SUPERMARKETS’ ‘MOST ANNOYING’ HABITS REVEALED

In the press today was an article to which I contributed about consumers pet hate regarding supermarkets. (Regular followers of this blog will know my history with Tesco!) It was actually about the tactics that supermarkets use to make us spend more so I have added a few more gripes too!

1) Moving products around so you spend longer in the store trying to find what you want
2) Lowest priced option often at the highest point so shorter people can’t reach
3) Online or in store exclusives. Creates a sense of immediacy when selecting products, so consumers will usually spend more than intended as feeling of missing out
4) Bumping the price up for an individual item e.g. £2.50, and offering them two for £4. When item is less than £2 elsewhere
5) Putting differing offers on variations of a product to confuse as to which is best buy
6) Mixing weight to price ratios on different products
7) Making it difficult to work out the best offer frequently with ready packaged fruit/veg portrayed as having discounts versus loose.
8) Offers such as 3 for £10 when you only wanted 1
9) Pumping out the smell of bread baking (Our Sainsbury’s does that!)
10) Slow music to make you move slower round the aisles
11) Loyalty cards using your shopping habits to provide targeted vouchers
12) High sugar higher priced brands items at eye level lowering this for aisles aimed at children
13) Putting deals at the entrance of the store such as biscuits – not very expensive items but ones that appeal and that you think that’s a good offer and throw them in the trolley
14) Putting fruit, vegetables and flowers at the front of the store. We know this is to create an atmosphere of health and also provide smells and pleasant imagery providing positive vibes to make us buy more. Annoying because these are the items that we want to put on top of the shopping not at the bottom where it is going to get crushed.
15) If you only want the essentials, such as bread, milk, fruit and vegetables they are placed as far away from each other as possible to make you travel round the store.
16) My big bug bear. Wine. So many bottles costed “normally” priced at £10 but frequently in the half price offers and often half price with 25% off 6 bottles or more. We wait until these regular offers come about. If we shop in more than one supermarket then the supermarket with the deal is going to get the most sales.
17) Packaging. Is that “Tesco finest” Sainsbury’s “Taste the difference” really better? In many tests and reviews this isn’t the case but are we conned into spending more because we are sucked into thinking they are better quality.
18) Self service checkouts (see a post about THEM here!) because they always go wrong and it isn’t self service it’s one sales assistant serving many customers
19) Queues!
20) Discontinuing products

We want consistency and fair pricing, everyone loves a bargain but not when the “bargains” are all the time so we actually feel that the rest of the time we are being conned!

We know that most of this goes on but unfortunately we can not do much about a lot of it. And the trouble is if we try and avoid it all, we spend even longer in there! Don’t go hungry and try and keep to your list are a good starting point though.

I was on Radio 5live Breakfast (and Radio Nottingham!)

 

What other things are your gripes about supermarkets and which is your top one?!

 

The loves and hates of the self service checkout

Back in April, Morrisons announced that it was to reintroduce 1,000 staffed Express Checkouts for quick personal service. So what does the anti social cow think of the self service tills and the move to offer more staffed tills?

Is it the right move by Morrisons, not so long ago the big push was for more self-service tills?
I think it probably is. Most people who talk to me about supermarkets hate self service tills.  They feel for people who would have a job if it wasn’t for the self service till and many of us loathe them because they don’t always work and you have to call someone over because it doesn’t accept a coupon or doesn’t recognise an apple or asks if you are over 18 when you are 83, which annoys us as well as slows down the experience defeating the object.  Then you have our children trying to scan things twice and there are those of us who would say that actually it should be “10 items or fewer” not “less” of course! I think it is about having the choice and a balance of types of checkouts though. In theory I should love the self service checkouts, in reality they annoy me because they go wrong and then I have to ask someone for help which annoys me more than being served by someone wha talks to me!

Are the big four supermarkets returning to focus on service now rather than price? Sainsbury’s and Tesco have both promoted the fact that they have put more people on the shop floor.
I think they have to don’t they? The latest Which? campaign on supermarkets pricing confusions shows that they are all as bad as each other in pricing. This means that if a consumer is not using the discounters then there has to be something over and above choosing a supermarket on price. I think, as I have said many time before, the supermarkets simply need to listen to customers more. As I discussed here I don’t think Sainsburys are doing that very well at the moment. Tesco is certainly better at listening under Dave Lewis than his predecessor but he couldn’t have been more ignorant in my opinion! But they still have a looooong way to go if they really want to turn around Tesco fortunes.

Will more checkouts or self services speed up shopping?
Depends wholly on how many other tills are open and how busy they are! So long as they react to how many shoppers are on the floor at one time and don’t stay stuck on this is how many tills we have open at this time. They need to be proactive and ensure that there are enough tills open at all times. There was once was a time when a supermarket had the “more than one person in front – we will open another lane.” Putting that in place might be more effective

When I was on Radio 5 discussing self service there were two presenters. One liked the self service because he didn’t have to speak to anyone but like me hated the things that went wrong. I said the supermarkets need to bring in lines specifically for chatty people and another for us anti social people. He loved the idea suggesting Gaffa tape for the assistants. At the risk of assistants taking offence this did amuse me.

What are your thoughts on the self service checkout and do you use them?