Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sainsburys – old strudel & funny pricing of tea bags

If there was a Supermarkets Anonymous, I’d have to introduce myself with

I’m Alan and I’m unnaturally fond of Sainsburys.

Well, at least a fan of the Secret Sainsburys branch down in Holywood Exchange. Now that Ikea has opened, it’s less of a secret and the car park is a lot busier. Sometimes it’s because people are avoiding the chance of a queue for Ikea’s car park and are prepared to walk the last quarter of a mile. But it also feels a bit busier inside the store, with more people aware that it’s there.

There are definite plus points:

  • The petrol is nearly always a penny cheaper than Tesco at Knocknagoney.
  • The café stays open longer than Tesco and serves decent hot food. And Littl’un has a serious packet-of-three-mini-muffins habit that will probably require therapy later in life!
  • B&Q is only a couple of minutes walk away when you need to combine shopping trips.

Like all large stores and enterprises, it’s far from perfect. The mark of good service is what happens when something goes wrong.

We’d folk coming for lunch today. Apple strudel and ice cream seemed like a good dessert. (Would have been better if I’d remembered to put it into the oven earlier!) As well as plain apple, the mixed berries strudel caught my eye. But when I got home, I noticed that the date on the box was August 2007.

Driving back to Sainsburys, the customer service desk happily gave a refund, surprised and quite disappointed that an out-of-date product had been left on the shelves. I popped across to find a replacement, finding some more August 2007 boxes, January 2008 boxes as well as plenty that were still within their date. The replacement strudel was free, and the someone was being dispatched to clear away the old stock as I was leaving.

tea direct pricing anomoly

Earlier, during the original shopping trip, one of Sainsburys pricing anomalies caught my eye again. You’d expect that larger boxes would be proportionately cheaper than small ones. But for months, it’s been cheaper to buy two boxes of 80 teadirect tea bags than a single 160 bag box.

80 teadirect tea bags are £1.42

2 x £1.42 as opposed to 1 x 3.85 – a saving of £1.01.

160 teadirect tea bags are £3.85

Even if the bigger box should have been priced a pound lower, it’s still a penny more expensive that the smaller ones.

I’ve mentioned it to staff at least three times over the months, but the pricing hasn’t (yet) changed.


Stephen Barnes said...

A deliberate ruse, IMHO. Shoppers instinctively think the larger box will be cheaper and just go ahead and lift the dearer product. It's not just Sainsburys that do this either....

Timothy Belmont said...

100% in concurrence! I frequently check pricing of larger and smaller products. Hard to understand why the larger product would be dearer than the smaller one, unless they're trying to catch out unwitting shoppers!
I like Sainsbury's Holywood Exchange. It's seldom as busy as their arch-rival. One item we always stock up on is Sainsbury's Natural Greek Yoghurt with honey. Yummy!

John Self said...

Going from Sainsbury's HE to Tesco Knocknagoney is to go from daylight to darkness. True, the latter is an older store and more worn, but the whole design and lighting and layout is just grim in comparison. And Tesco's well-reported bullyboy tactics of its Thailand critics hasn't made me likely to break my boycott anytime soon.