Just some of those I have questions about.

I know that there are a lot of people who just like to attack the practices of the top supermarkets for one reason or another. I have no personal axe to grind, but I do have some serious questions to ask.

I have often walked around a supermarket and seen the signs which proudly announce how much cheaper this item is than in another supermarket. These signs will usually only show a comparison to one other retail outlet. The question I always ask myself is this: If this item is cheaper than only this one other outlet, surely it must be dearer than in all of the others.

I feel sure that I can’t be the only person wondering whether the big supermarkets are really being fully honest with us when it comes to pricing and price comparisons?

By now it must be clear to everyone that all of the supermarkets are able to, and do compare each others prices on a daily basis, especially since the advent of the internet and on-line shopping. I have no doubt that all of the supermarkets have entire departments doing nothing else other than price checking. But I often wonder if more is being done here that the public are aware of, resulting in the manipulation of the shopper.

This stroke of marketing wizardry was credited this week with helping to boost the supermarket's sales by an impressive 4.6 per cent last year, faster than any of its big three rivals: Tesco, Asda and Morrisons

One popular price comparison.      (Photo: Daily Mail)

Lets take a theoretical example. A normal loaf of bread the supermarkets want to price at £1.00p. What would happen if ‘Supermarket A’ priced it at £1.10p. The remainder of the supermarkets sell it at £1.00p.  This would allow the other supermarkets to advertise how much cheaper they are than ‘Supermarket A’, but in truth it is being sold at the price the supermarkets wanted it to be.

The thing is, at the same time, ‘Supermarket B’ sells sugar at 95p (which they wanted to be priced at 88p) with the others selling the same product at 88p, with them all announcing how much cheaper it is than ‘Supermarket B’.

And so this continues on and on throughout the store, with each store taking it in turn being the higher price in one item, and the lower on four or five others in rotation. You will notice how many items have no claims on them. These could be the items at that store which are at the boosted prices, so they stay quiet about them, because if the shoppers don’t know they are paying more, they will still buy the item anyway.

This would look to the shopper as though they are getting the best prices possible, as lower price signs are always all around them, when in fact they are just being manipulated to pay as much as possible for any item, as this system could ensure that prices stay as high as the supermarkets want them to be.

Isn’t this an interesting concept. Of course the supermarkets couldn’t possibly operate such a hypothetical system, otherwise they would be committing fraud. Almost working together to make a monopoly of supermarkets.

But those price comparisons are there, aren’t they?

I’m sorry but the old addage of “Stack it high, sell it cheap” is no longer. From what I can see, “Price Manipulation” seems to be the key phrase now. Isn’t it?

Isn’t it funny how they know that they have overcharged you?

How do they know so exactly?



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