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BOGO's -- how do they work where you are?

In some places, you can get a single BOGO item half off. In others, you have to take two. How does it work where you are?

It seems to me it is a geographical thing, not a store policy thing. For example, where I live in NC the stores will sell you one at half off. In Florida where I am now, they insist you take two; you get nothing off if you only take one. That in spite of the fact that in my main store in NC is Bi-Lo (they do it), which has the same ownership as Winn-Dixie which doesn't do it, at least not where I am in FL. Is this just local competitive practices?

For clarity, even in FL, if an item is marked 2 for X, you can always buy one for 1/2 X. It's when it's marked as a BOGO -- then you must actually buy two to get the deal.

In another thread somebody said Publix will do it, but where I am Publix won't (I'm in the Orlando-Daytona zone.)

What's your experience?

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  1. Where I am, BOGOFs are BOGOFs. That's the deal.

    1. The Publix in my area is "BUY ONE GET ONE" simple and easy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ospreycove

        Same with my Publix. I wouldn't attempt to buy only one for half price. I'm sure they get enough customer whining without me piling on.

        1. re: Veggo

          I don't understand the difference to the store between selling 2 items for $2, or 1 item for $1. And I also don't know why asking a simple question would constitute "whining" or "piling on".

          1. re: carolinadawg

            They are trying to move volume.. they may be have an incentive to sell more.. there are plenty of reasons why a company needs to move product.. cash flow has benefit.. it can help credit lines, short term milestones, things that make no difference to a consumer.

            Also local consumer protection laws often dictate whether BOGO is two only.. or buy 1 half price.

          2. re: Veggo

            Went to Harris Teeter tonight. Club soda was 5 for $5. Bought 2 and they rang up automatically for $1 apiece. No one got upset, lol.

        2. BOGO = BOGO. If you only buy one you pay full price. However, other similar deals are not the same. For example, if it's buy 5 for the price of 4 you usually get a discount no matter how many you buy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I know you've mentioned having Harris Teeter in your area, and at least at every Harris Teeter I've been to, their BOGO's will allow you to receive half off just one item.

          2. This depends on how the promotion is loaded in the customers scan data base...first item is at full price second item scanned as free!!!
            There is a thought in the grocery business that for a BOGO the retailer and manufacturer will get more movement...then they would on a 1/2 price sale!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Hue

              Well of course that's true. They can load it into the database either way, and it's up to them how they do it in each case. But the question is when and where do they do it the one way vs. the other.

              Seems to me a half-price sale isn't exactly the same as a 2 for X or a BOGO. In a half-price deal it's clear that you can buy just one item for half price. Not necessarily so with the others.

              1. re: johnb

                John..data base entry gets tricky when retailer is on a Scan Based Trading (SBT) agreement..

                1. re: Hue

                  Are you saying that if a grocer has a competitive need to do something a certain way, because their competitors do it and thus their customers expect it, that they would let the POS technology they have prevent them from doing it that way, and potentially lose business?

                  1. re: johnb

                    No John..all I am saying is that sometimes the mechanics of a process can inhibit the flexability of the process...most of the time a Store Manager can override a "policy" but it gets tricky if one Mgr is flexible and another is "by the book"....
                    Who wants a creative postman??

                    1. re: Hue

                      I agree with your statement as far as it goes, but I seriously question whether any grocery chain, which by definition is operating in a highly competitive industry, would allow, or even put itself in a position such that, the POS technology they have in their stores could impede their ability to do their pricing as they see fit and react to the competitive situation in the area where they are operating.

                      In any case, I am under the impression that, for large grocery chains at least, programming of the POS systems (weekly sales for example) is mostly done from a central point on a regional basis, not at the store level or with any action by individual store managers (aside from, e.g. store closeouts and such). Is this not so? Fascinating discussion by the way.

                      Next time I'm in my local store I think I'll engage the manager and learn more about this stuff.

                      1. re: johnb

                        John, most pricing etc is downloaded thru a central point on a almost daily basis...where it gets tricky and convoluted (and when a local managers creativity gets involved) is when a retailer is working a consignment basis with a vendor(Scan Based Trading) also when the retailer is working with a Computer Based Ordering system, working outside the box skews the system!

            2. At the local Safeway (No. California) I have been seeing fewer BOGO and more 2/$5 type pricing. On some items you can get the lower price even if you buy only one, but on other specials you have to buy the multiples. Reading the fine print on the shelf tag will let you know which way.

              The other variation is to advertise a low price and then the fine print says you have to buy 2 or 3 to get that low price.

              Hope that makes sense.

              9 Replies
              1. re: pamf

                That's interesting. Only very very rarely have I seen cases where you had to buy the multiples to get the deal when it was marked as 2 or 3 or whatever for X. I've never seen it done routinely. Another variant.

                1. re: johnb

                  My local Giant (Philadelphia) has all these variations. For example, this week:
                  -Coffee is 3 for $7; must buy 3
                  -Cases of bottled water 3 for $11; buy as many or as few as you like
                  -Bacon is BOGO; must take two
                  -Potato chips 50% off
                  -Then there's the buy 2, get 1 free Easter candy; must take 3

                  1. re: johnb

                    At the local CVS, you have to buy two to get the deal. At the Safeway in the same shopping center, you can get one at half price. It's not geography, it's store policy.

                    1. re: 512window

                      Well, CVS isn't a grocery store, so I'm not sure the significance of differences between them and a grocer. My question goes to whether competitive pressure among grocers in a given area tends to force them all to do it the same way. With regard to grocery chains in your area, do the others do it like Safeway?

                      1. re: johnb

                        The CVS sells groceries, especially staples. Grocery stores know they are not only competing with other grocery stores.

                        With the different grocery stores in the area, Safeway is the only one who frequently does BOGOs - the rest reduce prices, usually dependent on having their loyalty card.

                        1. re: 512window

                          Yes of course CVS sells a (comparatively) few grocery items. But that doesn't make them in any meaningful way a competitor in the grocery industry, with full-line grocers. I suspect that a typical CVS's food item sales at any one store are a tiny fraction of those at any nearby supermarket. Hence it strikes me as quite a stretch to suppose that, because CVS does something and Safeway doesn't, that means that Safeway expects it can go its own way with the competition and ignore what others are doing. If, say, Kroger did it and the Safeway just down the road didn't, then that would be a horse of another color.

                          My question about other grocers in the area was whether they apply rules to BOGOs the same way. If the others don't even do BOGOs, then the question is moot.

                          I assume Safeway in your area also does price reductions like the others in addition to its BOGOs, probably also using a loyalty card. If not, let me know -- that would be interesting.

                    2. re: johnb

                      Ralph's here in So. Cal is this way. A great number of items are "79 cents each… Must by 8" and what's worse is if you buy 10, the last two are at the other sale price, somewhere between the 79 cents and the original price. Very frustrating. Sometimes I don't want to buy 8 bottles of Powerade… I much prefer the deals where it's buy 10 of the items around the store that are in the particular sale bracket, and you get the sale price.

                      Most stores around me don't have a lot of BOGO, but when they do, it's buy one get one free, not buy one for half price...

                    3. re: pamf

                      Safeway prices listed as 2 for X$ are sold for half price for one.

                      But Safeway BOGO require you to buy two.

                      1. re: sfchris

                        Yeah, that's how it is at my local Safeway, as well.

                    4. Here in my part of So. CA, if something is BOGO at $5 each, you would have to buy one at $5 to get the second one free. If they are marked on sale "2 for $5", then you could buy one for $2.50.

                      1. At Publix in North Georgia, BOGO = buy one at 1/2 price.

                        1. At Publix in the Atlanta area, BOGO allows you to buy one item at half price. It automatically rings up for half price.

                          1. I've been to most of the Boston area chain supermarkets.
                            BOGO means you must take 2 but will be charged for just one. Half-price or two-fers, you can buy one at half price, or as many as you like at half price, unless a limit is stated in print. But lots of people seem not to know that. Many times I've heard people say to their spouse or kid, "No, we don't need 5 cans of..." (whatever it is that's advertised as 5 for $3, as an example). Could be, I suppose, that it's a mom's way of refusing her kid's request without being nagged about it.

                            1. I don't think it's allowed here, because grocers will have '2 for $5' signs but in small print you can always get 1 item for $2.50. I've only seen some small independent green grocers do '1.99 for 1 / 2.99 for 2' type pricing, where there's some incentive to buy more. When I want a lot of variety I just grab what I want, their prices are so low anyway. I've had them act a bit annoyed at this, or, combine different items of the same price so I still get the deal (these are small family businesses so they can make up the rules as they go).

                              1. Here in CT, the industry practice is you pay full price for one and get the second free. Cashiers often remind customers that an item is BOGO and suggest they get the 'forgotten' free item. Two weeks ago I needed one box of pasta for a dish I was making, and as Passover was coming fast I didn't want a free second box, that I's have to dispose of anyway. So, when the cashoer reminded me that I should take the 'free' 2nd box, I declined. The 'smart' cashier said: 'Mr. B you may not want or need it, but take it and put it in the food drive carton by the exit door.' What a great idea.

                                As a second point we have a local chain (4 stores) Stew Leaonard's. I won't shop there for many reasons. When they have a sale $2 for $5 you must buy 2 to get the sale price, one will ring at the non sale price.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Won't shop at Stew Leonards? I know they are generally pricey, but sometimes they have some great sale items.
                                  Their family quibbling and tax concerns are none of my business.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    As a CT taxpayer, their stealing sales tax collected from shoppers is definitely my business. Not only did the shortfall have to be made up from other taxpayers over the years, but the taxpayers bore the cost of investigation, prosecution and incarceration. I'll not reward their dishonets behavior with my dollars..............

                                    The family can quibble all it wants, that's not my concern.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      Stew L. paid his dues, he served hard time then became a spokesman for the IRS preaching about the evils of not paying taxes. Is the Government any better??

                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                        I never spoke about IRS, I posted about what he stole from CT taxpayers. I'll not reward his dishonesty with my shopping dollars.

                                2. Time for a history lesson from one of the older ones.

                                  Here's why retailers often use BOGO instead of a half price sale,.........

                                  For those of you old enough to remember when Richard Nixon was President.

                                  On August 15, 1971, Nixon imposed emergency wage and price freezes on the American economy. Businesses that had items on sale that week (and had planned this to be a limited duration sale) were stuck selling those items at the sale price for the forseeable future (until price controls were lifted. At that time our family owned 15 clothing stores. We always held a preseason snowsuit sale mid August with prices just above our cost. The snowsuit sale brought people in, but they generally would buy full priced bact to school clothing while in the stores.

                                  Ever since then, my father was reluctant to run sales, as opposed to BOGO and other promotions that maintained the retail price but gave the customer more for their dollars. He calculated that the Nixon price controls that were imposed without notice cost our family more than Four Hundred Thousand (1971) Dollars.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    That's an interesting bit of history (I'm an old guy too and remember Nixon's price freeze). But I'm curious about a couple of things:

                                    - Just because something is listed as a BOGO and not a 2 for X, did that then or would it now provide "exemption" from the price control?

                                    - Are you suggesting that stores today do BOGOs with the thought that it would help them if price controls were suddenly imposed, or just out of habit, or what? Actually that leads to the broader question of why do both anyway -- what is the consumer psychology behind having both approaches going on simultaneously in the same store?

                                    1. re: johnb

                                      "because something is listed as a BOGO and not a 2 for X, did that then or would it now provide "exemption" from the price control?"

                                      No need for an exemption, that box of cereal selling for $2.99 didn't have its price changed when the BOGO promotion occurred, the buyer simply rec'd a gift with purchase. If instead the cereal was on sale at $1.50 that August 15th when the price controls took effect without notice the store had to continue selling it at $1.50 until price controls were lifted, or sell out and not restock the same item.

                                      "- Are you suggesting that stores today do BOGOs with the thought that it would help them if price controls were suddenly imposed, or just out of habit, or what? Actually that leads to the broader question of why do both anyway"

                                      This may be ingrained in some old time retailers' heads. Until the day my father retired from the retail business (owning 15 clothing stores) he preferred to have promotions such as BOGO, 30% off with coupon, gift with purchase, rather than chance getting caught with a temporary sale price being fixed by the government for an extended period of time.
                                      as to why do both? simply put: customer appeasement. If the store manager/owner figures he will only bring in $1.50 for each box of cereal during a BOGO promotion he may decide it's easier to appease a complaining customer by accepting $1.50 for a single box purchase than have a disgruntled customer (for no legitimate reason) speak ill of the store or start shopping elsewhere.

                                      Years ago, we often priced items $1.59 each 2/$3. Customer saved 18 cents if they bought 2. If they bought 3 we charged $4.50. Some stores would charge $4.59 (such as the store I posted about downthread). Our attitude, why would we penalize a customer for buying more than the minimum sale quantity? I find it very annoying when chains such as Shop-Rite (Metro NY/NJ/CT advertize in their flyers 4 for $5 lesser or greater quantities are rung at the non-sale price. Lesser>OK Greater>hell no, don't penalize me for spending more. If they want to limit their exposure on a sale item, then just post the item "Limit 1 deal"