Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hanky Panky

Like Bilbo Baggins and most other hobbits, I find one of the keys to happiness to be a well-stocked larder. So when I see some of my staple items on sale at local groceries, I like to dash over and stock up. It wouldn't due to run short when a troupe of dwarves arrives unexpectedly, would it?

One of the local chain operations often has coupon specials, or "mix-n-match" specials based on buying a certain number of qualifying products, which discounts all of those products heavily. If you get just one of the items wrong, substituting an item that does not qualify for the discount, you don't receive the discount on any. Fair enough.

 But I have begun to notice an irritating pattern recently. Nearly every time I've gone to try to take advantage of these deals recently, the space that holds the qualifying item has been stocked with a non-qualifying item. When I got to the register, the discount was not applied, and it took myself and the cashier several minutes to sort it all out. If I wasn't the mathematically inclined sort of fellow who knows within a dime what the total of a grocery receipt is going to be off the top of my head, or if I had a number of non-sale items to purchase as part of my normal grocery run, instead of solely buying the sale items on these trips, I wouldn't have noticed it, and I'm beginning to think it is all part of the store's strategy - to avoid selling the items they have on sale - a bait and switch scheme most cleverly camouflaged.

They can say "Oh, items get mis-shelved all the time. Customers put them back in the wrong place."

Or, they may say it was simply a matter of keeping the shelves looking like they're fully stocked by moving product from an adjacent space.

But I think it's intentional, and they're relying on the fact that most people don't watch their grocery receipts like a hawk.

 "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action."
Auric Goldfinger

No comments: