Supermarket shopping abnormalities

Jul 18, 2017
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Like many people I do the shopping Online and use Morrisons and Sainsburys. One thing about shopping Online it is a lot easier to compare prices of the same item that is if they are the identical size etc.

I have noticed for instance Fairy dishwasher comes in so many different sizes at one shop and the other totally different sizes again. For instance Morrisons may have a 980ml at £2 and Sainsburys will have 970ml at £2 or vice versa. The other thing I have notice is that for the same item in different sizes they will have the breakdown price per litre for a number of items and then it changes to the breakdown price per100ml making it difficult to calculate the cost per litre. Also a pack of 6 bars of soap works out more expensive per 100gm than the 4 pack.

Surely it must cost the manufacturer a fortune to have the machinery to cater for all the different size bottles or packets? Why can't they all standardise at for instance 500ml, 750ml, 1 litre etc? I know the extra cost is pushed onto the consumer, but it is an unnecessary cost.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Like many people I do the shopping Online and use Morrisons and Sainsburys. One thing about shopping Online it is a lot easier to compare prices of the same item that is if they are the identical size etc.

I have noticed for instance Fairy dishwasher comes in so many different sizes at one shop and the other totally different sizes again. For instance Morrisoons may have a 980ml at £2 and Sainsburys will have 970ml at £2 or vice versa. The other thing I have notice is that for the same item in different sizes they will have the breakdown price per litre for a number of items and then it changes to the breakdown price per100ml making it difficult to calculate the cost per litre. Also a pack of 6 bars of soap works out more expensive per 100gm than the 4 pack.

Surely it must cost the manufacturer a fortune to have the machinery to cater for all the different size bottles or packets? Why can't they all standardise at for instance 500ml, 750ml, 1 litre etc? I know the extra cost is pushed onto the consumer, but it is an unncessary cost.
It’s not really something I take any notice of, but fortunately wine comes in standardised bottles and increasingly beer and cider too. What I did find frustrating back in the far off days when we shopped, is that when buying fresh foodstuffs in supermarkets some packs of fruit or vegetables will show price per pack and no weight, whereas if you buy unpacked it may show price per kg. So comparing two lots of say Jazz apples is impossible unless you carry your own scales.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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It’s deliberate. It’s not in the retailers interest to standardise because comparisons become far too easy. By creating smoke and mirrors they can try to baffle shoppers and try to create the belief that they are the cheapest. We are guilty of not shopping around for groceries. Just stick with Tesco’. Not suggesting they are the best, but it suits us.

We are currently in the market for a new American fridge freezer. The present one (LG) still works well after 20 years but looks tired and can’t go on forever. Shopping for the cheapest is nice and easy on-line. But trying to get info on what advantages one might have over another is impossible, even comparing capacity as some show net and some gross, even in the same make. Looking at some it’s impossible to see any difference between £1,200 models and £1600. Of the same brand. Only the model numbers are different. None do a side by side comparison of specifications.

John
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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It’s deliberate. It’s not in the retailers interest to standardise because comparisons become far too easy. By creating smoke and mirrors they can try to baffle shoppers and try to create the belief that they are the cheapest. We are guilty of not shopping around for groceries. Just stick with Tesco’. Not suggesting they are the best, but it suits us.

We are currently in the market for a new American fridge freezer. The present one (LG) still works well after 20 years but looks tired and can’t go on forever. Shopping for the cheapest is nice and easy on-line. But trying to get info on what advantages one might have over another is impossible, even comparing capacity as some show net and some gross, even in the same make. Looking at some it’s impossible to see any difference between £1,200 models and £1600. Of the same brand. Only the model numbers are different. None do a side by side comparison of specifications.

John
Have you looked at the Samsung RS68N8240B1 as it has a very good review.
Pros
  • Chills and freezes rapidly
  • Unaffected by changing room temperatures
  • Reliable thermostat setting
  • Very efficient
  • Flame-retardant backing
Cons
  • Pricey
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It’s deliberate. It’s not in the retailers interest to standardise because comparisons become far too easy. By creating smoke and mirrors they can try to baffle shoppers and try to create the belief that they are the cheapest. We are guilty of not shopping around for groceries. Just stick with Tesco’. Not suggesting they are the best, but it suits us.

We are currently in the market for a new American fridge freezer. The present one (LG) still works well after 20 years but looks tired and can’t go on forever. Shopping for the cheapest is nice and easy on-line. But trying to get info on what advantages one might have over another is impossible, even comparing capacity as some show net and some gross, even in the same make. Looking at some it’s impossible to see any difference between £1,200 models and £1600. Of the same brand. Only the model numbers are different. None do a side by side comparison of specifications.

John
We are having similar problems with kitchen hardware. We are putting new kitchens in our house and our daughters. But the range of outlets available to actually view appliances is now quite limited. Our daughter is getting rid of her Samsung American fridge freezer at two years old for built in appliances. We will sell our large range and go for a free standing cooker but cannot find anywhere to view the AEG one that we like.
 
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We looked at reviews on the Which website and then went ahead and bought a new Miele washing machine.
However my OP was more in reference to various sizes of the same product however even in the appliance industry they change maybe one or two digits and the name and sell it to the unsuspecting consumer.
 
May 7, 2012
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Before lockdown we regularly ran our shopping list through My Supermarket and worked out the best way of getting what we wanted. We have all the major supermarkets within easy range and would be quite prepared to use two or sometimes three to get what we wanted. Unfortunately that site has now gone and we have found checking prices far more difficult and with Covid using more than one is far less attractive although we still look for the best one.
There are problems with different shops selling the same products in different sized packets to confuse us, but this also idea applies to a of other things. Look at the electrical retailers websites and you will find that they tend to have what they call exclusive products. Check the details against the next site and you will find what looks like an identical one there. The exclusive bit is normally a bit of trim and nothing that most would worry about when purchasing.
The idea of pricing in 100 grams or variations does not bother me they only change the decimal point so the conversion is simple. Selling fruit and veg by weight for some and numbers by others is another trick to confuse. I simply find the scales and weigh a bag to see what it weighs so that a know what the numbers weigh and can compare. You will find it works both ways as sometimes the bag sold by number is cheaper than those sold by weight and sometimes the other way round.
Retailers know every trick in the book, and you just have to be aware and try and beat them at their own game, but it is difficult.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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We looked at reviews on the Which website and then went ahead and bought a new Miele washing machine.
However my OP was more in reference to various sizes of the same product however even in the appliance industry they change maybe one or two digits and the name and sell it to the unsuspecting consumer.
That’s why on various types of appliance you will never get a price match from somewhere like Curry’s. As they are such a large purchaser that the makers give the Curry’s product a slightly different and unique product model number.
 
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That’s why on various types of appliance you will never get a price match from somewhere like Curry’s. As they are such a large purchaser that the makers give the Curry’s product a slightly different and unique product model number.

I think there is less of that happening than there used to be. Not sure, but I think there may have been some legislation to stop it. (Just found it, it’s advertising guidance from 2013). When we look at a particular model, it’s the same from all retailers. And usually the same price. The issue for me is in comparing model features.

We are having similar problems with kitchen hardware. We are putting new kitchens in our house and our daughters. But the range of outlets available to actually view appliances is now quite limited. Our daughter is getting rid of her Samsung American fridge freezer at two years old for built in appliances. We will sell our large range and go for a free standing cooker but cannot find anywhere to view the AEG one that we like.

We recently bought a new double built in oven. Same issues trying to do research but ended up shortlisting an AEG and a NEFF. I had a few unanswered questions on both of them so callEd their help lines. The AEG person was uninformed, unhelpful and could not be bothered, The NEFF person was the total opposite, we bought the NEFF.

John
 

JTQ

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The other thing I have notice is that for the same item in different sizes they will have the breakdown price per litre for a number of items and then it changes to the breakdown price per100ml making it difficult to calculate the cost per litre.

Surely that example is not that difficult a calculation?
 
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I think there is less of that happening than there used to be. Not sure, but I think there may have been some legislation to stop it. (Just found it, it’s advertising guidance from 2013). When we look at a particular model, it’s the same from all retailers. And usually the same price. The issue for me is in comparing model features.



We recently bought a new double built in oven. Same issues trying to do research but ended up shortlisting an AEG and a NEFF. I had a few unanswered questions on both of them so callEd their help lines. The AEG person was uninformed, unhelpful and could not be bothered, The NEFF person was the total opposite, we bought the NEFF.

John
When we bought a new LG tv last autumn we could not find anywhere on line a model the exact equivalent of the Curry’s model number. But looking at the detailed specifications there were LG ones out there with identical specifications although obviously there are areas that you cannot drill down into.

Thanks for the info on cookers but we are favouring a freestanding one as ergonomically it integrates better into our “ triangle of activity”. But our daughter fancies form over function and has her eyes on a Neff. Guess it’s her inheritance going early.
 

JTQ

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Not reaaly if you are comparing 1 litre etc. Gets complicated when the volume of the bottle is an odd size i.e. 1090ml or 635ml.

But are you not primarily interested in the price for a unique quantity be that a litre or 100ml, irrespective of the packaging size?

Telling you how much a standard amount costs, is the whole purpose of quoting for a standard amount, irrespective of the packaging quantity offered.
With the differing standards as you quoted, litres and 100ml, it is just shutting the decimal point one place, there being 1000ml in a litre.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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But are you not primarily interested in the price for a unique quantity be that a litre or 100ml, irrespective of the packaging size?

Telling you how much a standard amount costs, is the whole purpose of quoting for a standard amount, irrespective of the packaging quantity offered.
With the differing standards as you quoted, litres and 100ml, it is just shutting the decimal point one place, there being 1000ml in a litre.
Yes but why have the same commodity is several different "odd" sizes. Why quote using per litres and then 100ml instead of keeping the comparison price the same across the board?
 
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We brought a Brand New Samsung Smart TV last year we compared notes at Currys PC World , Argos , and Euronics on prices , guarantee and warranty ,
This place was recommended to me we managed to get a good package on the item above it came with 5 years warranty call outs free delivered and setup . we will go back to this place when we need another .
 
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It’s all a marketing tool to make you spend more. Many a time the “Special Offers” are dearer than two smaller ones . And then you have one for the price of two🤪🤪🤪
 
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The price per unit values are done by the supermarket not the product manufacturer, and I have seen the same product from the same manufacturer but in different sized packages with different units used to express value.

I can easily cope with the price per Kilo vs price per 100gms, but I do know some people who cannot. But I remember being "gobsmacked" to see two sizes of a powdered product from the same manufacturer (And I wish I could remember which it was, and where I saw it) where one pack was valued by £/kilo and the second pack £/Litre .... Figure that one out.

Like Buckman, I feel the same consistent criteria should used to express the value of the product across all sizes.

But there is another problem that can complicate the matter quite a lot, and that relates to special offers. For example, We frequently see special offers for products such as a pack of cheese for £2 each or two packs for £3.50, and the price per unit value only appears once on the shelf label with no indication of whether its the single item or the special offer item. I have seen inconsistencies in this respect where sometimes they show the value for the single pack and sometimes the value for the special offer.

What is worse is now some supermarkets are offering a lower price if you use a loyalty card, and again the value statement might relate to the loyalty card price giving the impression to non loyalty card shopper the goods might be better value than they actually.

You have to have your wits about you shopping these days.
 

JTQ

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You have to have your wits about you shopping these days.

At my age that is great for my grey cells and in part takes the boredom out of something so mundane as the regular "shop".
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In all honesty I don't share the confusion that others seem to find here. Maybe a life of doing technical things so frequently involving mental arithmetic in initially assessing things and conversions between units of measure.

I can also well understand manufacturers making differing sizes, not everyone wanting a family bottle of washing up liquid, or tube of tooth paste for examples, we even buy the smaller of both for the caravan.

There is also on other things now the trend to drop the quantity, either to save ourselves from the calories, or to be able to hold a more acceptable selling price, even making special lines for 99 p shops etc.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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At my age that is great for my grey cells and in part takes the boredom out of something so mundane as the regular "shop".
----------------------------------------------------------------------

In all honesty I don't share the confusion that others seem to find here. Maybe a life of doing technical things so frequently involving mental arithmetic in initially assessing things and conversions between units of measure.

I can also well understand manufacturers making differing sizes, not everyone wanting a family bottle of washing up liquid, or tube of tooth paste for examples, we even buy the smaller of both for the caravan.

There is also on other things now the trend to drop the quantity, either to save ourselves from the calories, or to be able to hold a more acceptable selling price, even making special lines for 99 p shops etc.
Calories per unit can be a nightmare. Often quoted per 100 gms or millilitre. Yet the pack may be 175 gms. Or per serving? What’s the serving quantity? For my current lockdown downsizing I’m using a combination of Huel at 200 cal per scoop breakfast and lunch, aided by Parsley Box meals or Sainsbury Jerk Chicken. Dead easy to stay under 1000 calories for two consecutive days. No fancy menus to require shopping and lots of small items to cook. Minimal calculations too. All done whilst abiding by the plea to “ stay at home”. And it’s working too.
 
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Superdrug Deep Heat Rub 35g £1.99 buy 1 get 2nd 1/2 priced on selected Mentholatum
Wilko Deep Heat Rub 35g £2.50
Bargain Madness Deep Heat Rub 35g £1.59
 
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The catch is when the seller gives items as, say, pence per 100g, but if the item is on offer is the pp100g based on the offer price or on the original price? I know one green supermarket that is notorious (round our way at least) for crossing these units!
 
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The suppliers are also trying to offer each supermarket a promotion without giving say Tesco the same as Asda,they are under pressure from the retailers as none of them want a competitor to have a promotion to themselves, hence tailored promotions to individual retailers, they will also make specific packs that are price sensitive for retailers such as Poundland, Also some products will be flashed at £1 price point and in one store will be 6 in a pack, in another store 5 in a pack. Then there are the short life products where a manufacturer finds products in there warehouse with a shorter shelf life left, if the shelf life runs out they won't be able to sell the product at all, so they offload at reduced prices to the retailers who are capable of buying containerloads at a time. All part of modern retailing and needs the consumer to be very savvy.
 
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I can also well understand manufacturers making differing sizes, not everyone wanting a family bottle of washing up liquid, or tube of tooth paste for examples, we even buy the smaller of both for the caravan.
But why a difference of 90ml or 10gms depending on product? I can understand a bottle being 500ml, 750ml, 1litre etc but to rack it up by odd amounts is very strange.
Another example is Coca Cola being sold in 1 litre, 1.25l, 1.5l or the more common 2l. We also got caught many years ago when visiting ASDA amd seeing Coca Cola at £1.25 when the general price was £1.50 so we bought. Just before going to check out for some reason I looked more closely at the bottle and realised it was 1.5l so more expensive than the 2l at £1.50. Needless to say it went back onto the shelf.
Another trick is to have a price under goods and the tag is yellow indicating it is a special. On going through check out it is priced at a higher price. You object and then you and a staff member go to find the tag on the shelf. Then told the tag is incorrect but they will honour the price. I wonder how many other suckers who do not check they receipts the supermarket caught out with the high price?
 
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All the aforementioned are examples of how the supermarket and manufacturer manipulate their very tight profit margins. And they are all doing very well. Most of the so called special offers are underwritten by the manufacturer. The old jokes about wagon wheels and Mars bars are true. A gram here and a gram there knocked off adds to the profit. That explains Buckman’s point on strange weights and volumes.
 
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All the aforementioned are examples of how the supermarket and manufacturer manipulate their very tight profit margins. And they are all doing very well. Most of the so called special offers are underwritten by the manufacturer. The old jokes about wagon wheels and Mars bars are true. A gram here and a gram there knocked off adds to the profit. That explains Buckman’s point on strange weights and volumes.
Wasn't there any issue with Toblerone where they reduced the size, but increased the price. Also I think a washing powder did similar with same size box with less contents at a slightly lower price which worked out more expensive than the original size with more content.
 

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