It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

PhD in shopping?

Posted by chrisrick13 on January 15, 2011

It is obvious: they are out to get you.

Food shopping is not an activity of choice.  Just the two of us now so we do it every 2-3 weeks with small stuff in between.  Trying to diet so we don’t need bread.  Drink green tea so we don’t need milk.  When my sons were at home we had games to make the shopping bearable.  Curling was a favourite.  You have to push the trolley the length of an aisle without touching the sides.  That was too easy so we added the requirement of a 360 degree turn.  We did the two trolley trick moving stuff between a hidden second trolley so my wife was never sure what she had got and not got.  There were others.  She knew that banning us from shopping was a defeat so had to endure nearly twenty years.

Now it is just me  I have to take part.  My reward is getting it over quickly.  I have taken to calculating unit prices on the different sizes of items to fill in the time.  Largest is not necessarily cheapest.  The problem with different brands is that you are not comparing like with like.  Things like shower gel are easy though.  It cleans me and surprisingly little is needed to achieve clean – it does not matter what the brand is.  The Sainsburys brand is about a fifth the cost of branded ones.

I had to pause at the meat though.  There were two 500gm packs of lean mince for £5 and next to them were two 700gm packs of the same stuff for £6.  It took me a moment…actually several moments…actually a lot more moments than it should have.  The 700gm packs were the better deal.  The easiest way was to say that for a pound I was getting 400gm more.  However they are destined for bolognaise that will go in the freezer so we can throw them away in 5 years.  I know that we won’t get more meals, just larger ones.  So where was the benefit in the 700gm packs?

When we got to the checkout I realised that we had well over £100 in the trolley.  When you pay they also print out vouchers and one that I often get is that when I spend £50+ they give £5 off the next £50+ shop…provided it is within a week.  As I said above, we shop every two or three weeks.  I never claim the discount.  But I had an idea.  When the checkout total got to £55 I put a divider onto the conveyor belt.  I paid and sure enough got my £50 voucher.  I got a very odd look from the checkout lady as we ran the second half through.  Again £55 and I proudly presented my voucher and got £5 off the shop.  YESSSSSS!  I now expect them to add a ban on using the voucher on the same day as receipt.

I hear the question: why don’t you buy more and shop less often?  (I could have said ‘fewer times’ but could not remember if it was less or fewer.  ‘Fewer’ sounded right.)  Perhaps we just need a little more organisation to increase our storage.  That would be more efficient.  At times of high inflation we would be investing in food futures.  The trouble is that you have to buy the appropriate amounts of stuff that you consume over the same time period or you are forced back to the shops when the first things runs out.  A nice problem though and counteracts the supermarket just-in-time supply model.  I will have to sit down and calculate relative consumption rates.

I’m harmless, well, mostly harmless.  Time on my hands and an active brain.  I wonder how many people over the coming months are going to find themselves with time on their hands and smart brains who are not harmless.

It is obvious: they are out to get you.  You are not paranoid.

One Response to “PhD in shopping?”

  1. Bill said

    Well done.

    I have often (well a couple of times) thought about that trick on the vouchers but never done it. I’m glad it works!

    I also have trouble in calculating if the price of a 454grm packet is better value than the 715grm one. Partly ‘cos my mental arithmetic is dire but also as my eyesigh is dire and I have to find my glasses between packets… It is help is the supermarket gives price per grm…

    Mind you I have to look at calories too (sigh) – I was caught out the other day by some crispy-crumb, Souther fried chicken with curly chips and only 500 cals !! Well until my wife pointed out that the small print said per half portion…

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