Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buyer Beware - An Example of Stores Being Deceptive

See this innocent little 3 lb bag of clementine oranges?  This little bag of happiness?  Well, let me tell you, it didn't make me too happy this morning.

Actually, it wasn't the bag of oranges that got me ranting but rather the store where I bought it at.  I had seen in this week's Lucky's ad that they had 3 lb bags of clementine oranges on sale for $2.59.  Since this is well under my "$1 / pound" limit on fruit, I ran over there this morning to pick up a few bags - 4 bags, to be exact - my daughter LOVES these things and they last a long time.

As I walked into the store, I saw a display of bagged clementines in the entrance of the produce section with no price tag.  I thought, "Oh, there's the oranges I wanted." and then I stopped and thought "That's a really big bag for 3 lbs."   I picked one up and turned it over to discover it was a 5 lb bag.  After a little investigating, I found the price tag discretely placed on the side: $6.99.  Guess where the "on sale" 3 lb bags were - in the far back of the produce section, hidden among a display of $1.65/lb oranges.

*insert nasty names here*

Now, I know that not all consumers are as careful as I am at reading labels and price tags, so I'm sure Lucky's going to make a killing on these oranges.  People walk in without their ads or maybe they're just in a hurry to get their shopping done, so they see the big display of oranges and just assume those are the ones on sale.

I had a similar experience right before Christmas, once again having to do with clementine oranges.  I walked into my local Sprouts to do my weekly produce shopping when I saw the 5 lb bags on sale for $6.99.  I knew they could be found at a lower price elsewhere, so I skipped them.  Imagine my surprise when I walked around the central aisle display to find a pile of loose clementines for 99 cents a lb.  I actually stood there for a moment, verifying what I was seeing - I save money AND got better produce if I bagged my own oranges?

That makes no freaking sense....

So while I stood there and picked out my own oranges, I watched multiple people stop right next to me and the price tag and grab the bags of oranges, totally missing the loose oranges.

I know you're probably sitting there, reading this, and thinking, "But Anne!  It's only $2!"  Now stop for a moment and answer this - what could you buy for $2?  I know I could pick up a pound of raisins from the bulk bin, making my son a very happy kid (he's addicted to them).  I could buy 2 heads of celery or 4+ lbs of carrots.

Every dollar counts these days, people!  So stop, look, and think when you're shopping!  Don't think that the grocery stores are your friends - they are NOT!  They are out to separate you from as much of your money as they can, as quickly as they can.  If you want to save money, you have to be proactive, you have to be logical, and most importantly, you have to be skeptical.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl off my soapbox and go roast some chicken leg quarters (59 cents / lb - couldn't resist it!).  Have a great weekend!


  1. Love the post, and you are absolutely right. You have to watch them like a hawk! I'm pretty good about checking prices, but they have still caught me with my guard down a couple of times. *insert nasty names here* :-)

  2. Can't agree more! I always watch the price tag and make sure the cashier also input the correct amount! I've been cheated 3 times at this one grocery store and I caught them!

  3. Great! I have been guilty of not being so careful. I will be much more alert from now on.

  4. I don't have a grocery budget and I pick up those bags of oranges, running through the store like mad, trying to get the most unpleasant errand of the week over with... It's a good reminder for me that there are options!

    On an unrelated note, I was thinking of your blog as I wrote my latest cavekitchen recipe, but couldn't remember the exact url. So... now that I found you again, I think you might love it: (I know, this is a shameless blog promotion, but I really do mean it! I was thinking of what a great budget recipe it was!)


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