Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reality Check on Aisle Five Please

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

So I'm in the supermarket the other day doing my weekly grocery shopping when I realized that the store is no longer taking "Double Coupons".

Thus ends the fun for me of doing grocery shopping. I am officially retiring today from doing grocery shopping for my family. It was a nice long run, but you have to know when to fold 'em, as they say, and I am way past my shopping prime. I could come back for the senior tour...but I'm weighing my options.

The reason why I want to retire from shopping now is because there is this game that was played when the "Double Coupon" discount was in effect that you would strive to actually get a full cart of groceries without paying a cent or actually get money back.

I had heard of people doing this...but it could be an urban legend. I got real close a couple of times. I got out of the store more than once with a full cart of groceries and paid around five dollars.

This reminded me of another clever promotion my supermarket did last year that I am actually glad I have not seen recently.

My supermarket was having this thing called a "Price Stimulus Reduction Rollback" or something clever like that.

The marketing for this was incredible. All the employees wore these colorful tee shirts. There were huge banners. There were colorful price tags on every, I mean every item, showing how much money you were saving. There was a huge ad campaign. I got fliers at home for this event.

Then I realized that this was just a huge shell game. Two weeks earlier when I was doing the shopping I noticed the pricing on many of the items I was buying had increased. A box of cereal, instead of being $2.50, was now $3.50. Other items were marked up 30-50%. Being the savvy shopper I am...I just took my business to other supermarkets that week.

So this whole rollback price reduction just rolled the pricing back to where it was two weeks earlier.

Here's a note to my supermarket if they are thinking of doing this again: Stop playing games.

If they want to do a real rollback... rollback pricing to where it was before they did their price increases. They can also stop spending money on huge advertising campaigns. I know how much all those shirts, price tags, banners, ad spots, and the people that put all that stuff out costs. It's a minor fortune. You could have taken that money and passed the savings on to the consumer.

Using the bad economy as an excuse for a ponzie scheme is crass and sends the wrong message. Is my supermarket PT Barnum and actually think a sucker is born every minute? It smacks of false advertising when you get right down to it.

And about the dropping of the double coupon program? What distinguishes my regular store from the others now? You just know there is going to be another store picking up the ball and running with the double coupon promotion. And guess where all the double coupon players are going to go when that happens?

I might just have to come out of shopping retirement when that happens.

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