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To think that Supermarkets try and 'cheat' their shoppers with false 'offers'

(109 Posts)
Mrsdavidcaruso Tue 15-Apr-14 19:24:21

I went into one of the big supermarkets today (not sure if I am allowed to name them).

I actually needed dishwasher liquid tabs so was interested in a large display at the end of an aisle 'offering' a pack of 51 tabs for 14 quid. Now there was no RRP ..... or special offer sign but the way they were displayed looked like it was some sort of deal.

However when I went to the aisle where all the dishwasher stuff is kept I saw the same brand in smaller packets of 32 1/2 price at £6.00.

Of course I bought two packs thus getting 64 tabs for £12.00 but if I hadn't checked I may have been tempted to buy the £14 pack in the mistaken belief I was getting a 'good price'.

I wonder how many people were taken in

CalamitouslyWrong Thu 17-Apr-14 09:39:26

Yes, the cheaper chickpeas are much better than the expensive ones!

WitchWay Wed 16-Apr-14 14:01:04

Those "ethnic" East End chickpeas are bigger & juicier than the usual Tesco ones as well grin

LadyMaryLikesCake Wed 16-Apr-14 13:33:43

'Low sugar' is often packed with flavour enhancers/salt/aspartame etc, or can have more sugar than the normal version, so I ignore these. It's just a marketing ploy and I'd rather have a little more sugar then a load of chemical additives. It's the same with 'low fat'. I'd rather eat butter then margerine. I think the 'low' encourages people to eat/drink more of that product so it defeats the object. I avoid the supermarkets where I can.

RuthlessBaggage Wed 16-Apr-14 13:03:55

The traffic lights system is all very well, but under sugar-free fizzy pop scores all green, and an obviously nutritious food like cheese scores one or two reds.

RuthlessBaggage Wed 16-Apr-14 13:00:35

In ours the "ethnic" sunflower oil is six feet from the naice safe European sunflower oil. 40p/L difference.

BumPotato Wed 16-Apr-14 12:45:47

It is the same with herbs and spices. There are much larger bags and jars of them in the ethnic food aisle, but not everything available online.

Pipbin Wed 16-Apr-14 12:02:39

Tins of chickpeas in the 'ethnic foods' aisle are very much cheaper than the ones in the beans and pulses aisle, but it's difficult to compare because they're far away from each other.

This is where online shopping comes into it's own. You type in 'chickpeas' and there they all are.

AMumInScotland Wed 16-Apr-14 11:42:38

Legislation can work if it is worded carefully. But I think the big supermarket chains have far too many expensive lawyers making sure that the wording is just vague enough to give them the loopholes they need.

But if society decided something is a big enough problem - like food waste - then the 'free market' doesn't completely stop the government from introducing legislation.

Up here, you can't do "2 for 1" deals on alcohol any more, because it encouraged irresponsible drinking habits.

If we collectively decided that the amount of food wasted in deals on salads and crisps was actually something we really cared about, then the same could be applied to other kinds of produce.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 16-Apr-14 11:40:25

But we shouldn't need to be offering basic maths courses just because supermarkets are determined to confuse as many people as possible. A consistent rule of always displaying price per 100g would make things easier for everyone.

The basic maths courses are still a good idea for many because arithmetic is a useful skill in lots of situations.

Goblinchild Wed 16-Apr-14 11:36:42

'the other thing of course is to shoot down the attitude that having maths or science skills makes you a geek.'

Or that they are only for men, and that girls and women don't need to worry about those areas.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Apr-14 11:35:17


NigellasDealer Wed 16-Apr-14 11:34:08

yes maybe the supermarkets could offer the maths courses on a BOGOF basis?

Goblinchild Wed 16-Apr-14 11:33:47

I like the traffic light system.

specialsubject Wed 16-Apr-14 11:32:35

sounds like we need some accessible maths courses for those who didn't listen, weren't taught or have forgotten.

this won't help those who have learning disabilities but it could help a lot of other people.

the other thing of course is to shoot down the attitude that having maths or science skills makes you a geek.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Apr-14 11:28:25

That's probably true!

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 16-Apr-14 11:25:57

I find the best way to spend less in the supermarket is to make a list and then completely ignore all the offers. Just buy exactly what's on the list.

Sainsbury's tends to vary the units it uses for it's price by weight. Across a shelf some things will be price per kg and others price per 100g. It's very obviously designed to make it more difficult to compare the prices. Just because I can do the arithmetic, doesn't mean I want to.

The other thing that annoys me is the having the same product in different places at different prices (not the same brand). Tins of chickpeas in the 'ethnic foods' aisle are very much cheaper than the ones in the beans and pulses aisle, but it's difficult to compare because they're far away from each other. Same with giant cous cous. The stuff in the rice aisle is much more expensive than the stuff in the beans and pulses aisle (which is always on the bottom shelf too).

I'm sure the same is true for loads of products. I've taken to informing people about the chickpeas if I happen to see them grabbing some of the more expensive ones. They're always surprised that there are 35p a tin ones elsewhere in the store.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Apr-14 11:21:29

Yes, I get it, you don't like it and have concerns that other packaging rules could be equally problematic.

But, as I said, there are examples where food packaging is really helpful.

So why assume that this would also follow the (rare) bad example?

What about competition and the free market? There are already plenty of laws about how clear you can or can't be with labels. The world hasn't ground to a halt.

Goblinchild Wed 16-Apr-14 11:15:39

The traffic light system was designed to be simple and unambiguous, giving a clear indication of fat/salt/sugar content in food.
So far so good.
Then certain chains decided that they didn't like their customers knowing so much, and designed their own version, which lacked the clarity of the original idea and obscured the information.
They could do this becaise the TLS was not made compulsory for all, in law. They were allowed to self-regulate, relabel sugars as less obvious materials, not use the red/orange/green etc.
If supermarkets are to be forced to be more clear on their pricings, there would have to be a clear system of weight/price labelling, and it would have to be enforced by law so that all of the chains followed the same system, and in every store.
Which would probably be a good thing, but what about competition and the free market and the rest?

Pipbin Wed 16-Apr-14 11:09:55

I think the think is Goblinchild that what you said:

If pricing in kilos and 100g units confuses you, then that's a basic problem you need to sort out. It's the maths required of an 8 year old.

comes across as a bit 'ffs an 8 year old can do that, get your shit together', which is not how you meant it I'm sure.

I don't think there will ever be legislation in place to combat it as the supermarkets will get round it.
Like putting one product in the 'end on' which makes you think that it's on an offer.

Another tip is never buy the naan bread from the aisle with the curry sauce, always from the bread aisle. Same with salad dressing, the dressings with the salads is always the more expensive.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Apr-14 11:08:45

goblin, do you think that clear labels on food would suddenly make all children decide not to bother learning arithmetic? confused

I don't get this at all.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Apr-14 11:07:49

I don't really see why legislation would be a bad idea?

The fact that you don't find the traffic light system helpful (and some do, despite its faults) doesn't mean it's impossible to introduce useful packaging. The units on alcohol and calorie labels are really good, so it's obviously not impossible to make it work.

We all understand that the idea is to target those who don't check or are too busy/unable, I think. But understanding it doesn't mean it has to be accepted. There are plenty of cases where businesses are not allowed to use any means possible to make profit.

Goblinchild Wed 16-Apr-14 11:07:12

'The National Numeracy Challenge is launched against a backdrop of recent OECD research showing the UK failing to keep up with other countries. Government figures also show that virtually half the working-age population have the maths skills expected of children at primary school and over three-quarters are below the level equivalent to the maths GCSE that many employers regard as necessary for work.'

'Also released today is a YouGov online poll showing that over a third of adults (36%) feel they have sometimes been held back by poor maths skills in some aspects of their lives. The most common difficulties involved weighing or measuring, understanding statistics in the media and helping children with maths schoolwork. Of those who rated their own skills as poor, nearly a third (30%) said it had affected their work and nearly a quarter (24%) had found it hard to work out the best deals in shops. However nearly a third (31%) of all those surveyed wanted to improve their maths skills; this rose to 50% among those who rated their skills as poor.'

It's a huge problem in this country, and the puzzle is why it is not so in many other countries.

Goblinchild Wed 16-Apr-14 11:00:32

Pibbin, I've done all that too, and translation for parents who struggle with English for whatever reasons. I taught in a community school for 8 years and this was something all the staff did, to enable a mostly immigrant community to access the basics they were entitled to.
Likewise, I have an adult child with AS who believes that adverts tell the truth and is vulnerable to the endless crap and claims of that industry.
It's those people that need specific support to be able to live in the wider community, and to be protected from those that would defraud them based on their gullibility and lack of knowledge.
How does that change the fact that the deceptions are based on people not checking, being too time-pressured or not being able to work out basic calculations? They are purely in it for the profits to be made, however dubious the methods used.
Are we advocating legislation to control and regulate the selling?
Look at the shambles that ensued with the simple traffic light system to indicate food content. Seemed a good idea, got screwed up by individual firms.

NigellasDealer Wed 16-Apr-14 10:53:12

i do wonder how people who are even worse than me manage, I mean those with real LDs.
Also I have even seen some prices in metric and others in imperial! How sneaky is that? I challenge you mental arithmetic boffs to get your heads round that one!

Kerosene Wed 16-Apr-14 10:52:05

How recent is recent? I remember hearing about dyscalcula when I was being assessed as dyspraxic 20-odd years ago? I agree that 'bad at maths' isn't considered as problematic as functional illiteracy, but unless she's 8, Nigella is probably not benefiting personally from the current focus on improving maths teaching. I know I've had to patch some fairly basic holes in my knowledge, and a lot of it isn't instinctive to me. There's no need to be arsey.

Leaving that aside, it's why I only shop online now. I can't be having with walking up and down an aisle trying to juggle 4 different offers with the time pressure of needing to get home - this one's 3/£10, that's 4/£12, there's a BOGOF and a Buy X get Y. I just want some cheese!, sort by price per unit, buy what I actually want, not what's been gussied up to look tempting.

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