We have a tendency to use household products more extravagantly when there is plenty in stock and more economically when the visible amount available is less – the last quarter of the toothpaste tube lasts as long as the first three quarters [only a pea-sized amount is necessary for effective cleaning but it’s easy to stripe an inch onto the brush when there’s a full tube in the hand].

I don’t know about toothpaste tubes but the pump dispensers tend to dry up if kept in stock for too long.

I found we were acci-dentally overstocked with travel size toothpaste tubes so we started using them every day. Unfortunately many had solidified. Since on a unit price basis they are the most expensive toothpaste you can get that was bad economics.

I reckon that making a 100%+ cost saving on the toilet rolls over two years is a good rate of return … and also has some anxiety benefits also.!

However both the toothbrushes and the toothpaste are also in good shape and though cost wise I suspect I could hunt around for cheaper they are good brands and it saves time overall and probably some money.

The only sour note has been the 7kgd[?] dishwasher powder as I think it must have settled out in transit and now I am down to the dregs it is not performimg well. I intersperse Aldi tablets with the remaining powder and that works fine.

I read in the paper of people who trawl round supermarket car parks looking for discarded till receipts so they can claim price match refunds! Apparently one “wombler” spent 7 hours in a car park waiting for receipts and can make up to £200 a month. I think I can spend my time more usefully, on a minimum wage job perhaps, and then choose where I shop. Others spend hours looking for vouchers in mags to do their shop. I wonder what their shopping trolleys look like?

Carol D says:
19 February 2016

Perhaps this person was retired. People looking for coupons may only choose the ones that offer discounts on what they already buy. What is wrong with that? being frugal isn’t compulsory, but for many people it is necessary.

Carol D, there is “nothing wrong with that” if that is what you choose to do. Basing my purchasing on available coupons would not be a way I would shop. I am all for frugality.

What encourages me to spend more is vouchers worth £x if you spend more than £y.

Having a trolley with a dodgy wheel makes me spend less. Tesco must have realised this because it is years since I have had a trolley that has a mind of its own.

I disagree with this entire campaign. Supermarkets have to make a profit, or they’d go out of business. If ‘Special Offers’ , BOGOFs and similar bring them in more profit, from shoppers who can’t be bothered to do the maths, good for them.

I ALWAYS do the maths, and work out when a Special Offer is – or is not -worthwhile.

Granville Jenkins says:
19 February 2016

It’s NOT all about you though is it – there are people in society who may not be as educated as you, or they may be “vulnerable”
The Supermarkets have a moral obligation to be open, honest and transparent. The high st had been all but killed off because of their manipulating greedy tactics.

Julie says:
19 February 2016

Living up to your name i see

patrick says:
19 February 2016

Nice you have the time to waste perusing every single price and offer. Looks like you don’t trust the supermarkets not to cheat and fudge, bully for you however smugness does not address the underlying dishonesty rampant in supermarket pricing, and it does not just revolve around special offers. Compare the way they offer different weight, content, combinations to make it too time consuming for most people to deal with. Making a profit is understood and appreciated, however blatant manipulation of the populace is far from acceptable.

David says:
19 February 2016

It’s supermarkets that have screwed the public for years responsible for the closing down of corner shops and businesses and then upping the prices until the day of realisation when the likes of aldi,lidl and the pound shops came along did to them what they did to others and are now struggling to make the same profits. What goes around comes around i have no sympathy

And the corner shops were paragons of virtue, were they?

Prof Leslie Retford Bsc Computer Science and Mathematics says:
19 February 2016

Re: Spanner48, Never heard so much garbage, there is a vast difference between a running profit and a greedy profit and as a foot note not many people have a degree in maths nor the time to work out what was last weeks prices for specific items, could you tell me the price of Flora Butter for example on the 02 Feb 2016, I doubt it.

eric searcy says:
19 February 2016

The major supermarkets are reaping what they have sown.Since the advent of Aldi and Lidl and austerity we have exposed by just how much they have been ripping us off.If you dont believe me just check todays prices against those prior to austerity.
Whilst i agree they need to make profit they have always worked on the ethos that the most important people to them is the shareholder.They are now beginning to realise that the most important people are the customers.Without them there is no profit no shareholders and ultimately no business. This rotten Government needs to learn this too.They know the price of everything and the value of nothing,particularly people.
I do not use the the supermarket as a method of honing my mathematical skills but to shop as easily and cheaply as possible without them trying to con me.

Absolutely nothing! After years of coming home with “bargains” that I didn’t use or weren’t bargains in the long run, I now make a list and stick to it. I have more money in my purse at the end of the week and shopping is faster.

I think it will take a long time for the message to get across to some supermarkets. I was pleased to see on TV that ASDA are now selling wonkey vegetable boxes although I don’t know who much they charge.
Fortunately by the subject being highlighted by many sources of social media and TV the public are becoming increasingly more aware of sharp supermarket practises. Of course it does not mean that they will all stop immediately but maintaining the pressure is to everyones advantage.

usually about £3.50 Jeremy with the contents being worth about £2 more. But not all branches do them and none of the branches do them for delivery orders yet, so I can’t get them as I use delivery due to disability. Shame!

I feel that supermarkets are treating us like idiots.

Nothing influences me any more when it comes to the supermarkets. I only buy what is on my shopping list. All this buy one get one free does not interest me. There is nothing free when it comes to the supermarkets and you bet your bottom dollar someone else is paying for it and it’s not the supermarkets.

Hi everyone, some of you might have just arrived on this conversation from our supporter email about dodgy supermarket offers.

If so, thanks very much for voting in our poll and telling us what you think about what the supermarkets are doing to eliminate misleading pricing.

Now we’d love to hear your views, so please do tell us what you think about dodgy supermarket offers and join our community, full of thousands of Which? campaign supporters like you!

The Supermarkets are just like the present government. It is all smoke and mirrors, they know that they are not honest with their customers, but not all of us are fooled by them. Beware !!!.

Yes, that’s the problem. Too many simple and gullible people. I never believed Tony Blair but most people did. Why? Because Saddah fired his only ballist missile at Israel. If he had more, he would have used them.
Back to subject. I don’t want to use a reward card because rewards are for dogs and little children. Are mothers and other people who go shopping expecting to get a pat on the head for shopping at this shop? I’d say in many cases it’s because that supermarket is the closest and they’d rather buy cheaper food that get the most rediculous rewards that cover every conceivable money wasting deal that the overpaid morons who work in the supermarkets can think of.

sam carson says:
19 February 2016

Perhaps check your spelling prior to calling others morons.
If you do use a supermarket regularly for whatever reason and they have a reward card then whether or not you agree with them only a moron would not use them.

Though I agree in principal with what you say…I don’t use reward cards because I believe in shopping around for the cheapest and then telling them that I’m not interested in ‘rewards’, but I’m not a moron. A moron is someone who follows blindly…Think on!

If you shop at that Supermarket anyway it makes sense to use the reward coupons. Insulting people that use them is not helpful to the cause.

Don’t be a pompous ass – it was obviously a typo. We all make mistakes.

Linda says:
19 February 2016

I work in a supermarket and I am not a moron. Should I “assume” you mean the faceless people at head office ? Who’s wish in life is to make us at the sharp end’s life a complete and utter misery? I could not agree with you more ! why not just bring prices down. That is what we all want, instead of having to fart around with cards and vouchers a COMPLETE and utter waste of time and money. I also feel it invades my life ……..they know where you live how much of your income you spend on food what you eat have access to all manner of information which I would rather keep to myself.
While we are at it, we must give some thought that big business control the government, don’t think for one minute your vote counts because it does not.

Linda I entirely agree with you but most folk do not think.

Linda I entirely agree with you but most folk do not think.

Yes,I so agree, Linda. The whole “loyalty card” idea is quite ludicrous as we have one for just about every supermarket and just use one occasionally. We prefer to go to Lidl’s who don’t have this nonsense.

I do use reward/points cards but I only buy what I need. if extra points are offered if I shop in a particular period then I do. I write a shopping list and only respond to offers 3for2 etc if they are what I would normally be buying in the near future and will store well. I feel it is a game of ‘cat & mouse’ with the supermarkets!

Agree with you completely. I write a shopping list too, normally sticking to it and just buying what I need, apart from the 3 for 2 offers I know I’ll use. Though, they too can even be kid ons, as they might put the price up for that item. So they’re definitely playing cat and mouse, to catch customers. So I prefer the simple Lidl.

mrsdredman says:
23 February 2016

I’ve got a nectar card also with British Gas, and actually its rather nice to get £2 or £3 off when i go shopping. For some mothers such a sum may make a difference

m mclaugh says:
19 February 2016

They pretend to care with all their advertising but treat us like fools.

Philip says:
19 February 2016

You talk rubbish i find them very fair they are always giving us food at buy one get one half price and keeping a lot of items marked down in price i love my M & S.

Phil Bennett says:
19 February 2016

There is no such thing as a ‘free’ lunch Mr Troll

Peter Austin says:
20 February 2016

M&S is food is always twice the price of other supermarkets, so when they reduce the price you’re only paying what it would cost elsewhere. My sister shops at one of the Company Shop places where supermarkets sell off produce that is near the sell/use by date, she can do a weeks shop at a fraction of the price she would normally pay and a great deal of it is usually from M&S, this just confirms that they are so overpriced to begin with. I totally agree with Linda that coupons and loyalty cards are a waste of time and a con, making you think you are getting something for nothing whilst filling that supermarkets coffers. If supermarkets want loyalty they should simply keep their prices low.

Shelf edge pricing at all the major supermarkets needs to be more accurate. A product on offer at the shelf, often gets charged at full price at the checkout. It is then necessary to go to customer services & seek a refund, which is time wasted for shopper & staff alike. GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME.

John W says:
20 February 2016

I totally agree our local Asda is particularly bad

Yes, I agree with John’s comments. I am currently unemployed so I am watching prices.

Both Supermarkets AND the Government , should come under Trading Standards.
They both produce frequent episodes of : ” Would I lie to you “

Not a lot, as a senior citizen why do I have to buy two of something to get a rrassonable price?

As a pensioner myself, I particularly look for 2 for 1 deals – have a lot of them in my freezer! I think half the trouble is that some/many people don’t look at what they are buying – on the shelf label it tells you the price per item or per 100g ( well it does in Tesco) so it makes the decision easy. But you do need to look – some time go I saw a double pack of McVities biscuits at a ‘special’ price of £2.65 but next to them single packs were £1 each – it was vey easy for me to spot the best deal!

Yes you need your wits about you Mailyn! Only get 241 or 342 if the items are non-perishable or freezeable as you say.

I agree that does happen. We pensioners may have a little more time to check the labelling, weight and prices. Busy Mums do not.

mary butt says:
19 February 2016

The thing that makes me angry is (particularly in Sainsburys). A few weeks ago I saw Omega 3 capsules on offer ” buy 2 get 1 free. I decide that although expensive I would buy them. However, the ones I bought were altogether ( same product) but they were barely half inch taller and NOT ON OFFER. Did not realise this till I got home and checked my receipt. Cost me a lot. I had this happen to me once before with the same ploy?. Won’t get fooled again.

Mary. I have a similar gripe that Sainsbury’s do. where they have an offer, like a meal deal for example and they use an orange label. Next to them there are other products which also have the same colour labelling that are not included in the the deal. I have seen similar tactics used by Tesco and Co-op

Christine says:
20 February 2016

I totally agree, products on offer should be clearly stated and not along side of products with the same colour labels, that are not included in the offer, which is very misleading… as intended. Most shoppers have little time to browse during their working day, regular lower prices and would be a fairer deal and save valuable time.

I quite agree with you Derek’


donna anderson says:
19 February 2016

i dont have a problem with bogof offers or multibuys they are useful to our household and help us budget- what i dont like about supermarkets is the price hikes that take place within a few days – ie you go in monday and its 38p you go back wed and its 79!

Don’t you think that they are still obviously making a profit with so called multi buys and it is customers buying single items who are being ripped off big time.I think most customers realise this and lidl and Aldi know they do and don’t use this losers tactics
Heil Lidl

They ARE like our present government. they say we have the choice when they control the who;e supply chain and then blame US the customers saying that’s how we want it. Meanwhile reaping vast profits. It’s just the old joke ‘You don’t see a poor bookie’

Paul D says:
19 February 2016

Nothing much has changed since I worked in my holidays in supermarkets nearly 50 years ago: 1)Prices were dropped each week on ‘specials’ but increased at the same time on other ‘staples’ that most people would buy (I used to change the prices!), so the overall cost of a shopping expedition remained teh same to the consumer unless they only purchased special offers from different stores. 2) Always a very limited stock of reduced price goods so that there would be an excellent chance of hunters for at least half of the potential bargains being greeted by empty shelves. 3) BOGOFs applying to perishable goods that would tempt a shopper to purchase but result in unused goods being thrown out in a few days time. I just want good quality products that are constantly available at consistently low prices; as I suspect do most other people and that is why the German discounters are doing so well.

stop treating your customers as stupid idiots, some of us have more sense than than your execs.

I mostly shop at Sainsbury here in the UK and I find that whilst larger packs of a given item aren’t always the cheapest to buy, their policy of giving all products a “price per kilo”, or “price each item” on the barker cards on the shelf perfectly understandable.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m a fan of Sainsbury, particularly since Justin King left, but the price is there to see.
I could criticise them for a lot of other issues…I used to work for them and I know a lot of what’s going on, but the barker cards are there for anyone to read.

Frank says:
19 February 2016

Salmon £ 5 Kg at Christmas then weekly £14. £18. £10 etc all showing a saving . Also half price offers where previous price existed for 1WEEK. These examples from Morrisons.

Genie says:
19 February 2016

There are no genuine offers as supermarkets up the prices of other products , i know i used to work in one of the biggest!

Patricia Perry says:
19 February 2016

Missing prices or misplaced pricing – higher mathematics involved – just how much is a loo roll?

Further on food buying:
Salt and Sugar in everything. If not actual sugar then an artificial sweetener or something else as vile.
Hidden Preservatives etc.
“Discreet” labeling so a magnifying glass and possibly a torch are necessary along with the new bag.

The new bags:
Cannot be reused conveniently for my garbage. I keep collapsable boxes in my car but if I’ve not intended to shop and am caught short without bag I resent having to buy a useless piece of plastic.

Masses of unused “disabled” spaces when blue badges are hens teeth and a temporarily disabled has to beg permission to park closer. They usually say yes and find it weird being asked.

And on the subject of disability:
Placing stock on shelves too high for a shortie or too low for a no-bend-body and no staff to help….

David Wilson says:
20 February 2016

I agree about the shelf heights. I can’t reach anything on the top shelves of our recently refurbished Waitrose.

valerius says:
19 February 2016

Prices are often shown as “bargains” when you buy two for ? price, and you either quickly calculate and later find that you did not get much of a bargain- if any at all- and you would need to take a calculator with you to find the proper figures !!

I shop at Aldi and at Sainsbury only for things I can’t get at Aldi. I am amazed at how we have all been so ripped off by Sainsbury Tesco and Asda and I am very pleased that there is now real competition since the opening of Aldi and Lidl shops. (As a side tried Aldi’s baked beans and they are definitely as good as Heinz but cost only 27p as opposed to 69p . Will save me about £80 per year!) Aldi is much more honest with its prices. I still see confusing pricing at Sainsbury ie some priced each and others by weight. I therefore examine very carefully any claims they make about savings and if in doubt I won’t buy it. Feel quite resentful towards those supermarkets ie Sainsbury, Tesco and Asda

I agree, I save easily £40 a week at Aldi and Lidl w
Never Sainsburys or co op, most people I know only buy heavily reduced stuff as in pence at co op as it is ridiculously expensive.

the Co-op is one of the shops with less additives salt sugar in products, so yes the cost is higher.

The words 10% free etc should be baned as nothing is ‘free’ as any good busines person know someone has to pay for everything including the till slip and is us the consumer!

Offers are often out of date and the till has a different price. Other offers dont show if you have a scanner and you dont know if you will get the reduced price at the end of your shopping. It all ought to be transparent and not guess work!!!

It’s not just dodgy pricing. They ‘re arrange the aisles so that you can’t stick to your normal routine shop and just buy your shopping list. They do this to put new products where the usual items were to tempt you to buy extra. They also tempt the children with sweets at the check out as well as putting them on low shelves so the kids can pick them up themselves and give parents a problem saying no to them.

janice christianson says:
19 February 2016

I only ever shop at the Co-op or at local shops, so have no idea about big dodgy supermarkets. If people want to be fooled by consumerism/big business, that is their loss. Shop locally, shop wisely, shop well. And dont be fooled by capitalist “principles” – like “give us all your money, leave good sense at our door.”

Yes. I wish I could afford to shop at Co-op.

I have seen in Tesco and in Asda mis-pricing in that the price per weight did NOT correspond to price of the article itself, that is the price per weight was a miscalculation.

You have to keep a sharp eye out for every change. So many are not what they seem. Any goods with “Special Price” on is worth a second look to see if it is actually dearer than the previous quoted price. This is frequently done on tea where there are a number of different prices due to the great variation in size of contents.

Diane waterman says:
19 February 2016

Supermarkets have been ripping us off for years, offers are very misleading, we need clearer pricing,

Everybody knows there’s something ridiculous about two items for one reduced price or “Buy one get one free!” If they make these concessions then the item is overpriced in the first place.

In fact I try to shop in local shops rather than supermarkets as I think they are worth supporting and provide some competition to supermarkets as they are far too powerful.

angie says:
19 February 2016

Pricing goods per kilo and then by pack (with no weight) makes it impossible to compare like for like, the majority of supermarkets do this. Giving us reward vouchers instead of crediting them to loyalty cards is another nonsense practice, they know most of us are likely to misplace them.

Deirdre Morley says:
20 February 2016

I think it amounts to fraud … and supermarkets aren’t alone in pricing con tricks. W H Smith is also guilty. Take a look at their ‘offers’ on printer inks.

Sainsbury only said that they will stop the 2 for the price of one offer because it promotes impulsive buying of things people do not need. The actual point in question remains the pricing of the pro ducts and not their promotion tactics. I will say that is for another day. If the price is right then the promotion can be right. I will ask that they get the price right first. As for Tesco, I really wonder what they mean by transparency. Are they saying that they will show the customer the production cost and their differential mark-up? For me that is what I understand by transparency. I guess that will be asking for too much. Isn’t it?

The practice of inflating the price of certain products, which then appear as “REDUCED” as great offers!!! In our local Tesco you can almost guarantee that if something has shot up in price, it will on special offer a week or ten days later.

I wait patiently for my wifes coffee. to be £3 a pack. then over the weeks it goes up to £4 £5 or nearly £6 so dont buy when they are overpriced

I object to ‘bulk’purchases that aren’t cheaper than ‘cheaper’ individual ones. We don’t always have the time to do our ‘sums’ when we shop. I don’t like similar items which are sold displayed in numbers, weights and anything else they can think of so that you cannot work out which is cheaper, and I don’t like big displays that draw you in only to find the usual stock in its usual place costing less.

Too many supermarkets have different prices between the shelf and the till. Their cashier staff are expected to work at speed which makes it almost impossible for the customer to keep track on the prices being charged.

Cyril Adams says:
20 February 2016

The supermarkets are not like the present government,they are like all governments

I recently priced Malteesers at Tesco’s and the co-op. There were 3 alternative packs at the co-p and 4 at Tescos. Some were priced at 87p per 100grams and others at 1.27 per 100 grams

Instead of buy one get one free, why not buy one and get it half price, in fact put that half price the ticket on the product. This has the effect of bogof but you then have to buy two instead of one at half price. So one is what you buy because you only want to buy one and the second isn’t put in the food recycle (or worse).

Alan Huxtable says:
20 February 2016

Typical example today. Heinz baked beans, small tins 60p each, if you buy 4 large tins they work out at 50p per tin. Cheaper to buy large tins and throw half away.

Too many morons. I don’t think Tony Blair and the rights and wrongs of the Gulf war is particularly helpful in the context of supermarket pricing. Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe someone would like to introduce Margaret Thatcher and the Falkland/Malvinas/Belgrano.

Yes. as I suspected. No help at all. Politics has very little to do with supermarket pricing so leave it out please and make sensible points.

My local Sainsbury’s has offered price reductions based on an original and much higher price than the already officially reduced price that the meat was sold at that day ( e.g. said to have been £10 per kilo with a reduced price of £5 per kilo but it was already being sold at £6 per kilo as a normal ‘lower price’). It makes the bargain look much better than it actually is. When this was pointed out, they laughed.

It’s not confusion it’s quite simply dishonest and duplicity

Alan Drew says:
22 February 2016

Supermarkets could have standard amounts e.g 250grams or 500g and not keep changing e.g 2oog or 454g

Hi Patrick,
What we need to remember is the suppliers to supermarkets are usually the ones who absorb the special offer prices; not the supermarkets themselves who would have us believe they are kind and thinking only of us and our finances. I am very worried about the future of the U.K. Dairy industry for instance, which is really suffering at the hands of the supermarkets who just tell them to keep their prices down.

at the moment more british farmers are going out of business or bankrupt, because of the lowly prices for milk or the waste of vegetables. thrown away because they are not the correct shape size or weight. the farmers are paying for those low prices. I would gladly pay a little extra IF it was being payed to farmers.

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John Adamson says:
22 February 2016

Unfair pricing tactics for single people and elderly which encourage waist. Pricing that encourages sugar or alcohol purchases simply unacceptable

buying items suitable for my Diabetic wife, are way to pricey, considering there is supposed to be less sugar and salt in them.. there is way to much salt and sugar in everyday products,

Melonie pentecost says:
23 February 2016

Holland & Barrett are doing a “special offer” buy one get the second one half price but they have almost doubled the price of the items to start with . I used to buy cristalised ginger for around £5.99 now it costs £10.99 with the 2nd bag half price . I did not want 2 bags so I did not buy any. They must think all shoppers are thick!

Crystallised ginger is considerably cheaper in supermarkets. Health food shops sell all sorts of things that you don’t need if you eat a reasonable diet.

They make a big thing about a few pence off, then add it on other items, thinking we wont notice. We have got to be alert to these cheats. L Heseltine

Supermarkets will label products in price per 100gm or a similar product in price per unit so comparing prices can be extremely difficult. Like for like products should be labelled in the same way to allow the customer to make an informed choice.

They also like to mark similar products as “per 100gm” or “per kilo” making it more difficult for those with poor mental arithmetic (or poor metric knowledge) to make comparisons.

I totally agree with you I have no idea on how to work out these metric prices

I’ve also noticed that they sometimes price the more expensive brands per 10gm (as opposed to 100gm), so if you just look at the “price” you can be misled into buying the dearer one.

Janet says:
19 February 2016

I couldn’t agree more

Joan Kingston-Lynch says:
19 February 2016

Went into Tesco yesterday, display just inside store small Easter eggs Buy 2 get one free £3.00. These same eggs in other supermarkets are only 75p each

They’re now doing Buy 2 get 2 Free on Mars Easter Eggs (£1.50 each) – which means they’re really 75p each – usual con!