The latest inflation figures showed that food prices are rising – along with petrol. This is no surprise to Money Fight Club. Part of our job is to monitor the tricks being played on us, every single week, by the supermarkets.
A batch of supermarket vouchers currently doing rounds demonstrate the latest wheeze that’s designed to get us to spend more.
At the till, when paying for my last weekly shop, I received a voucher that promised me five times as many points if I spent £60 or more in the following week. In other words, if I spent £20 more than I usually do I would get 300 points – points that are worth £1.50 in total (if I redeem them in store).
The same day, in the post, my son (not the world’s most frequent food shopper) got vouchers for the same store that would give him 590 points worth £2.95 if he spent £10.95 on items that we regularly buy. His voucher needed to be spent before August 11.
The two offers show the difference between the treatment of loyal customers who use the store every week and those who make rarer appearances.
It makes you think…
‘Big Brother’ supermarket vouchers
My son’s card only gets used by our family when he gets worthwhile offers. I’m not sure the £2.95 will be enough to encourage us to buy the items stipulated before we actually need to, but the offer itself certainly had a whiff of Big Brother about it.
Every item his voucher stipulated had been bought by us recently. Fresh noodles, a single pomegranate, basil, oven chips, frozen peas, delicate handwash liquid and part-bake baguettes.
When I next did a normal shop I fell far short of the £60 required to trigger the vouchersI had received at the till. None of the items on my son’s voucherwere needed either.
But when I got to the till I was handed a voucher £3.51 to use before July 3.
This was part of the store’s ‘brand match’, where it promises to undercut its rivals on branded goods. I had only spent £18.50 on branded goods, so that meant the store was charging almost 20% more for its branded goods than rivals. And I couldn’t actually benefit from the brand match without going back and shopping with them again!
The lessons from last week’s bundle of vouchers are as confused as the pricing policies that sees prices for regular items being inflated and reduced like yo-yos, so catching us out when we run out of staples.
If the store cut out the vouchers and charged fair prices we all might begin to enjoy the weekly shop again.
It’s enough to make you spit tacks.