Mundane shit (I): size matters

And no: its not what you think. But we’ll get to that later.

Many of you, i think, would despair of me when supermarket-shopping – which is a whole different kettle of fish from clothes shopping. I know the price of everything and…well, that’s about it. I know the price of everything.

And what i don’t remember, i usually work out.

I know when Kit-e-Kat is on sale at a knock-down price: and i know when not to buy (that’s recently, when the price of a can crossed the 50p threshold). I even, in a brief obsessive fit managed to work out whether our cat was getting better value out of 6 cans of Gourmet for £3.20 – or seven of sheba for £3.00.

Ah: the joys of price comparisonning!

Sadly, though, the supermarkets are helping us shoppers along in these recessionary times by doing all in their power to trick us. One such trick is to keep the price where it is – or even lower it slightly – whilst simultaneously reducing the can size.

Sometimes that feels like a good idea. Most tuna now comes as 180 g cans – which is a serious cut against previous, when it was a 230g can (and always slightly too much for one lunch, but not enough for two….).

Did you notice that one? Its one reason why their “special offers” often feature four cans rather than three, as of old.

And back on the cat food: Whiskas sold singly comes in 400g cans: but often 390g if you buy the six pack. Sheesh! Have these people nothing better to do with their time?

And now the latest indignity. I am quite over-stocked on coffee. That’s because i like decent quality instant – and i absolutely refuse to pay in excess of £3 per 100 g, which is what some jars have been costing lately.

Instead, i only buy special offers when i can get the price down to £2 or below – and then i buy loads.

And this week, joy! One manufacturer (?) of coffee has dropped to close to £1.50 per 100 g.

Or have they?

Not quite. Their offer is good: £3.12 for a jar: except the jar is now 190 g as opposed to the 200g of previous.

Huh! andrea looked it over this afternoon. Yep: it really IS smaller. Which means they have re-tooled their lines, re-orered jars; done whatever a coffee company does in order to gain a measly 5% of coffee jar.

ANd i am guessing the special offer is to get us used to buying the slightly smaller jar so we don’t notice when the price goes back up (and the size doesn’t!).

Honestly. Haven’t they got anything better to do with their time. Like, er, go bargain hunting at their local supermarket?

I am truly shocked.

jane
xx

6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kerri ( Australia) said,

    have the same thing happening here jane, they even try and trick you by slanting the bottom of the can so visually it looks the same but underneath its changed shape so you get less,,we have shop called aldi its much cheaper than woolworths, you carnt get everything but canned food is half the price, imported brands mainly…is your meat prices still expensive as ours have now become ridiculous,,quality in supermarket meat is crap too..back to local butcher…..)

    • 2

      Sabine said,

      Aldi is a German discount supermarket chain – we’ve had it for ages.

      They sell only a limited selection and shave costs wherever they can, like just wheeling the stuff in on pallets to waste no money on decorations and unpacking, no-name or house brand items and driving very hard bargains from their suppliers.

      Whatever they sell is of good quality and they pay and treat their staff reasonably well, not like some of our other discount supermarkets so their reputation is good.

  2. 3

    Tricia Ward said,

    add these to your list: Innocent smoothies in new (misleadingly skinny) carton of 750ml, a 25% reduction for the same price and Heinz Farmers Market soup range now down to 400gm but still in a tall (but now skinny) can and at the old price too. Another 25% reduction and soo misleading. Keep your eyes open – there will be more!

  3. 4

    I’ve learned to look closely at the small print on the shelf-front price labels, which often have a “price per 100g” statement hidden away underneath the individual item price, which makes comparison easier…

  4. 5

    Shirley Anne said,

    Kerri, we have Aldi here too but their range of goods tends to be limited. It makes you wonder though just how much profit the larger supermarkets must be making when stores like Aldi can still make a profit even though they are selling more cheaply. Some would argue though that the food at Aldi is of a lesser quality but I suppose it is a matter of taste. All in all I think the supermarkets do rip us off if we are not careful, especially as Jane has pointed out what goes on with ‘special offers’. Special for who?

    Shirley Anne xxx

    • 6

      Sabine said,

      Just remembered this from Economics 101 at U.

      The typical supermarket makes between 1% and 2% profit on their turnover – Aldi makes 6%. Getting proper numbers is somewhat hard as the management (it’s actually a family business) keep their books as tightly closed as possible and keep the company officially rather small so as to avoid the financial reporting duties of corporations.

      Economy 101 textbook case. Led by entrepreneurs instead of hireling managers.


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