Don’t be Fooled by Bargain Deals at the Grocery Store

July 29, 2011

We all like a good bargain, especially in these tough economic times, but don’t be fooled into buying more than you need by so called “special pricing.” When you’re grocery shopping you see them all the time. Those little signs that say “two for $4” or “two for the price of one.” Sounds like a great deal if you buy two, right? Not so fast. This is an old advertising trick to get you to buy more product. Buying more doesn’t really save you more money per item.

It’s a given that grocery stores want to encourage people to buy more than one of every item in order to increase sales and profits. When you see “bargain” advertising for what seems to be a special price if you buy more than one, you’re probably tempted to do just that– buy more, even if you don’t really want two of the same item, or three of them, or whatever the sign indicates. That can result in buying unneeded extra items that may go to waste, but at least you’re saving money, right?

Well, not exactly. More likely than not, if something is advertised as “two for $3,” and you decide to buy just one, the cash register will ring up $1.50, exactly half of the “special” price. You really didn’t need to buy that extra unneeded item. Try it sometime, and you will see that “two for . . .” sales in grocery stores are nothing more than a way to encourage you to buy more than you otherwise might. So just buy what you need, knowing that the actual price is just half of the “two for . . . ” special.

There have, on the other hand, been some stories of pricing scams that truly are completely misleading. Some stores might advertise an item as “$3 -or- two for $5,” indicating that there is truly a dollar savings if you buy two instead of one. Yet, if you do just buy one, the register rings it up at $2.50, half of the “two for $5” price, instead of the misleading $3 advertised price. If you see such a practice at a store, call it to the manager’s attention that their signs are deceptive.

The moral is, when grocery shopping, don’t be fooled by signs indicating that if you buy more than one you will save money. It may well turn out that you’re falling for a marketing scheme to get you to buy more than you actually need.