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My beef with grocery stores recently

maisonbistro Oct 18, 2010 03:46 PM

I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but those of you who frequent Loblaws and although I don't go often I assume Provigo also - the new catch of pricing something 2 for the price of..... BUT, you only get the price if you buy 2 of those items. The mention that you have to buy two is written in teeny weeny script on the "sticker advertising the special".

I have done a lot of shopping, and I mean a lot of shopping in the past 10 years and I have never encountered this problem. When things were 2 for the price of...... if you only got one, you didn't pay the regular price, you paid the sale price.

For example - 2 for $4 well, in the old day, if you only got one, you'd pay $2. Now you'll pay the regular price for one - if one is all you buy.

I hate it when stores, or their managers or whoever decides this, try to take advantage of people not noticing the discrepancy at the cash.

PS: Please don't get mad at the cashiers- it's not their fault. If you have an issue with this, speak to the manager.

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  1. ZenSojourner RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 12:50 AM

    Many years ago - like over 20 - I ran across a grocery store that decided to do this.

    I stopped shopping there. Apparently a lot of other people stopped shopping there too, because it no longer exists.

    The other thing that torques me off is this thing Krogers and some other stores do where you have to have their card to get the sale prices. They use that information to track your spending habits. For years I refused to shop at any of these places. Then I discovered that the card is activated as soon as you use it. So I'd just get a card and never send in the name/address info. Replace the card every few months and e voila, no customer tracking.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ZenSojourner
      MplsM ary RE: ZenSojourner Oct 19, 2010 03:12 AM

      I assume you paid cash for all your purchases when using the store card?

      1. re: MplsM ary
        ZenSojourner RE: MplsM ary Oct 19, 2010 09:21 AM


      2. re: ZenSojourner
        Cathy RE: ZenSojourner Oct 19, 2010 05:22 AM

        1. You don't have to give them a real name, real address, real phone number or any real information on that piece of paper.
        2. At least one of our stores (Albertsons), at the bottom of the application --the VERY last line-- is 'Check this box if you just want a card and don't want to give us any information'.
        3. Costco has all of my consumer information. As soon as something is recalled, I get a phone call or postcard in the mail telling me to return/stop using it. I like that.

        As far as the OP's question- That has been going on since forever. You have to read the fine print. Nothing new here.

        1. re: ZenSojourner
          CindyJ RE: ZenSojourner Oct 19, 2010 09:21 AM

          I've found in most of the supermarkets here in southeastern PA that if I don't have (or don't want to use) a shopper's card, I can ask the cashier to swipe the generic store card at the checkout, and I get the discounted prices.

          1. re: ZenSojourner
            BubblyOne RE: ZenSojourner Oct 19, 2010 09:35 AM

            Why would you care if a store uses info to track spending habits? It gets me coupons for things I already buy, along with the occasional $25 gift card or a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase.
            One of our local (LA) upscale grocery stores asked for my info and last Christmas I received a $100 gift card.

            1. re: BubblyOne
              ZenSojourner RE: BubblyOne Oct 19, 2010 09:57 AM

              I prefer to get my coupons WITHOUT having my privacy invaded.

              To each his/her own.

          2. coll RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 03:25 AM

            Where I am, I've noticed the opposite. It was always you must buy 2, or 3, or often even 10, you just had to read the fine print. But now I'm noticing a trend, that started with the smaller chains, that you get the sale price either way, and now the big guys don't always demand a certain volume anymore. But you still have to read the fine print. There is often a minimum purchase involved too, which used to be $25 but now is down to $10. I think they trick more people that way. Buyer beware, get out your magnifying glass.

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll
              HillJ RE: coll Oct 20, 2010 03:54 PM

              A&P, Stop & Shop, Pathmark & Foodtown all honor the sale price whether you buy 1 or more, but they will limit how many you can buy at the sale price. I've never seen more than 10 of the same item at the sales price honored with one check-out. Now, I've been known to make a few trips back for a super deal but I notice sale limits towards overbuying than I do not rec'ing the sale price on one item. I also get rain checks for items sold out before I get there, so the sale price is honored when the item returns to the shelf.

              1. re: HillJ
                coll RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:01 PM

                I've had the problem of having to buy a set amount to get the price at Waldbaums, which is part of A&P/Pathmark. As recently as last week.

            2. j
              janniecooks RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 04:19 AM

              At my local market - Publix - when they have items priced at 2 for the price of one, or whatever multiple, you don't have to buy the stated quantity. If it's two for one dollar, you pay 50 cents each regardless of the quantity you buy.

              What really steams me are the BOGO offers. For those you HAVE to get two in order to get the benefit of the BOGO. If the price is $5 and you get two, the unit cost is $2.50. If you only put one in your basket, you pay $5 and the unit cost is $5. I absolutely refuse to participate in BOGO offers.

              6 Replies
              1. re: janniecooks
                c oliver RE: janniecooks Oct 19, 2010 09:41 AM

                I was going to point out this distinction as it's what I experience at Safeway in NoCal. But I don't get steamed about it. #1, it's their store. #2, usually the BOGO items are things that I'm fine having two of.

                1. re: janniecooks
                  HillJ RE: janniecooks Oct 20, 2010 03:55 PM

                  I've never experience a bogo that forced you to buy both in order to get the sale price or half price.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    coll RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:03 PM

                    I've had the opposite experience, no matter how stupid it seems from our end. Meanwhile, the price is jacked up for the sale and if you don't partake, you lose.

                    1. re: coll
                      HillJ RE: coll Oct 20, 2010 04:19 PM

                      That's a real bummer, coll!

                      1. re: HillJ
                        coll RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:23 PM

                        Not for me, because I am very aware of prices overall due to being in wholesale food. But the women I speak to at my gym and all, they are clueless. I try to educate them a bit, and alert them to the good sales and all the subsequent rules that accompany the sale. They are always getting raped but don't think twice about it, like it's too much trouble to be proactive or rectify. But maybe they're not as broke as me ;-)

                        1. re: coll
                          HillJ RE: coll Oct 20, 2010 04:26 PM

                          Good for you (sad for them) coll. I like my shopping dollar to stretch as far as it can go week to week! Good food costs bucks...why over pay if you don't have to :)

                2. thew RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 06:13 AM

                  paying less on a greater volume or number of items is common. e.g. 2 a piece & 3 for 5, etc. i see no problem with this

                  1. Karl S RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 06:22 AM

                    Actually, the older practice was that volume-based discounting was solely volume-based. It's was only during the boom decades that this was relaxed. Now, with the depression forcing stores to more diligently manage inventory and stock, it makes perfect sense to see the older practice revived.

                    1. l
                      lemons RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 07:51 AM

                      Grocery stores in St. Louis as a general practice never do this. If it's 10/$10, you pay a buck for one. Period. Now the pizza places, that's a different story. Also, our stores (all of which are local chains; I don't call WallyWorld a grocery store) don't use the loyalty cards at all, thanks.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lemons
                        ZenSojourner RE: lemons Oct 19, 2010 09:24 AM

                        I've only ever run across one store that tried to do it any other way ( the "other way" being forcing you to buy 2 when the sale is 2-fer) and its out of business.

                        That's in 45 years of grocery shopping, in 8 states and Puerto Rico.

                      2. b
                        Babyducks RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 08:45 AM

                        Albertson's in my area (Phoenix) doesn't even use those cards anymore.

                        1. hannaone RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 02:40 PM

                          It's pretty common -
                          You take the special and get one or you don't take the special and pay full price.
                          The special states "2 for the Price of 1" not "1/2 off".

                          I never expect to buy one of an item on a 2fer for half price.
                          When I do get the one item at the reduced price I just figure another marketing ploy is at work - prices marked up so that the "special" is really normal price at another store.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: hannaone
                            ZenSojourner RE: hannaone Oct 19, 2010 02:56 PM

                            For those of you who think this is normal - roughly what part of the country are you in?

                            I haven't seen anyone do this but once in all the years I've been handling the grocery shopping.

                            1. re: ZenSojourner
                              Cathy RE: ZenSojourner Oct 19, 2010 03:00 PM

                              I've lived (and seen 2 for 1 meaning two items for the price of one; must buy two to get the price) in:
                              Ann Arbor, MI
                              Pensacola, FL
                              Norfolk, VA
                              San Diego, CA
                              (and all the surrounding suburbs).

                              1. re: Cathy
                                ZenSojourner RE: Cathy Oct 19, 2010 03:03 PM

                                OK, I've never lived or shopped in any of those areas.

                                Let's see, OH, IN, KY, WV, NC, WA, OR, AL, PR, IL

                                I may have missed one or two. The one time I saw it was in OH many years ago. Over 20 years ago I think.

                              2. re: ZenSojourner
                                queencru RE: ZenSojourner Oct 20, 2010 03:54 AM

                                I've seen it regularly both when I lived in Indiana and here in Florida. From what I've seen, it's a very common practice.

                            2. John E. RE: maisonbistro Oct 19, 2010 09:03 PM

                              In Minnesota we have a chain of grocery stores that really like the BOGO, buy one get one free. The irritating part is that they never really tell you how much the stuff costs. They say something like save $$$ on two, two what? I don't want to know how much I'll save, I want to know how much it costs to buy the darn crap. Theoretically, that amount they show is how much it costs, but does that mean I'll end up with 4 of them? I actually do understand the promotion, I just don't like it. They also sell chicken in odd sized packages but not priced by the pound, something like a 56 ounce package of chicken for a certain price. I don't want to do the math to get the per pound price, I just don't buy it.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: John E.
                                ZenSojourner RE: John E. Oct 19, 2010 09:17 PM

                                OH, buy one get one free! Or even worse, buy 2 get one free! I HATE those! But I don't object to selling stuff that way if they advertise it that way.

                                If they say "Buy one get one free" that's pretty clear and there's no room for misunderstanding. So if that's what they mean that's what they should say. Saying "2 for $1" (or whatever) isn't as clear.

                                From a goodwill standpoint alone, if what they want to do is make you buy 2 items for the price, they should advertise it as "Buy one doohickey for $X, get one free!".

                                1. re: ZenSojourner
                                  John E. RE: ZenSojourner Oct 20, 2010 09:24 PM

                                  Actually, it's not 'pretty clear'. They don't show how much the items cost, either one or two of them. They tell you how much you'll 'save', but that's annoying to me. I know it's a bit OCB of me to react that way, but I still don't have to like it. Other stores price it and say buy two for the price of one or even buy one and get one free and actually tell you how much money you will have to give them for the honor of buying their products.

                                  1. re: John E.
                                    ZenSojourner RE: John E. Oct 20, 2010 09:49 PM

                                    It's not posted on the shelf? Or are you talking about sales circulars? I NEVER pay any attention to circulars. I go to the grocery and buy what I need and get out.

                                    Of course in the good old days I had access to Aldi's for staples. No Aldi's here, daggum it! But there is a Costco, if I could just get my son to take me over there.

                                2. re: John E.
                                  HillJ RE: John E. Oct 20, 2010 03:57 PM

                                  Don't the stores have scanners in diff spots? I've scanned dozens of items when a price or unit price was unclear or missing.

                                  1. re: HillJ
                                    c oliver RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:14 PM

                                    I've never seen those in grocery stores out here.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      HillJ RE: c oliver Oct 20, 2010 04:19 PM

                                      No kidding. After the last S&S remodel customers didn't need to ask Customer Service for help on price because scanners were at 5 end caps, produce dept., meat dept and btwn bakery & refrigeration. For the first few weeks, employees were on hand to show customers how to use them for produce.

                                      1. re: HillJ
                                        c oliver RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:23 PM

                                        I've seen them at places like Target and Walmart but not in grocery stores. Sounds terrific although I have to say it's rare that the price isn't posted.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          HillJ RE: c oliver Oct 20, 2010 04:27 PM

                                          True, prices on dry, canned, pkdg. goods are usually marked well enough. Where scanners come in very handy is loose produce, deli (like olives, peppers, cheese) sold by the lb, crowded refrig cases with far too many price tags for these older eyes and fresh fish (sometimes no one is behind the counter!).

                                          1. re: HillJ
                                            coll RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 05:27 PM

                                            Here's it's the law that all food items have to have a sticker, but most chains don't do it and just pay the fine, because it's too much labor. Usually the shelf is marked pretty well though, with the unit breakdown.

                                    2. re: HillJ
                                      coll RE: HillJ Oct 20, 2010 04:19 PM

                                      That would be nice. No, not even the newer ones. you have to go to courtesy.

                                  2. bagelman01 RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 02:47 AM

                                    Since I haven't been in a Provigo since it was called DOMINION, I can't comment on what you are seeing, BUT. Here in Connecticut Stew Leonard's pulls this same stunt. It's just one of many reasons why I won't shop there,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
                                    I prefer when things are indiviually priced. I had to explain to my wife that when the advt. says 10 for $10 in most stores, you DON'T have to buy $10, but you'd be amazed how many people do.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bagelman01
                                      coll RE: bagelman01 Oct 20, 2010 05:00 AM

                                      In most stores I go to, 10 for $10 means exactly that. I had to return the couple of boxes of garbage liners that I paid an inflated price for (usually BOGO means they double the price for that period), I mean where would you even store that many cartons, it was a joke. Also cat food, whenever on sale is 24 for $12. A few weeks ago it was 20 for $10, not 21, not 24, etc. I got my usual 24 without thinking, and even though it was more cans, didn't get any break at all. As a matter of fact I went back and adjusted, and got back close to $5. As I said, you have to read the fine print, and don't be afraid to go back for an adjustment if you don't.

                                      1. re: coll
                                        queencru RE: coll Oct 20, 2010 03:00 PM

                                        I haven't seen what you mention for the BOGO. Usually the price is just the price of one of the items at the standard regular price, not some inflated price.

                                        1. re: queencru
                                          coll RE: queencru Oct 20, 2010 04:18 PM

                                          I just noticed it in this afternoon's flyer for next week's sale at Waldbaums (aka A&P): for example, BOGO on celery hearts, stating normal price as $3.69. 3 lb low grade bagged onions, $2.99. 10z baby bellas, $2.99. These prices are ridiculous if you were just buying one. Also, BOGO on dish detergent, greenworks cleaner, febreeze etc say "Save up to $2.18 or whatever.... ON 2" printed in a big red box, so you can't miss it. Maybe it's just here, but I think not: a lot of people don't scrutinize their receipt afterwards, and like I said alot of these deals depend on you spending a minimum amount too. They're making out on the majority of their customers I would say, from the people I talk to.

                                    2. GraydonCarter RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 10:55 AM

                                      Why would a grocer even care how many sale items I buy? I thought the idea of a sale was to get my butt in the store, not to clear out their excess inventory.

                                      1. gaffk RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 04:22 PM

                                        Where I'm from, BOGO means you buy one, you get one free. It IS a way to decrease their inventory. I live in a household of 2, so I hate those deals as I rararely need 2 eyeroasts, etc.

                                        But the 10/$10 or 2/$4 or whatever deal, means whatever amount you buy get the deal.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: gaffk
                                          HillJ RE: gaffk Oct 20, 2010 04:31 PM

                                          Most of the BOGO deals I've taken use of include a mfg. coupon along with the store sale. Great on non food items, cleaning products and such. I tend to buy BOGO's; one for the house and one for the college kid.

                                        2. thew RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 04:27 PM

                                          i was looking today - i shop via freshdirect. they have many deals of that sort - something costs 69ยข but you can buy 3 for $1.80 -, or strawberries cost 3.99 a carton, or 2 for $5.

                                          it's very common

                                          1. hill food RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 04:30 PM

                                            what I hate about it was that for years I lived in pedestrian neighborhoods without a car (as did many of my neighbors) and I'm sorry at the end of a long day the idea of carrying twice the number of groceries 8 or more blocks in order to save a few bucks is just not really practical.

                                            1. h
                                              HillJ RE: maisonbistro Oct 20, 2010 04:33 PM

                                              Honestly my only beef is with dollar stores; many of which now qualify as mini marts and tiny grocery stores. If it says ONE DOLLAR it better be one dollar.. but more & more dollar stores are blurring the lines. I shop for two older folks through a senior volunteer program I participate in (friendly visitor) and they love their dollar buys...but of late...those buys haven't been a dollar.

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