Are You Sufficiently Prepared for Grocery Shopping?

You may have noticed that food prices are rising rapidly. Much more than the government admits. Here are some tips to help navigate the supermarkets:

The End Caps are attractive and decorative but they are often used to promote high profit items that are not on sale.

The worst buys are usually stacked at the check-out stand for impulse buying such as candy and novelties.

The items you see at eye level are the most expensive name brand items that can cost 50% more than generic. Advertising is very expensive but it does not mean name brands are better. Milk is milk, eggs are eggs, potato chips are potato chips. You may have to search for the cheaper products on the bottom shelves.

Is the price you see the real price? I am seeing stores place prices above items that look like bargains but the prices are not for those items. Creative and deceptive price tags fool a lot of people. If you complain the store will say that customers moved the items. I have seen this and complained and two days later I see the same thing.

Many times, a store will advertise a sale on a product, but if you don’t read the fine print – or look closely at the price tags – you might not realize that the sale is only on certain varieties. Maybe plain Spaghetti-Os are on sale, but the variety with franks or meatballs are full price.

Sometimes they price items in multiples like 5 for $5. In most cases that does not mean you have to buy 5. They could have just priced the items for $1 each. This uses the power of suggestion.

The most deceptive practice of all is the rigged computer. The price on the aisle is not the price in the checkout computer. Before K-Mart went out of business in my city I was seeing 50% of the items I purchased ranging up at higher prices. This happens today at just about every store. I do not believe it is accidental. The big chains are not hiring Ivy League MBA’s for nothing. Wrong pricing can mean millions of dollars to companies.

I remember a small grocery store where my brother worked in the 1950’s. The owner leaned a new broom against the checkout counter and charged everybody for the broom. If they said something the owner would exclaim, “Oh, that’s not your broom?” That pure profit was a substantial percentage of the profit. The owner later became a very prominent politician with things named after her. Sounds about right.

In all cases you have to get the magnifying glass out to ascertain the real price. I have seen some really small fine print that negates the huge bargain prices. The small print might require you to be a member of something, have a coupon or buy a case. Supermarkets have taken carnival tricks and turned them into a science. Think about shopping as a war of wits between you and the Ivy League Tricksters.


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