# The problem might not be in the supermarkets

Which? found that unclear “unit price” information – where the cost of an item should be displayed in grams or litres to be easily comparable – had meant seven in 10 people could not work out the cheapest item from a range of real-life examples.

It could actually be in the schools. Where, you know, kiddies are told to run the world’s energy supply on rainbow coloured unicorn farts instead of their times table?

Just an idea……

## 24 thoughts on “The problem might not be in the supermarkets”

1. Not only that.

I tend to buy smaller bowls of prepackaged fresh salads or a smaller punnet of strawbs. It means that it is more expensive, but I don’t waste any. Cucumbers are a good example : if there are no small nes, I’ll buy a half cucumber. If I buy a whole one. I invariably throw half away !

2. Parents can use supermarkets to teach this stuff to their children. ”Maisie, find me the booze that has the lowest price per unit of alcohol. You can use the calculator on my phone.”

3. “A shopper who bought four 250ml glass bottles would pay £5, or 346pc more than buying a 1.5 litre bottle for just £1.68.”

Can we just treat this as a Darwinian thing? Getting down to the detail of 346pc is irrelevant. If it’s £1.25 for a 250ml and £1.68 for a 1.5l, the very roughest math is that it’s 1×5. If you can’t figure that out, you should be spending all your money on expensive coke, so you can’t afford to take pretty girls out to the movies, and thus not producing the next generation.

Of course, the truth is that unlike the weird nerds at Which, most people buy a small bottle for convenience.

4. They f*cking tell you on the price ticket how much it costs per 100 millilitres or grams. If you’re so stupid you can’t even bother reading whats in front of you you deserve everything you get. Whats next ‘People are falling off cliffs due to confusing safety notices that say Danger, Steep Drop, Keep Away’?

5. Danger, Steep Drop, Keep Away’?

They might do. People might think it’s about their trousers, or curtains.

6. “pc”? Do these people not have a shift key? What has the poor % symbol done to offend them?

7. “What’s next ‘People are falling off cliffs due to confusing safety notices that say Danger, Steep Drop, Keep Away’?”

Yes, they’re climbing over the warning signs to take selfies.

Despair is a sin, but it’s a very hard one to avoid these days.

8. A local supermarket has a habit of pricing things thus – £1.50 for 250ml and £3.15 for 500ml. People still buy the bigger bottle because they think it’s automatically going to be more for your money. As to whether it’s arithmetical ignorance or a degree of venality on behalf of the supermarket I can’t say. But it’s stupidity on behalf of the punters who fall for it, IMHO.

9. It could actually be in the schools. Where, you know, kiddies are told to run the world’s energy supply on rainbow coloured unicorn farts instead of their times table?

The problem seems to be below mental arithmetic (as others have said, you can use a calculator). The problem seems to be that so many seem fundamentally unaware that “life”, including supermarkets, gravity, plumbers, the education establishment, Greens and Which?, is directly or indirectly going to fuck them over at every opportunity for a myriad of reasons.

10. But the shelf-labels do usually show price per unit of measure.

The problem may be idiots who can’t read or don’t read the information available.

The pack quantity is certainly given, so just divide the price by pack quantity to get price per ml or g… Oh I forgot, mental arithmetic not been taught for decades because not necessary.

11. Oh I forgot, mental arithmetic not been taught for decades because not necessary.

While I agree that mental arithmetic should be taught in schools, it really isn’t necessary in this case: just about everyone carries a computer in their pocket (or handbag). There really is no excuse for being ripped off by per-unit pricing, those that are either don’t care (maybe the convenience of a different size outweighs the extra cost) or just can’t be arsed to care.

12. Why do my supermarkets use different units in the price-per-unit labels for similar items?

13. “A local supermarket has a habit of pricing things thus – £1.50 for 250ml and £3.15 for 500ml. People still buy the bigger bottle because they think it’s automatically going to be more for your money.”

Seriously? They can’t even work out that the two 250ml bottles add up to £3 and 500ml? I’m sorry but if you really are that stupid you deserve to be ripped off.

14. As “Can I agree with PJF that supes are trying to fuck us over?” points out, it’s actually not that simple.
I don’t know if it’s the retailers fault, or the manufacturers for providing inconsistent information, but I often find things where one product is priced “per 100g” or “per kg” – while a similar product is priced “per item”. This tends to be with things that are in portions of some sort (like Shredded Wheat and Wheatabix that both come in biscuits – yes, I can eat 3, or 4 !). It’s really annoying having to try and work out what the unit size is to convert between units and weight.

15. I’ve stood in Lidl and seen three varieties of apples packaged up and priced in terms of pence per 100 g for the first sort, then pounds per kg for the second type, and finally pence per apple for the other one.

I’m single and have time on my hands, so I do go through the mental gymnastics of estimating weight against size of produce until I think I’ve worked out the cheapest variety. But I can’t blame a mother with children in tow and a whole household to stock up for if she can’t keep doing this, and simply grabs one and hopes for the best.

16. Can I agree with PJF that supes are trying to fuck us over?

The whole supermarket model has always been designed to fuck consumers over, from the music over the tannoy to the way things are laid out. Their profits must be through the fucking roof riding this inflation wave. I can’t fault them for wanting to find out just how much suckers will pay for shit before they notice they’re being ripped a huge one.

17. Given that the supermarkets are evidently trying to sell stuff that has been in warehouses in the UK, or the actual supermarket for 10-15% more because of ‘cost of living crisis innit?’ and getting away with it I have no sympathy with anyone being taken in by their pricing scams

18. What’s the point of all the metri-tards singing the praises of how ‘easy’ and ‘logical’ metric is if the mothers *still* can’t do simple conversions. FFS, you have a calculator on your phone.

Why is it that those of us who grew up even as recently as the last days of green stamps can manage this task on our own but the youngin’s need specially formatted displays spoon-feeding them the information – which they’ll ignore for the flashest package anyway.

19. Bloke on M4
August 23, 2022 at 7:28 am

. . .

Of course, the truth is that unlike the weird nerds at Which, most people buy a small bottle for convenience.

Its a lot harder to surreptitiously drink from a 1.5 liter bottle compared to a 250ml when you’re in the office toilet, on the bus, or trying to sneak it into the movie theater.

20. An individual Weetabix or Oatibix is 25 grams and they normally come in packs of 24.
600 grams in total.

21. Why is it that those of us who grew up even as recently as the last days of green stamps can manage this task on our own but . . .

Despite a “traditional education” and a lifetime of experience, loads of old people get caught up in scams – blatantly obvious scams. It’s a question of expectations. If you’re not expecting to get shafted it really doesn’t make much difference how good you are at adding up.

22. Recently walked towards a wind turbine with my nephew b.2008. Hey let’s estimate the height of this thing as we approached, and with him at 8 paces away and with him being 1.6m tall and my eye on the ground, his head blocked out the nacelle. Cool. We’re just having a bit fun.
360 paces further on and we’re at the base of the turbine – so estimated height of the thing is 360/8 times 1.6m. And we went to the calculator. Sooo embarrassed looking back.

23. @BoM4

Can we just treat this as a Darwinian thing?

Yes and OTT H&S have stopped the thick & stupid being removed when children

Exacerbated by schools not educating children. We’re now in an era when adults are openly proud to say “I’m no good at maths arithmetic”

Blame lies with Left, Blair and Brown

Anyone remember those Blair and Brown era ads in 2007 onwards “We’re funding adult 3Rs education as so many school leavers can’t…”

Left: Keep the poor uneducated & poor, then they’ll vote for us