Supermarket multi-buy offers can BOGOF. Who goes shopping to practise their mental arithmetic?

A Which? survey has discovered that the price of one in 10 products go up when they’re in a multi-buy deal. Just who are supermarkets trying to kid?

Share
Related Topics

I’ve never liked multi-buy offers in the supermarket. I’m not against 3-for-2 in principle, you understand. I like it in Boots, on vitamins and shampoo, and I used it yesterday when I bought three rolls of wrapping paper in a futile attempt to convince myself that I am remotely planning for Christmas.

But in supermarkets, I am suspicious of them: rightly so, it turns out. Which? has discovered that the prices of roughly one in 10 products go up when they’re in a multi-buy deal. One example was of a pack of four yoghurts, usually retailing for £1. It was put onto a multi-buy deal (two for £2), whereupon the cost of one pack shot up to £1.59. The multi-buy saved you nothing but the phoney mark-up. And if you don’t have time to eat eight yoghurts before the use-by date, too bad.

Even when multi-buy deals do save me money, I’d prefer it if they just discounted the items individually. I don’t have a car, so carrying quantities of anything heavy – Diet Coke is my barbell of choice, also wine or gin, depending on the day – is a nuisance. I’ll be back tomorrow for more (not for more gin. Well, not usually), but I’m trying to avoid curvature of the spine.

And then there’s the financially illiterate deals that Which? discovered, including packs of sweets for 34p each or four for £3. Of course, the supermarkets all say that the information is on the shelf for customers to check that they’re getting the best deal available, but who goes grocery-shopping to practise their mental arithmetic? Apart from me, obviously: I love sums. But I’m not trying to buy a week’s shopping and ferry children round the store at the same time, so I can afford to indulge in extra maths.

I think if the supermarkets really meant what they said about trying to help customers get the best deal, they would offer a walk-round service. You could book an appointment with a chap carrying a calculator and, ideally, wearing jaunty spectacles. Every time you got to a particularly baffling set of offers, he’d have to do the maths for you, and show his workings.

If he can’t tell you the cheapest product in under a minute, you get the baked beans for free, and a personal letter from the managing director, apologising for making your life harder, and offering to deliver your groceries for a month to make it up to you.

What a life of Brian

This weekend, Bafta will finally recognise the genius of Brian Cosgrove, the co-founder of the animation company Cosgrove Hall. Along with Mark Hall, who died a year ago, Brian Cosgrove is one of the most important figures in British animation history. He is also one of the very few people in the world who create unmitigated delight. If he’d only invented Danger Mouse, Penfold and Baron Greenback, he could have retired as my hero. But instead, he was adding Count Duckula (the vegetarian vampire duck), Chorlton and the Wheelies, and many more to the Cosgrove Hall of fame.

Like Oliver Postgate’s work, the programmes which Cosgrove Hall produced were funny and silly, but they also have an essential kindness at their core. And, by the way, having a Scottish snake with a forked tongue called Mac the Fork is a brilliant joke. Bafta should have given them a special award decades ago.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...

Primary Teaching Supply

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories