/ Shopping

Are ‘get two free’ offers too good to be true?

Supermarket shelves in Tesco

You’ve heard of buy-one-get-one-free (bogof) offers in supermarkets. But have you laid your eyes on any buy-one-get-TWO-free deals? These have rocketed over the past year, but are they any good and will they last?

Supermarket special offers have been around for donkey’s years, but daft misprints on deals, such as one pack of Wine Gums for 63p or two for £2, get our goat.

However, when we are lucky enough to come across legitimate offers, they can be difficult to pass up.

At least, that’s what the supermarkets hope. And they’re trying even harder with the arrival of buy-one-get-two-free (bogtf) offers – there’s been a fourfold increase in these ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals over the past year.

Supermarkets fight for our cash

As reported in our previous Conversation, many of us aren’t taken in by special offers, so supermarkets are making an extra effort to get our cash and increase their sales volume.

Morrisons is waving the flag for bogtf’s, with 85% of the deals being in its stores. Tesco is also following the trend, adding 35 to its shelves, according to BrandView.

I’ve seen bogtf’s myself and I must admit to being taken in. During my Halloween party shopping, Tesco offered Pringles with the multibuy offer, letting me stock up on my nibbles at just two quid for three packs. Bargain. The deal was so good that its label even featured a limitation of ’18 packets per customer’. I wasn’t quite that greedy.

Can bogtf offers actually last?

A promotions expert told The Grocer that supermarkets were using bogtf’s simply to hit sales targets and push themselves into positive growth, even if the deals ultimately resulted in a loss. One supermarket insider even warned that the heavy losses that come with many of these deals are completely unsustainable.

But what about us? Firstly these deals are only any good if there’s enough stock to support them. And like many of the offers you’ve told us about, they’re worthless if the individual item price has been artificially inflated for the offer period.

In our rubbish special offers Conversation, commenter Rina mentioned such an occurrence:

‘An offer in Tesco’s for Hoegaarden beer – four small bottles costing £5.09, buy two packs for £8 […] Today the offer is gone and guess what, a single four-bottle pack costs £4 – not a special offer. Seems a bit of price inflation going on to persuade people to buy more than they want in the belief they’re saving money.’

So are you happy to see bogtf deals on supermarket shelves, or do you think they’re just more of the same and should bog-off?

Sophie Gilbert says:
9 November 2010

I always ask myself the question, “was I going to buy 2 of these items anyway”. If the answer is yes, I do the maths and I go for the special offer if it’s worth it. If not, the supermarket bogs off.

pickle says:
9 November 2010

Living alone, I don’t buy 2 or 3 items for one – to do so would mean I have to store them and anyway they would go off if perishable – what a waste!

BOGOFs are also used by supermarkets to make, subsequently, ‘50% off’ claims when in reality the ‘price per item’ hasn’t altered. For example, iIf an item starts off as ‘£4 – BUY ONE GET ONE FREE’, the item’s price is £4 but the deal is worth £2 per item. At a later date, within the legal requirements, the store can make claims of ‘50% off’ by charging £2 for individual items (no BOGOF). The deal is worth the same (£2 per item) but now the store can claim that they have reduced the price and all of this is completely legal as the original price was £4. It also means that the item’s true price probably is £2.

Ref.Supermarket Bogof;s Iv:e noticed in asda a few times that double size packs were dearer than the same quantity in two small packs. One has to check prices often; including Bogof:s

Never seen “get two free” offers – but will always buy BOGOFs if I usually buy that article anyway. The same with Buy one get one half price.

But I always check the “sums” before parting with money – as I’ve sometimes found the article is cheaper by buying a single article.

One trick to watch out for is when a larger size of a product is relatively more expensive than the smaller size. I’ve been told this is due to comparative shopping where supermarket A says that a particular product is cheaper than at supermarket B. It’s always worth checking the unit pricing when deciding which size to choose.

Supermarket pricing & offers seems as complex as mobile phone packages, when pricing gets that complex we know it can only be to confuse the consumer in order to winkle even more money out of us.

More than 50 years ago I went to a cash & carry, I noticed that 2 small sacks of rice cost less together than 1 large sack weighing the same as the 2 small ones.
I stood by and watched customer after customer pick up the large sack, believing that the larger the size the cheaper [pound for pound], they didn’t check the price, those that did shrugged and still picked up the larger sacks [maybe they believed the pricing on the small sacks where wrong, as it went against their conditioning, buy big, buy cheap].

I was somewhat puzzled by this and [being young & naive] went to the owner and asked him why, he took me to one side and said. “listen, they are not customers they are idiots, do you think I am here for them, I am here for me, and if the fools want to give me money for nothing then I am taking it”. “See” he said, “the prices are right in front of them but there are none as blind as those who will not see”.

I learnt a valuable lesson that day, shops are not there for my benefit, they are there for the owners!
So I do not expect favours whilst shopping, I expect to be cajoled into paying the highest possible price for the least possible amount of goods, it is my intention to pay the least amount for the greatest quantity.

“So I do not expect favours whilst shopping, I expect to be cajoled into paying the highest possible price for the least possible amount of goods, it is my intention to pay the least amount for the greatest quantity.”

Yep, and that’s the free market! Adam Smith in action. Aren’t the immutable laws of Economics wonderful? 🙂

If it is a ‘meal deal/lunch deal’ at a shop, where you get a sandwich with a ‘free’ bottle of coca-cola and bag of crisps, I don’t like crisps so much and not enamoured of sugary phosphorus water to I either give them away or haggle a price on them to a student.

If it is a BOGOF and there’s too much to carry/too heavy I give one away or sell it again.