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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Thursday December 15, 2005
07:01 PM

I love the sound of the reducing gun

[ #28013 ]

In the supermarket today, they had 2 packs of smoked bacon reduced. "I'll 'ave ee", I thought, because I can't resist a bargain. Then I stopped, and worked out that I'm buying bacon reduced and freezing it faster than I consume it. So it seemed a bit daft, and I elected to leave it on the shelf. Then I got round to the area where they promote the special offers. They had smoked bacon bearing happy yellow "buy one, get one free" stickers. I like those stickers as much as I like the reduced labels. And then I started to think...

The way the supermarket checkouts are usually programmed to do the "buy n get x off" offers is that each item is rung through at marked price, and when the nth item passes through the correct discount is then added as a negative line item. This works really well if you can nab n items with reduced labels on, because they ring through at the reduced price, and then the full discount comes off. So I wondered if the BOGOF was programmed in the same way. I went back and retrieved the two reduced bacon packs, neither of which had the happy yellow BOGOF stickers. But they were the same product as the BOGOF marked packs, so it looked promising. More curiously, the terms and conditions for the BOGOF were there, and explicitly stated that the BOGOF included reduced and otherwise marked down items. Odd - they don't normally say that.

So I took my basket to the till, and lo, happiness, two packs of bacon go through at £1.18 each, then -£1.18 is added. OK - I didn't win big time by getting the pre-reduction price knocked off, but it did all seem to work. More curious was that the price was reduced from £1.56 to £1.18, yet the area with the BOGOF promotion has a pack priced at >£2. (Well, or 2 for >£2, if you see). So they are manipulating the price prior to this offer, it seems.

Not that I cared. They still have the 10 packs of Kronenborg 1664 for £4.99. So I bought another one. I'm building this pile of them in my kitchen - should last me for months. :-)

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  • On this side of the pond the "buy N for $m" is often implemented in the cash registers by just setting the price to $m/N.

    Of course it still works because usually I don't want to find out if they did it with this particular item / in this particular store / etc so I'll get N items.

      - ask

    -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

  • Our local Sainsbury's isn't very bright. You can usually combine a BOGOF and a reduction. Normal price £2 + BOGOF, so you can get two for (2 x 2) - 2 = £2. If they have a reduction to say £1, it comes in as (2 x 1) - 2 = 0. We regularly get stuff for pennies that should cost pounds. Having said that Saonsbury's lost millions in a botched SAP implementation...

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • Which suggests that this Somerfield is getting bright (or at least its tills are). What I notice on the receipt is that the two BOGOFs (bacon and cheese) are done as negative line items at the end of the receipt, whereas the "buy 2 for £3" (in effect a fixed discount) is done as a negative line item immediately below the second. So it seems that they've managed to program the till to do BOGOFs as "refund actual purchase price of second item", rather than a standard "buy 2 get £n off." Shame.

  • Tesco once paid me to take some bread away: they had an offer along the lines of Get 50p off the rest of your shopping when you buy this bread and the check-out computer continued to apply this even after the bread had been reduced to less than 50p!

    But I've also been ripped off by this sort of thing. Morrison's had something at £1·99 each or 2 for £2·50, so naturally I bought 2 of them. But they'd also been reduced (short date) from £1·99 to £1