• Dirty Little Tricks Retailers Play

    The retail industry spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, collectively, to come up with various ways to manipulate consumers into purchasing their wares. While some of these tactics are well-known, many are not. From the Not so freshly baked goods, manipulative placement tactics meant to
    drive up impulse purchases and unique ways of hiding shrinking product sizes so that the consumer will never notice, we've got them all!
    bakeryFreshly Baked Goods- or Are they? - while those rows of goodies may look enticing, did you know that the majority of stores actually receive frozen goods and only need to thaw them or bake them. The “fresh” rolls you may have thought were just mixed up could be from dough prepared in a factory several weeks or months prior.
    These displays serve another purpose as well- they work to stimulate the appetite of the consumer, increasing impulse purchases.



    manipulative placementManipulative Placement- Any parent knows that the worst aaisle in the grocery store is the cereal aaisle. The sugary smackle puffs with cute little cartoon characters is always at eye level for Junior to see, and of course, it comes with the latest greatest made in china toy, which will surely be the one you step on at 3 am when you get up to answer natures untimely call. It’s a well known consumer manipulation tactic to place items that are marketed towards kids on the bottom shelves, where they are more likely to see the item (and beg their parents to purchase them).



    A lesser known manipulation tactic is for merchandisers to place the more
    expensive non-staple items at eye level. By non-staple, we mean items that you don’t necessarily need, but that you may be swindled into buying because the packaging is attractive and you’re hungry while your shopping (another grocery budget no-no).

    End Caps - Ever notice those lovely displays at the end of each aaisle offering up "sales" on goodies? These are generally items that aren't really on sale, they're just dressed up to appear as though they are.

    Impulse Buys- There are several ways that we, as consumers, are manipulated into purchasing items on impulse. a. Shopping While Hungry- if you’re already hungry when you shop, nearly anything will look tasty.
    b. Clever Arrangement/Placement


    skippy cheatClever & Shrinking Packaging - this one is so deceptive, it need's it's own page!

    Cheap Fillers - Lets delve a little deeper into the subject of those convenience items. Manufacturers often use sugar as a filler to their products simply because it’s cheap. We’ve been taught, as consumers, that we should read the ingredients label to see where sugar ranks in the product, but the manufacturers fillershave learned to disguise the high levels of filler by using different types (corn syrup, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, molasses).

    When Buying in Bulk might be Bad- taking advantage of membership clubs such as Sam’s , BJ’s or Costco can be helpful in securing great deals in your budget. There are times when a “good buy” may turn out to be a considerably less savings than you had anticipated. Perhaps your favorite shampoo is available in bulk for $30, when the small bottle at your local store is $6.50. You may have discovered that when you’re using that bottle of shampoo – you’re pouring twice as much as you need from that gigantic bottle. After all, your mind is telling you that there is plenty of shampoo available. Or perhaps you bought a giant bottle of mayonnaise because it was less expensive than the smaller bottles available at your local grocery store. Now that it’s open and sitting in the back of your fridge, you’re trying to figure out ways to use it all up before it spoils. Items like these are not helping your budget; they’re what I like to consider fruitless purchases.

    convenience itemsInconvenient "Convenience" Foods- Convenience foods are the items that, back in the day, folks made at home in their own kitchens. Items such as cookies, cakes, brownies, sauces, gravies, and soups. The other day, while picking up a few items at the store, I was overwhelmed by the number of cake and cookie mixes in the baking aaisle.
    The store no longer offered basic ingredients (in this case semolina flour for making pasta!), but they did have 26 different kinds of cake mix. In the refrigerated section, there were rows and rows of premade cookie dough for $2.50 a tube.
    The amount in the “tube” of dough equates to less than half a batch of regular cookie dough! Consumers have been manipulated by marketing companies for decades to believe that we have less and less time and “need” these products, which are often loaded with colorings, preservatives and lack any nutritional quality.
    The next time you find yourself in the grocery store, I challenge you to take a peek into the carts of folks that walk by. The majority of items within the cart is convenience items that people have been manipulated into purchasing under the false pretense that they “save time” or are easier than preparing real food at home.

    Mammoth Sized Grocery Carts- Grocery store carts are getting bigger and bigger and the aaisles are getting wider. No, this isn’t your imagination, it’s a fact. When shopping with a large cart and you only have a few items, you’re manipulated into feeling like you don’t have enough groceries yet, so you continue shopping. If you’re running into the store for a single item, such as a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, forgo the cart or hand basket. It will force you to only purchase as much as you can carry and help avoid those impulse buys that make up more than 70% of our overspending each year

    Limited Quantity/Availability Trick- This one has been perfected by those late night tv shopping networks, but has spilled over into the grocery industry as well. Oftentimes in sales flyers, the manufacturer will add a limit to the number of items a consumer is "allowed" to purchase at the "sale" price. Were you thinking perhaps they did this to be fair to all consumers to give them a chance to get in on the deal? Absolutely Not, this is simply a psychological direct marketing tactic.
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. mamajen's Avatar
      Another "dirty little trick" I have discovered:
      Our Wal-Mart puts baskets of clearance items at the front of the store sometimes that are actually marked down low enough to qualify for my opinion of "clearance" (in other words not just a 10% savings).
      On several occasions, these items have scanned at full price and the cashier has to manually enter the clearance price. They are not surprised by this at all and tell me they have to do it all the time! How many of us are not watching every single item as it is scanned and miss this?!
      I believe they do this on purpose. Shame on them!
    1. GB101's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mamajen View Post
      Another "dirty little trick" I have discovered:
      They are not surprised by this at all and tell me they have to do it all the time! How many of us are not watching every single item as it is scanned and miss this?!
      I believe they do this on purpose. Shame on them!
      You know, my other half & I were discussing this the other day- we had 9 items that rung up incorrectly at our local walmart- the cashier changed each one and when I got home we added them up, the difference was $24.35 . You're exactly right, how many people are distracted by their children or spouse or just plain not paying attention & just Pay it. We watch the register like crazy when they're ringing things up. 9 trips out of 10, they have to fix at least 1 item. Do you remember the days that they paid You $3 when they made a mistake? They've ripped off the stickers at the registers that had that guarantee on them.

      Sad.
    1. mamajen's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by GB101 View Post
      You know, my other half & I were discussing this the other day- we had 9 items that rung up incorrectly at our local walmart- the cashier changed each one and when I got home we added them up, the difference was $24.35 . You're exactly right, how many people are distracted by their children or spouse or just plain not paying attention & just Pay it. We watch the register like crazy when they're ringing things up. 9 trips out of 10, they have to fix at least 1 item. Do you remember the days that they paid You $3 when they made a mistake? They've ripped off the stickers at the registers that had that guarantee on them.

      Sad.

      Holy cow!! $25 is a lot of money! I figure they are making a KILLING doing this!

      No, I don't remember the $3 back thing but that would be nice!
      It really is sad, isn't it?
      People, we need to watch them!
      We need to all band together and call them out on this!
      unreal.
    1. ArmyWife's Avatar
      My ex-husband used to work for Walmart stocking groceries, and he told me that they would have something like Hamburger Helper (Just using this as an example) 2 for $5 but the regular price for a single box would be $2.38. That's one reason I avoid that store unless it's absolutely necessary.
    1. scrapbookdava's Avatar
      The same thing happened to me the other day. WalMart had cans of Manwich on an end cap 2 for 2.00. I put two in my cart and headed down the aisle to grab a few other things. I happened to notice that on the shelf, the same size can was $.88. Sure enough, when the cashier rang up the cans, they rang up $1.00. I told the cashier she needed to change it to the .88 and she did but if I hadn't been paying attention, I would have spent 24 cents more. Every little bit helps.
    1. sarahsayar's Avatar
      I actually work at Wal Mart in the apparel and we do this all the time because we no longer receive the amount of markdowns from home office that we use to. So instead of the big wigs up top marking things down that we no longer carry or are out of season they leave them for months and months. We push them up front for price overriding so that we can get out our new products and keep our departments cleaned up. We do this at our own risk also, when we do this it shows up on all kinds of reports and we can actually get "coached" which is a form of disciplinary action or even fired for extreme markdowns. I will admit we do this for our own benefit, as associates trying to make their lives at work a little less stressful, not really for the customer to save money although they do. We use to put signs on the carts to let customers know that cashiers would have to override the price but we are no longer allowed to do that. If we could mark it down in the system we would... we miss this actually. I find that in the six years that I have been with the company stores are allowed less and less markdowns and less and less hours for associates to work. There are days that I want to scream and cry because I get so fed up with the pressure. I just wish that customers would remember that we are people too and that we are doing our best with what we are given.
    1. Diane A.'s Avatar
      I guess the reason for not putting the price of the food on the item, is so people can't tell the difference if they are being charged more for an item. Who can remember what the price is on every item, I DON'T. UGH!!
    1. farmkat's Avatar
      good to know about Wal-Mart... I'll be paying closer attention now. can't say I'm surprised though.
    1. Lipshon1097's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mamajen View Post
      Another "dirty little trick" I have discovered:
      Our Wal-Mart puts baskets of clearance items at the front of the store sometimes that are actually marked down low enough to qualify for my opinion of "clearance" (in other words not just a 10% savings).
      On several occasions, these items have scanned at full price and the cashier has to manually enter the clearance price. They are not surprised by this at all and tell me they have to do it all the time! How many of us are not watching every single item as it is scanned and miss this?!
      I believe they do this on purpose. Shame on them!
      You should check to see if your state has a scanner rebate law. In MI if an item is scanned at the wrong price you can take the receipt to the customer service center and recieve 10% (with a $1 minimum) or $5 (maximum) of the difference as a "rebate".
    1. pboroughs's Avatar
      I think self check is another way they get you. You are busy scanning and don't catch the errors and you can't override it anyway.
    1. Rntennis's Avatar
      I bought some chicken last week at Wal-mart that was marked off 1.50. When I got home, I noticed the cashier had scanned the original barcode and charged me the higher price. I just didn't have time to go back and point out the mistake, but I will sure be watching the prices as they scan from now on!
    1. dfbtwocats's Avatar
      I like the picture of the jar of peanut butter. I hate packaging that has big indentations substituting air for product. Or those fancy face cream jars that look decent sized until you open it and see how thick the packaging really is or the big indentation on the inside of the jar.
    1. KandisPosey's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by pboroughs View Post
      I think self check is another way they get you. You are busy scanning and don't catch the errors and you can't override it anyway.
      one day i was in walmart and i only had $7 with me and i had to buy my son a cup (he is very picky with cups bc he is teething) the only cup i could find was like 599 so i just assumed that i had enough so i went to check out at the self check and when i was done the total was like 7.35 so i ask the person over there to void it so i could find a cheaper cup and she told me to wait and marked the price down... i was so grate ful... you can have things voided in the self check line and they can even fix the price
    1. Linhawn's Avatar
      I too have a pricing issue with Walmart.
      A large bag of Siler's dried pintos listed at $4.19 on the shelf, rang up at $5.98 at the register. When I brought it to the checker's attention, she sent me to the service desk for a refund. Three months later I bought the same product. Got home with it before I checked my receipt. (I assumed the price had been corrected two months ago), To realize the shelf price was still $4.19 and the check out price was $5.98. That's $1.79 difference.
    1. Steckborn's Avatar
      I recently bought 5 boxes of cookie mixes. The price on the shelf was $1. They rang up at $1.87. I insisted that the price was $1, so the clerk changed it to $1. I told her that if it was $1.87, I would not have bought 5 boxes!
    1. Nellawel's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mamajen View Post
      Holy cow!! $25 is a lot of money! I figure they are making a KILLING doing this!

      No, I don't remember the $3 back thing but that would be nice!
      It really is sad, isn't it?
      People, we need to watch them!
      We need to all band together and call them out on this!
      unreal.
      I actually took the time during my last grocery trip to add up each item as I put it in my cart. We were on a very tight budget and I wanted to get as much as I could without overdoing it. I knew what my total would be before I even got through the check out. I use pumps on all of my soaps, especially the ones I buy in bulk so I use the same amount every time. I actually look at the unit prices when I buy and have for many years successfully been able to avoid impulse buys.
    1. Amazon79's Avatar
      It's true. I've had problems at Walmart with items ringing up incorrectly as well. We had a Publix store that opened up here a little over a year ago and my husband and i usually shop there now. Their generic brand is usually as good as the name brand items but cheaper and they always have great BOGO sales. The list price on the BOGO item may be higher than someplace like Walmart, but they have the BOGOs on items that people will actually use, not buy 5 items at regular price get 1 free (although sometimes soda is pried like that but I don't buy soda so eh.) I also try to avoid shopping at Walmart because I'm aware of how poorly they treat their employees and how much they've screwed up the economy in the towns they've moved into. I also try to shop at the local farmers market when possible. It can be a bit more expensive but local honey is AWESOME and ends up being more in the jar than a bottle at the store.
    1. Einzi's Avatar
      I am a new member and I had a problem with Walmart too. I had bought a cheap waffle maker for about $20.00
      For m son, I did not know that his girlfriend already had one. So I put my receipt on the fridge for a later return.(busy week) aboutb2-3 weeks later I returned it for store credit since somehow the receipt disappeared. Walmart took it back no problem since it was only sold in their store.The girl gave me a plastic card with I thought was $20.00. When I got to the register it only had $10.60 as credit on it. !!!
      I ask the girl "What happened to my $20.00?" She replied that if I return any item without a receipt I will get the lowest sales price credit for this month.
      Needless to say that I go out of my way not to shop at Walmart anymore.
    1. hope81026's Avatar
      I will take note of some of the comments made about Walmart and pay attention from now on. However in Ontario we have no coupons like in the States. In fact if you check Mrs January it really can't be done. However Walmart is the only store in my area that price matches. This means I don't have to drive all over town every week for the best deals. Also even though they take items back with no receipt and give the lowest price. I have purchased items with terrible return policies and returned the broken product to Walmart and was given a credit. Sometimes on stuff they don't even sell in their tore!! Recently a pan I maker I bought at a store with a terrible return policy broke soon after I purchased it. Walmart took it back and gave me the lowest price credit. At let I wasn't out the entire 50$ and I will never buy another appliance at the other store (Hart) again. Walmart has saved my butt more than once. Just say in.
    1. COSenior's Avatar
      I seldom buy groceries at Wal-Mart, although I do occasionally shop there for other items and sometimes pick up grocery items while there. I'll certainly be watching for this, and thanks for the tip!

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