/ Shopping

The supermarket ‘special offers’ that aren’t so special

Supermarket offer

Would you buy two drinks for £4 when you can get one for £1? Sounds daft, but it’s just one of the really rubbish offers we’ve found on the supermarket shelves.

It could be a simple mistake, it could be poor maths, or at a push, supermarkets could be trying to make us laugh. But next time you spot a special offer ticket screaming a saving if you buy more, check very carefully.

Examples of daft offers at some of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains have been sent to us by eagle-eyed Which? members. And they show that clearly not all of these offers are worth the ticket they’re printed on.

For instance, why bother buying two bottles of Old Jamaican ginger beer from Tesco for the ‘bargain’ price of £1.60, when they’re only 50p each?! Then there’s the new, lower priced Sainsbury’s tin of peas, reduced from 35p to… 35p. Yes, you read that right. Or how about buying one Strawberry Muller Vitality Drink from Asda for £1, or two for £4? Deal!

A gallery of daft offers

We’ve embedded a gallery of all the ‘offer’ photos we’ve been sent so far, but if you have any other examples please send your photos to helpwanted@which.co.uk and put ‘daft offers’ as the title. We’ll continue to publish the most ridiculous ones.

What laugh-out-loud offers have you seen while out shopping? Tell us below.


Good tip. I’m about to go shopping and will avoid these special offers!


Big value pack mcvities digestive biscuits (2 x 500gm) for £1. 59 or further along the shelf buy 2 packets of the same for £1.50 which is the bargain!!! Not the first time I’ve noticed these oddities and am very aware that “bargains” are not always so and was interested to hear the subject debated on BBC breakfast show.This particular item is in Sainsburys.


When we looked on one day in August we found 600 examples where the bigger packet was poorer value for money compared to the smaller packets. Less packaging – bigger price??

Karen Elliott says:
28 November 2010

I shop at Tesco and always buy Dairylea strip cheese for my son. I am absolutely disgusted at the prices of the larger packs of these. You can buy a pack of 4 for 85p, however a pack of 8 will set you back a whopping £2.38!!!!!!! Packs of 12 are £2.82. And yes, you can guess, they hardly ever have any 4 packs available!

Emmett Lawlor says:
29 November 2010

On Saturday 27th November 2010 at Sainsbury’s on the Lewes Road, Brighton, I saw this offer:

First Cape Sparkler 75cl
A great value fizz with lemony citrus flavours and a crisp acicity. Try with party snacks.
2 FOR £10. UNIT PRICE £10.99

If you only want one, buy two, save yourself 99p and throw the other away.

Peter H says:
4 December 2010

Last week Tesco had a Buy 1 get 2 Free on Dr Pepper 6-packs. I misread it as Buy 1 get 1 free and took 2 packs to the checkout. I was charged full price for both. I challenged Tesco and they said the offer was for 2 free and if I only took 1 free it did not fulfil the offer and I would be charged for both. So it seems I could have 2 free but not 1! So I went back to the till with another pack and they gave me my £2.85 back. This offer is misleading and Tesco are once again, in my opinion, conning customers.


I have made the same mistake a few times that I know about. Perhaps someone who has worked for a supermarket chain might tell us how common this mistake is and whether it is a deliberate strategy to catch out the unwary.

Leslie says:
2 January 2011

My local Tesco is selling individual tins of Tuna chunks in Sunflower oil for 60p per tin (good price). If you buy the better value pack of 4 tins, it costs £3.25p. Der!

Graham says:
18 January 2011

I saw two completely daft ones today in Tesco’s store in Gillingham in Kent.

Firstly Bird’s Instant Custard triple pack either normal or low fat were both £1.00 each but Tesco’s had the tempting Any 2 for £2.00!!!

The other really daft one has been going a while now. Tesco’s Antibacterial Handwash. If you buy the standard 500ml bottle with has a plunger type dispenser it is 55p. If you buy the refill pack with out the dispenser it is 70p! 15p, 27% dearer! Who would buy the refill? Also not very green since the plunger uses considerably more plastic/metal and energy to produce over the plain plastic cap on the refill bottle.