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My beef with grocery stores recently

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. 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

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

      1. re: ZenSojourner

        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

          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

            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

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

              To each his/her own.

          2. 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

              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

                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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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: HillJ

                        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

                          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. 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. 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. 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

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

                        1. 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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                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. 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.

                                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

                                  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.

                                    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.

                                  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

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

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

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

                                  2. 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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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. 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. 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

                                          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. 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. 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. 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.