Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quick Rant: Discriminatory Supermarket Pricing

I would probably have passed this up but according to the news report linked below I see that it appears some stores in Dallas, Texas also pull this "enhanced” customer pricing stunt.

Avanza: Supermarket Chain Adds 10% At Register, But Only In Some Stores – The Consumerist.

9 questions with Nash Finch Co. –

Here’s how I imagine and have completely and satirically re-fabricated the interview had we been able to set up a packet-sniffer or run it as a SNL parody.

Question 1: Why does Nash Finch charge shoppers at Avanza, Food Bonanza and Wholesale Food Outlets an extra 10 percent at the register?

Answer: Because we have the cajones to do it and get away with it.

Question 2: Do you charge that fee at any other stores and why just those stores?

Answer: Nope.  Just where we can take advantage of folks who are able to fall for our confunding, obfuscation, and fuzzing techniques of check-out register markups.

Question 3: When did you start charging that fee and in which stores did you begin the new program?

Answer:  After a rocking party where we brainstormed and figured out no one (our select and valued customer populace in those markets) would complain or figure it out.

Question 4: We are going to report that those stores, which cater mostly to the Hispanic population, are charged the extra 10 percent at the register, whereas that is not done in your other stores that do not cater to Hispanics. What is your response to this?

Answer: Go head. Make my day.

Question 5: Your flyers and circulars say “A great way to save – plus 10 percent at the register.” Shoppers we spoke with interpret that as they would SAVE an extra 10 percent at the register. Therefore, are your flyers misleading shoppers?

Answer: No – that’s clearly what they mean based upon our survey of company executives and marketing specialists. What our consumers think is false and irrelevant.

Question 6: Do you advertise that extra fee in any other way (other than your flyers and circulars)?

Answer: Absolutely.  We also put the information in mouseprint, carefully worded in Ukrainian. The 10 percent added at the register is thus not a hidden charge or extra fee..its a way of telling our customers just how much we value them, were they instead to to be (hypothetically) Ukrainian immigrants.

Question 7: Eight shoppers we spoke with did not notice that they were charged the extra 10 percent until we showed them the line-item on their receipts. Is your company hoping that most shoppers don’t notice that extra fee?

Answer: Eight? Really?  Darn it!  Got to work harder at getting that number down more.

Question 8: How many complaints have you received about charging 10 percent extra?

Answer: None.  Seems the only people who are whining about this are consumer-rights advocates.  Those few customers who have figured this out have indicated they are so impressed with this bonus level of service, that for now on they are going to be  shopping at other competitive grocery stores to see if they find ones that are lacking our personal concept of consumer value and corporate integrity and…hey…wait a minute!

Question 9: Wouldn’t it be more honest/up front to just add 10 percent to the price of all of the products—so that people can see the actual price on the shelf and on the sticker?

Answer: Absolutely not!  In fact based on the feedback we have been receiving over this issue, we are about to implement a new program.  All goods in our stores will now be marked as “Free” and will only charge a per-item “Checking and Bagging” fee based on a 110% markup of the MSRP.  We dare anyone to beat our shelf-prices now!


Our local grocery store chain offers those “self-service” checkout lanes where you scan-n-bag all your items.  Lavie and Alvis love ‘em.

However, on principle, I make it a point to go to the manned/womanned checkout lanes.  Way I figure it, I’m not getting any discount for doing their work for them.  So to get the full embedded product sale value of what I’m paying for I want the company labor to assist me, even if it means a longer wait.  Now if they would knock of even 2-5% from my final register bill for doing all the checkout work myself, well then.  I’d be first in those self-service checkout lines….


1 comment:

Therion Ravenwing said...

Man... that would've been a killer SNL skit, I just cold stop laughing at answers #1 and #4 :D
Here in Peru in the town where I live, people mostly go to old-fashioned markets and ma and pa stores, so we don't have to worry much about extra charges. We have had overpricing problems in some of the supermarket chains in the big cities, but consumers and the press have a tendency to make a big fuzz about it for a month and then forget the whole thing until the next time it happens. I think the best solution is going to a different store and then telling it to your friends, family and the Internet. Nothing beats word of mouth.