Supermarkets and grocery stores in general are evil beings (actually they are not, but let’s get theatrical). They lure you to buy everything you don’t need, for prices you would normally not pay. They have a whole arsenal of actions and tactics to separate you from your money, and they are ruthless. It’s up to you to fight back!
The best weapon you have at your disposal is knowledge. Knowing how things work and knowing how YOU instinctively respond when faced with these situations will make you a better consumer. This is why it’s important to observe your consumer behavior.
Today I want to talk about the “2/$5 Specials”. It’s not uncommon to find things like this:
Do your homework
Basically, this example means that you will pay $4 for 2 boxes/packages of the same product. It may be a good deal, but you may be falling for a trap (you don’t want to pay full price). How do you know? Knowledge! If it’s something you already buy regularly, you should know how much you usually pay for that, right? If you don’t know, well, you have to start working on your memory or maybe start keeping notes. Or you can always check online.
From my experience with some big supermarkets here in Montreal, usually the price is really down for these specials. It does not mean, however, that it is usually a good price, as the same product may be cheaper at other supermarkets even without specials. If chain A sells something usually for $4 and chain B sells the same thing for $3, a 2/$7 special at the chain A is not a good deal, as you can get two products for $6 at chain B.
These specials are usually decent. Sometimes they are about saving cents, sometimes it may something more. Anyway, it’s always a good habit to check the expiry date (if there’s any). More often than not, perishable items go on sale when they are about to expire. Pay attention to that! You are not saving if you have to throw it away without using it, right?
Do you really need TWO?
Even if the price tag says 2/$5, did you know you can take only one for $2.50? So what’s the point? Why don’t the supermarkets just say “Sale! From $3.00 for $2.50”? Psychology, my friend. They want you to buy TWO of the same product, not only one. Having a 2/$5 tag makes you think “Well, this seems like a good price. Maybe I should take two of them because this price will not be around for so long”. Or maybe they just rely on the fact that a lot of people does not know they can buy only one package with this special price.
The grocery stores want you to buy two of the same product. It’s up to you to stay tuned and spot this. Most important, though, is pay attention to your reactions to these tactics. I already know how to avoid these temptations and I really only buy what I need or want.
What about you? Do you try a new brand or buy more of the same product because of specials like this? Do you check the expiry date? What’s your trick to profit from supermarket specials?
Photo from Flickr user Lisa Pinehill