Monday, 13 May 2013

Costly Asssumptions!

Have you noticed that things aren't always what you expect, especially when shopping? We enter a store with certain expectations about the way things should be, based more on what makes sense to us than what actually is and that can end up costing us. The following are some of the assumptions I've made in the past and now want to share so others can avoid them.

Bins at the entrance of the store.  Just like the large stacks of 'featured products' at the entrance of some stores, other stores have bins at the entrance just piled high with goods. Because of this and the way everything is just sort of tossed into the bins, they're often thought to contain on-sale or discounted products. On top of that, just to confuse things even more, sometimes these items actually are discounted, but for the most part they're just regular priced items. Comparing these items with similar products is key to determining the difference between the good and not-so-good buys. Interesting little side note. There is no need to pick up these items when entering the store because, in most cases, they can be found on the shelves with similar products which makes comparing content and price much easier.

Items on the end caps of shelves. This can be a real tricky one. Quite often the merchandise advertised for sale in the weekly flyers is placed on these end caps to make it easy for shoppers to grab as they walk by. Because these are the featured items they're often assumed to be the best deal; but if you compare with products further down the aisle you can often find a better buy. Another false assumption here is that having seen many of the featured items there, it is then assumed that all goods placed there are sale items. Not so. It's not unusual for the retailer to use the location to increase exposure of regular priced items that aren't selling well in order to remove them from inventory. Or else, this spot may be requested by manufacturers for the same reason, again at the regular price, so obviously no savings there. Checking and comparing all end-cap products carefully can lead to substantial savings.

Brand name items. Brand name products generally come in bright, attractive packages which makes them stand out from generic or store brands. This not only catches the eye, making them first pick, but it's often thought that brand name products are better quality. This is another false assumption. Consumer groups have found that most generic or store brands are just as tasty and nutritious as the name brands. They may actually be the same thing, just packaged differently. If it's found, by comparing nutrition and content information, that there is no difference, then why pay more just for the glitz and label?

Store Pricing. Until we've been proven wrong, we tend to believe that store prices follow a pattern that makes sense. We assume that buying in bulk gets you the best price or that purchasing the largest size of any product has to be the most economical way to buy. That isn't necessarily true. Surprisingly, it is often more cost effective to buy two smaller sizes of the product. This is especially true of cleaning supplies and detergents, but also of a great many other items - yogurt, for instance - found in almost every department throughout the store. Only comparing products will show which size is actually the better buy.

Here is a perfect example of 'doesn't make sense' pricing:
18-PACK EGGS. In our area, at this time, the regular price for the 18-pack of eggs is $3.89 or 22 cents per egg. At the same time, the 12-pack sells for $2.17 or 18 cents per egg. Absolutely no difference in egg size or quality, yet the larger pack cost four cents more per egg, which would work out to almost fifty cents more per dozen. Definitely doesn't make sense.

Being careful not to take our assumptions shopping or to take anything for granted can go a long way to stretching the grocery dollar. 

1 comment :

  1. Good tip on the eggs! I have never checked the per egg price and now will no longer be purchasing the 18-pack!


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