The Great Hidden Supermarket Scam And Common Sense
In Britain, our villages and towns used to have High Streets with butcher’s shops, grocers, greengrocers, bakers, florists, chemists, newsagents etc etc. The High Street was the hub of the community, a place for people to meet and chat and gossip while they shopped. Now, many of our High Streets are either full of empty shops or full of takeaways and charity shops – because the businesses that once made them thrive have been destroyed by the presence of the big supermarkets that lured us away from the High Street with their convenience (EVERYTHING UNDER ONE ROOF!) and their lower prices (HA!) and now we have no option but to shop in the big supermarkets because the little shops have all but disappeared.
The big supermarkets are taking over our lives. They know too much about us. They know what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, what medicines we take, the household goods we buy, what we read and watch and listen to. And that’s not all. Off the top of my head, they do insurance, banking, even funerals and probably many other things that I’m not aware of and can’t be bothered researching. They receive a great portion of our money. Most people do their weekly/fortnightly shop in one of the big supermarkets, spending all of their allocated shopping budget there.
But that isn’t enough for the supermarkets. They have a way of extracting even more money from us, of ROBBING US BLIND, but no one has picked up on it yet because every time the supermarkets are pulled up about it it’s passed off as a ‘mistake’. But it’s happened to me too often (every single week) and in too many supermarkets (every single one of them) for it not to be a carefully executed SCAM. And by ‘scam’ I don’t mean the type of selling techniques some people call scams, such as ‘Product Placement’ or the wafting of enticing smells around the store, or the piping out of soporific music to lull us into buying stuff we don’t need. I mean a proper scam being carried out on a massive scale and raking in an immense side-profit for the supermarkets.
If you’re anything like me (poor!) you’ll be used to shopping cannily and mindfully, aware of the price of everything you put into your trolley, living on bargains, deals and Buy One Get One Frees. Some people shop differently, they can afford to buy what they want to buy without thinking too much about the cost. Some people do both, they buy more or less what they want while keeping one eye on the bargains. Whichever way you shop, however much or however little you have to spend, the supermarkets are taking more from you than you think.
This is how the supermarkets rob us —
Buy One Get One Frees that don’t deduct the price of the free item. A regular occurrence – when you complain they say it was a mistake, the offer hasn’t been added to the ‘system’ yet.
Buy One Get One Frees that aren’t actually included in the offer even though they’re displayed in a way that makes you think they are – placed directly above the offer label – but the exceedingly tiny small print on the BIG offer label doesn’t list that particular variety or flavour, for example Dolmio Pasta Sauces, Buy One Get One Free, includes (and this is the tiny print) Garlic & Mushroom, Tomato & Herby Stuff, Mediterranean Veggie Stuff – but NOT the popular Low Fat Dolmio Sauce that’s prominently displayed above the label. When challenged about it the staff say ‘ You’ve made a mistake, the offer doesn’t include that variety on the label,’ but they know full well most people presume the supermarkets have at least a modicum of honesty and wouldn’t stoop so low as to display an offer label beneath an item that isn’t on offer. WRONG.
Special Offers or Rollback items charged at full price, for instance this week I was robbed of £1.95 when two bags of apples that had been “rolled back” to £1.00 were charged at £1.35 each, and a Tikka Masala ready meal, on offer at £1.00, was charged at its full price of £2.25. That’s £1.95 extra added to the small amount of money I have to spend on shopping. By what amount is someone doing a big family shop conned out of? Again, the staff say, mistake, mistake, the ‘system’ is to blame.
Meal Deals – starter, main, dessert for £5.00 or £10.00. Not deducted, each item charged at full price. I’ve had this happen in Tesco, where, luckily for me, they give you all your money back AND the item – but how many people did they con before and after me? Enough to make the cost of my free meal more than worth it, I bet.
Reduced Items – Most supermarkets have Reduced sections for items almost past their sell-by dates. Don’t grimace, they’re not POISONED – here’s a common sense tip – buy fresh meat, chicken, mince etc (if it’s still within date and it looks perfectly okay – use your COMMON SENSE), freeze it as soon as you get home and you’ll save a bomb. But be aware that if the reduced sticker hasn’t been put on top of the barcode the items are charged at full price.
How many of you throw away your till receipts without even a glance? How many of you wait until you get home, put all your shopping away, make a cuppa to have with your iced bun, before sitting down to have a cursory look? How many of you check your till receipts BEFORE you leave the supermarket?
The supermarkets are fully aware most people don’t check their receipts before they leave the store. That’s how they get away with this scam – they rely on the fact that people don’t check, and if they do check it’s when they’re at home, where, when they notice a discrepancy on the receipt, they think, “Oh, I can’t be bothered going all the way back just for a pound, it’d cost me more in petrol,” and they throw the receipt away and forget all about it.
And if you do check before you leave the store and find you’ve been overcharged, what happens? You go back to the till to tell the cashier but odds are they’ll be in the process of serving (robbing) another customer so you’ll have to wait for them to finish. When they do finish, you explain what’s happened but the cashier can’t rectify it, s/he has to ring for a supervisor who is SOMEWHERE in the store. Five minutes later the supervisor arrives. The cashier explains, wrongly, what your quibble is. You explain. The supervisor asks for the item, you dig through your shopping bags to find it, then the supervisor goes off for a little trek round the store to find the item and prove you’re a liar. While s/he’s gone, the cashier starts to serve the next customer who has enough food in their trolley to feed the five thousand. Five minutes later the supervisor comes back and waits for the cashier to finish cashiering the big trolleyful of food before s/he tells the cashier to do a ‘return’. The cashier doesn’t know how to do a return so the supervisor decides it’s a good time to teach him/her. S/he gets it wrong. They start again. You wonder how long you’d have to serve in prison for assault and battery with a cucumber. Finally, the cashier hands you YOUR pound coin, the pound coin they tried to steal from you, with no apology, just a mumbled ‘It must have been an oversight, a mistake,’ and a look that’s probably defrosted your frozen chips.
All designed to put you off asking for your money back next time it happens.
But was your pound coin worth all the time you had to wait? Was it worth the huffing and puffing and the dirty looks you received from the staff and the customers waiting to be served? Too right it was worth it because apart from the fact that the money was yours, if you add together all the pound coins and fifty pences and twenty pences they’re stealing every single hour of every single day from every single customer that passes through EVERY SINGLE STORE IN BRITAIN, (and abroad), it tots up to a great deal of loot, a huge pot of stolen money that ends up in the pockets of thieving fat-cat supermarket bosses. Your money in their pockets.
COMMON SENSE says check your receipt before you leave the store and when you find you’ve been overcharged make them give you your money back, even if it’s only ten pence. And if you think I’m over-reacting, humour me and keep checking the receipts, week after week, and you’ll soon see how much you’re being conned out of – multiply that by almost everyone in the country and it’ll give you an idea of how much extra they’re dishonestly raking in.
And remember, IT’S NOT A MISTAKE, IT’S A SCAM.