Selling eggs and milk isn’t the most profitable venture in the world, so supermarkets employ crafty tactics to ensure you buy pricier goods to pad their bottom lines. Avoid overpaying with these simple tips.
Photo by qmnonic.
Everything in the supermarket has been carefully placed, lit, and displayed to maximize profits. What can you do to ensure you’re not the one paying the premium that A/C that much lower? Susan Koeppen of CBS’ The Early Show interviewed Consumer Reports’ Tod Marks to get the lowdown on navigating supermarkets to get what you want without paying extra. What are some of the simple things you can do? Avoid the middle of the shelf:
“Prime selling space is right in the center, eye-level if you will,” Marks says. In fact, companies sometimes pay thousands of dollars to have their products placed on the center shelf. And, Koeppen continues, those items tend to be more expensive than the ones found high or low. “The lower level and the high-on-top level, they’re kind of the low-rent districts,” Marks notes. “You put commodities there — things that don’t bring in a lot of profits that people are going to buy, no matter what.”
You’ll notice this effect even when you’re staring at a shelf that is essentially packed with identical items. Next time you’re near some staples like sugar or flour, look at the arrangement of the shelf. A common arrangement is bargain brands on the floor, premium brands in the middle, and rest of the brands at the top. Most people won’t get all the way down to the floor to grab the sugar, some might reach up, but almost everyone just grabs what is right in front of them. While there’s little conceivable difference between the items in question, you’ll end up paying a premium just for not bending or raising your arms.
Another budget breaker? Buying things that have been cut, shredded, diced, etc. for you ahead of time. You pay an enormous premium for a minor convenience:
“Prices vary all the time” Marks pointed out, “but it’s not a stretch to say that you can pay anywhere from 300 percent to 600 percent or more for the convenience of pre-cut, pre-shredded or pre-anything produce.”
Koeppen noticed that a three pound bag of red apples was just a dollar a pound; hand-picking your own from a bin made them $1.50 a pound; but if you buy the apples already cut up, they’re a whopping $5 a pound.
For more tips on avoiding being suckered by sneaky marketing, check out the full list at the link below. If you have your own market-savvy shopping tricks of your own, share the wealth in the comments below.