ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

'Nothing is random at supermarkets'

Times are tough for many consumers who want to save a few rands wherever they can.

So there’s nothing more infuriating than getting home and realising you’ve actually been duped into buying a more expensive item when you thought you were saving money.

On ConsumerTalk, Pippa Hudson speaks to consumer journalist Wendy Knowler about the nitty gritty of supermarkets.

READ: Understanding wholesale and retail options at second hand car dealers

And there are a lot of products in between. On purpose the bread and milk are always on opposite sides of a supermarket so you have to be exposed to everything else should you enter the shop for just those two essentials.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Nothing is random at supermarkets, everything on the shelf is there because there is an agreement for it to be there. Everything at eye level they have paid premium for it to be there.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

So if you really want to have some specials, do the inconvenient thing, bend down look at the bottom shelf.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

The first issue that Knowler dealt with was a complaint from Luisa de Oliveira who says she has a problem with the way Woolworths’ specials are advertised in its in-store catalogues.

She says three times in the last two months they have advertised boerewors at special prices. Once it was R15-00 less per kilo and on the front of the fridge the special price was advertised in big red letters.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

She adds that there are the old priced as well as the newly priced boerewors on display and consumers are not aware that they are also buying non-special priced goods.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Knowler adds that de Oliveira also said she had previously complained to the managers in the store and each one handled the matter differently.

One manager attempted to work out the lower rate so as to refund her the difference in price and another gave her a free pack of boerewors.

And another one denied that the price/weight was incorrect. It was only after I insisted on them weighing the product that he apologised for the incorrect price. One manager said that it was old stock and that they were allowed to mix old with new.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Knowler said she raised the issue with Julian Novak, Head of Fresh for Woolworths Food, who said: “Although we try to run our stock levels down on random mass products prior to the launch of a two week promotion, there is always carry-over stock of random mass products that will still be priced at the pre-promotional higher price.

Knowler dealt with different other issues that consumers need to be aware of when going to the supermarket.

Listen below to the full Consumertalk:


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