Which farts, supermarkets shit themselves

Multi-buy deals in British supermarkets could soon be permanently phased out as stores plan to scrap such deals just hours after news broke that watchdogs were looking to ban misleading deals.
Since this newspaper last night reported that misleading buy-one-get-one free offers and special deals in supermarkets could be banned within weeks under a clampdown being prepared by watchdogs, Sainsburys has become the first to say it will completely discontinue multi-buy deals in store. Instead it will favour selling individual items at a lower prices.
Sainsburys today announced it would scrap the vast majority of multi-buy deals by August, with special offers on confectionary, crisps and other “unhealthy” snacks being phased out by March.

The prodnoses never will stop so the only solution is to tell them to fuck off in the first place.

Or that multi-person gallows we all keep hoping for.

35 thoughts on “Which farts, supermarkets shit themselves”

  1. I am old, pre-retired, living on my savings and Mrs Bemused meagre income, multi-deals really helped us in the survival stakes.
    I guess I will soon forego the big supermarkets and get all my shopping in Aldi and Lidle.

  2. Why is anyone surprised? The supermarkets always cave in – look at the ‘age challenge’ and the 5p carrier bags. If they thought that would appease the NuPuritans, more fool them! No one else did.

    What really galls me is the number of people praising this because Which are ‘protecting consumers’. I’m an adult. I don’t need protecting.

  3. These ‘watchdogs’ making law now? Sounds like minimum unit pricing by the back door, a thin end of what will become a large wedge once it starts.

  4. No sweat to the supermarkets. The suppliers are the ones who foot the bill for any specisl offers, BOGOFS, overfills etc.

  5. In CH, there’s normally a “price per 100g/ml” in small text on the label.

    It allows those who care to look to determine which is *really* the best deal.

  6. Sainsburys today announced it would scrap the vast majority of multi-buy deals by August, with special offers on confectionary, crisps and other “unhealthy” snacks being phased out by March.

    Experts detect a hint of snobbery: the deals on Bourneville and artisan kettle chips will remain, those one Quality Street and Monster Munch will be phased out.

  7. abacab,

    Yes, and in the UK this is the case too. I do it all the time to see if something is a better deal than another similar product.

    Which? are just a bunch of nannies and pretty much redundant now. I don’t need someone finding me the best deal when I can visit 2 or 3 websites in seconds to find prices. I don’t need product reviews when I can see blogs and Amazon reviews.

  8. Maybe the supermarkets figure that if they can kick the legs from under the campaign fast enough, they can bring bogofs back in sooner. Everybody will be too busy screaming about something else that’s ‘misleading’.

    Maybe Which and others will be seen for what they are when supermarkets are noisily ‘caving in’ over something different every week.

  9. The managerial scum are part of the same enemy class (middle-class CM-infused scum-buckets). That seems the only possible explanation. Had these supposed “leaders” fought their way up they would have to have some balls.

    And an accurate idea of how many people read and give a shit about Which–ie nobugger.

    If I were the Chairman of the Board?

    * More Multis–advertised by “as seen in Which ” promos,
    * A clear statement to the polit-pigs that legislation =retaliation. I would start putting PIs onto the payroll to find out every scrap of dirt on anybody involved–journos, polits etc.
    *Make it clear that there will be active–possibly violent-resistance to legislation. Dirt will be dug up and made public and any edicts will be defied. The prospect of bluebottle clowns trying to chase down supermarket bosses/managers in a blaze of publicity will suit nobody. Any member of staff etc who defies the bluebottles will be rewarded. Sent to jail =made for life.
    *Hire the UKs population of dossers and spray them with extra dirt/germs. Any type of mass cop attack to be met with a mass of dossers so filthy that the bluebottles will be fighting each other for who is going to get the Hazmat suit. Both of them.
    * Anybody with any wit could come up with 100 more ideas.

    The pork will only leave alone those who are willing and able to damage them. If people start to make it clear to the scum of the state that they have had enough and will fight back, the polits will drop their bottle quicker than a greasy milkman.

  10. The Stigler: “Which? are just a bunch of nannies and pretty much redundant now. I don’t need someone finding me the best deal when I can visit 2 or 3 websites in seconds to find prices. I don’t need product reviews when I can see blogs and Amazon reviews.”

    THIS! May they go the way of the ‘Indy’, and soon…

  11. I simply don’t understand why BOGOF is misleading. I pay for one, get another. If I don’t want the second one I don’t take it.

    A colleague once came back from the shop. Said he went to buy something but it was BOGOF. He only needed one; but one was twice as expensive per unit as two; so he didn’t buy it.

  12. Every shopper who enters the store must be assigned a Competition and Markets Authority employee to assist them in their shopping. An economy without government present just isn’t fair.

  13. “Since this newspaper last night reported that misleading buy-one-get-one free offers and special deals in supermarkets”

    Are they saying some BOGOF deals are misleading, or that BOGOF deals are misleading in themselves? Unclear language.

  14. I am constantly struck that we are a country which expects its citizens to understand every detail of their tax return, with severe penalties for any errors, yet simultaneously believes its citizens to be mentally subnormal to the point where simple everyday tasks and challenges must be legislated against.

  15. So, sometimes supermarkets sell smaller packs on special offer, making them cheaper than the bigger packs (which are usually better value).

    Have seen it myself, though not often. It’s easy enough to see due to the per whatever labelling. I’ve always assumed it’s a stock clearance thing, or a mistake. Either way, it’s a bonus. For me, not the supermarket.

    They do something similar with wine, all the time and very obviously. Some more expensive wine is heavily discounted making it cheaper than similar wine of less quality.

    Again, I’ve never been annoyed by this, or felt I was being taken for a ride.

    We should probably judge a supermarket chain’s level of villainy on their margins. Wafer-thin as a result of endless price wars seems to be the norm.

    Maybe I’m just a sheeple.

  16. Rob,
    Yes, we need a change. This should cover it:

    “Buy one get another one or something else of the same or lower value free but be careful because you may not actually use another one of the same because you don’t eat as many vegetables as you like to pretend ”

    We’d probably want to shorten it to “Buy one get one free” though.

  17. I’m torn a little on this. It’s where my free market principles are most sorely tested frankly because i hate these things.

    The way i see it a Supermarket special offer’s basic function is to make the price signal a little more opaque. It plays with a customer’s value perception formula. Working out the underlying value takes time and information which is a barrier to making a decision.

    And for that reason I support keeping these offers in check with regulations that make the price per unit clear and unambiguous.

    That said i do see also that a lidl or and aldi or anyone else can cater for those who want to be given clear price information rather than bogofs etc.

  18. Hallowed Be,
    We already have legislation that ensures good information (the price per unit being hugely helpful).

    Better than that we have had years of pretty brutal competition; supermarkets are trying to get one over on each other, you not so much.

    If there was a huge problem with these offers, then the guilty supermarkets would have been outed by the others withing hours.

  19. “I’ve always assumed it’s a stock clearance thing, or a mistake. Either way, it’s a bonus. For me, not the supermarket.”

    It’s a bonus for both.

    A shop has a certain amount of fixed overhead costs to pay (like rent, shelf space, loss of interest on money tied up in stock), and then another bunch of costs proportional to the amount they sell (including buying and transporting it to the shop). The price charged has to cover both.

    Because the fixed overhead doesn’t change if you sell more, the share-per-item drops the more of them you sell. So if you can sell them twice as fast, the overhead component is half as much. The problem is that there aren’t enough people out there who want it to maintain that buy rate.

    So what you do is have a sale. You drop the price temporarily, to get a temporary increase in the rate of sales from all those people willing to wait for a bargain. The rest of the time, you charge a higher price to those willing to pay the premium for goods available immediately whenever they want them, rather than having to wait for the next sale. It enables the shop to grab a bit more of the market – people who won’t buy it at the normal price but are willing at the sale price, and it enables customers who value price over constant availability to get goods cheaper. Everyone benefits.

    The reasoning only applies when most of the cost of running a shop is fixed overheads (i.e. the goods themselves are cheap), and when the demand curve is steep, so a small change in price leads to a massive change in sales.

    So sure, you can have shops selling individual items at lower prices, but you can only have them when they’re stocked, which will be intermittently, so that sales are concentrated in pulses and the overhead-per-item is lower. The rest of the time the item will be out of stock.

    I think this is a case of the campaigners not knowing how shops work. As usual.

  20. “I think this is a case of the campaigners not knowing how shops work. As usual.”

    Under what circumstances does a shit-stirrer qualify as a ‘campaigner’, I wonder? I suspect it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

  21. A little story from Tom O’Connor.

    A pizzeria opened up in a small Irish town. In the window was a notice which said:

    BUY ONE PIZZA FOR THE PRICE OF TWO, AND GET ANOTHER ONE FREE!

    They had people queuing round the block.

  22. Jack C
    Ultimately i am very open to the suggestion that competition can keep this in check. However I still think its entirely possible even likely that paying a fortune to your marketing bods to come up with price bamboozling schemes can be marginally worth it to your shareholders and out compete others not so savvy, with the result the overall price level stays higher than if these practices were outlawed. So yes “We already have legislation that ensures good information” but the current schemes and basic practices have grown up around them.
    v simple example. bag of bananas- unit price per bag.
    loose bananas per kg.
    same bananas…. but unless you put it on the scales, and price them both by a common unit you can’t tell which one is the better unit value. This example is as simple as it gets but ought to be made illegal. (not putting them in a bag of course but not providing a common unit comparison)

  23. “v simple example. bag of bananas- unit price per bag.
    loose bananas per kg.”

    Good example. Are they the same product? The supermarkets say that the bagged bananas are pre-ripened, selected for quality, and hand-packed – so you don’t have to stand there searching for the best ones and bagging them up yourself. They’re also not handled and mauled by all the other customers.

    Anyway – the higher price is to pay for the people packing them in bags – minimum wage and all that. You’d not want to deprive the minimum-wagers of their jobs and pay, now would you?

    Value is more complicated than simply the mass. And price is more complicated than people think, too. Is this really the sort of thing we want Murphy-like regulators to interfere with, forcing a one-size-fits-all policy on everyone?

  24. NiV

    That’s why, in the ‘Courageous State’, all advertising is banned by private corporations – (or subject to rates of tax that make it prohibitively expensive) – that’s the future in Corbynite Britain

  25. I don’t get it, they are private, don’t take government funding, have one and a half million subscribers (growing over time), and so can probably genuinely claim to be speaking on their behalf.

    Why the hate ?

  26. NiV- Yes agree value is what people will pay and agree it can get complicated. That is why I’m not saying a higher price for the bananas isn’t justified. Up to the supplier. But we’re talking about the customer making a comparison with a very close substitute. Since i’m price conscious i like to know per unit which is cheaper. Supermarket nudges me not to make a very good comparison. Effectively they impose a time penalty for doing so. I have to weigh the bananas in the bag, price them up in the units of the loose bananas, then see which is cheaper. Supermarket makes me do that. And i do do it. And yes (maybe you could tell?) i resent it a teensy bit. Ok so i don’t have a great problem with tweaking the existing regulations to say put the kg price next the bag price you buggers.

  27. “I have to weigh the bananas in the bag, price them up in the units of the loose bananas, then see which is cheaper. Supermarket makes me do that.”

    Yes. So you want the supermarket employees to do it for you. But they charge minimum wage for their time, so that’s going to get added to the price, yes?

    The odds are that the loose ones are always going to be cheaper, unless there’s an offer on. The supermarket have less to do.

    But I’d agree, putting a big sign up next to them saying “These are more expensive because we weigh and price them individually by hand for you” might help customers understand that those who value their own time higher than minimum wage might like to go for the bagged bananas without thinking, and people saving the pennies who are willing to spend the time will find it cheaper per kilogram to go for the loose ones. I’m all in favour of public education. I don’t even mind that the cost of the signs will be added to the price.

    Or if you prefer, you could interrupt one of the employees in the store and ask them, which is cheaper? If they get enough customers asking, it’ll save them money to put the signs up.

  28. NiV
    “These are more expensive because we weigh and price them individually by hand for you”

    Not asking for any justification at all. Just asking for the bag to also display price per kg. Yes that does mean the supplier needs to weigh them as well as count them.

    Look basically this particular practice bugs me and if any prodnoses around impose this i’m not shedding tears for the supermarket shareholders’ cost of compliance.

    But because its a bugbear i kind of veered from what the story is really about… people saying other people (not them of course) eat too many crisps, sausages and choccy biscuits because….er because bogofs. Those people can bog off.

  29. “i’m not shedding tears for the supermarket shareholders’ cost of compliance.”

    But it’s not the shareholders who pay, it’s the customers. The pressure from the shareholders is to reduce costs. The pressure from the customers is to improve service and value for money. Since this is something the customers want, the customers will wind up paying for it. The cost of compliance gets added to the price.

    I’ve got no objection, if this is what most customers want, with shops doing it and adding the cost of this service to the price. What I’m objecting to is taking away the choice by applying legislation. If customers want it, then by shopping only at places that do it they’ll pass the message and the shopkeepers will hasten to comply. That’s as things should be. But if you legislate it, then the costs will get added whether or not customers want it or care about it. If a lot of them don’t, they’ll lose by that.

    If you let market forces make the decision, then customers (on average) get the best deal. If you let legislators decide, then the people who lobby for the legislation get the best deal, at the expense of everyone else.

    “But because its a bugbear i kind of veered from what the story is really about…”

    The problem with authoritarian thinking is that a huge number of people approve of it when it makes other people do what they want, but nobody approves of it when it means they have to do what other people want. But they all believe that with the right government, they could get more of the former without any of the latter. In a world where opinions differ, it’s logically impossible for them *all* to be right.

    Libertarian thinking argues that to avoid the latter, you have to forego the former. You can’t regulate even for things that are good and right and that you approve of, because it sets a precedent that will come back to bite you.

    So in a sense, it’s another aspect to the same story. I do sympathise with your point of view – I find deliberately confusing and convoluted price policies annoying myself. I just think the way to deal with it is to stop shopping at those places. Regulation that takes away the choice is almost always the wrong answer.

    Libertarian principles are difficult to hold to, which is no doubt why libertarians are rare. Voters get the sort of government they deserve.

  30. NiV- (Ventnor?)

    on this i’m going to concede.. i can hardly claim that everyone else that doesn’t give the same toss about it has to have a cost imposed on them. Anyway on the large scale the article seems to suggest that the big supermarkets are catching up with a general movement for price transparency.

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