Supermarkets Suck

So I’ve had to hit the supermarket a few times this week, mostly to replenish myself with orange juice. And in the process I’ve discovered a few things.

First off, those stupid little bar codes that they make people use in order to get the real price for things are completely unnecessary. Just go to a non-self checkout line, and when they ring the first item up which has a difference in price for people who get the bar-code key-chains, interrupt the woman as if she’s trying to cheat you and exclaim, “Hey wait! That’s not the price it said on the label!” She’ll immediately pull out her own bar code, swipe it under the scanner, and fix the price, as well as the prices for everything else you buy. So what’s the fucking point of the stupid bar code key-chain, you might ask. Beats the fuck out of me, except when I first went to the supermarket this week, and bought two jugs of OJ at the self checkout line, I paid twice as much as I should have. Motherfuckers. Last time I make that mistake.

But the bar code isn’t the only way that the supermarket is scheming to bring the white man down. Go walk through the spice isle. Herbs and spices will run between $3 and $5 per bottle. The major brand is McCormick’s, though there are others like Spice Island. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that that was the price, right? Well wrong! Just two isles down, in the Latino isle there are spices from Goya and Badia that are one half to one fifth the price! See, they think that putting an “Mc” in front of the name means you can charge twice as much for the product than if it has a vowel at the end of the name. Motherfuckers. Well, I may not be Latino, but as an Italian with a vowel at the end of my last name, I feel I’m swarthy enough to go to the Latin isle and thereby forgo the “white ass surcharge” that Stop & Shop feels entitled to inflict on unsuspecting white people.

So I go to the supermarket today because I’ve been meaning to pick up some of those Swiffer pads for dusting, as there’s altogether too much dust in my apartment that won’t seem to go away, no matter how many times I vacuum. So I head on in, and I decide I’d like to pick up a bag of Doritos to eat while I watch the game tonite. So I head down to the snack isle, and lo and behold, a large bag of Doritos is approaching $5. That’s about $3 per pound. What the fuck are these people thinking? I get angry and storm up and down the snack food isle, looking for something else that may be cheaper while still fulfilling my need to relive my childhood by eating lots of Doritos. Nothing fit the bill, and what’s worse, everything else looked to be about as expensive, even potato chips. Where do these people get off? What the fuck is so difficult about taking a potato, which wholesale costs pennies, throwing it through a slicing machine, deep frying it for 20 seconds and sealing it in a bag? Why should that process, which costs a total of $0.23 cost me $3.50? That’s completely insane and entirely unwarranted! So after a while, I notice a Stop & Shop brand bag of something called “Gustados” at about 1/2 the price of the Doritos. So I bought those instead. Now that I’m home I can report to you that they taste EXACTLY THE SAME as Doritos. So where the fuck does Frito Lay get off charging so much? Whatever.

I swear, having an ounce of manufacturing knowledge will drive you insane when buying products. Do you know what Wal*Mart does when you come in with a new product to sell? If it’s made of plastic, they weigh it on a scale, and then announce to you that the plastic only costs so many pennies, so why should they pay you any more than that? They’re right you know. The only reason why these assholes charge so damn much in Waltham is that the closest Wal*Mart is miles away in Framingham.

So finally I go to get my Swiffer thingeys. I get to the isle, and there’s a cornucopia of facsimiles of the same product. Now the Swiffer brand shit cost about $8, but there was a Stop & Shop brand that cost about $4. I debated what to do, but in the end I decided to but the Swiffer brand. I just couldn’t fathom paying $4 for the Stop & Shop brand if it didn’t work at least 1/2 as good as I knew the Swiffer brand worked. It’s one thing to take a gamble on a bag of chips. But now that I think about it, I probably should have gotten the Stop & Shop brand. After all, their version of Doritos were EXACTLY THE SAME. Whatever.

So what’s the point of all this? Shit, I dunno. Just that the supermarket is always trying to rip you off, so you have to be on guard. It’s fucking war out there. And I intend to fight.


14 Responses to “Supermarkets Suck”

  Don Says:

I think this is the best thing you have ever written.

  sama Says:

Why thank you, Don.

  Steve Garfield Says:

Nice tip on the spices.

I’m going to go check it out!

  vikingzen Says:

HEY! I wrote something about Stop and Shop on the same date but earlier! What’s up with that! Is it a case of great minds? Or did I inspire you? Hmm?
Hope you’re feeling better. I still feel like crap.

  david Says:

Holy cow, Rob…I’ve never seen you like this! But I’ve gotta agree — that’s some good writing.

  Don Says:

Although, I must admit, there’s something … metrosexual about the way Rob goes on about the Swifters…

  Adam Says:

Speaking of spices, same thing goes for first cold press olive oil. Sometimes its even the same brand, with a different UPC and some spanish.

  slimedog Says:

If you’re just dusting stuff by hand, those Swiffers are a colossal rip, too. My wife saves the little fabric softener squares she uses in the dryer (buy the cheapest ones, they’re all the same). These are great anti-static dust rags! A-a-a-n-d, you can tell your tree-hugging hippie friends that you’re recycling.

Man, you’re not really still eating Doritos, are you? Invest in a FryBaby, a jug of peanut oil, some salt, and a big CHEAP package of fresh corn tortillas. Whack a dozen or so into sixths and fry ‘em up crisp. You’ll never want Doritos again.

  David Moisan Says:

Rob, is there a Market Basket anywhere near you? You might check them out; the Sunday Globe had an article about them:

I shop at the MB in my town (Salem) all the time. I almost never buy name-brand items unless there is no store-brand item available.

It’s well worth checking all the supermarkets in your area and picking out the best store-brand items at each. Shaw’s, S&S and MB all have their advantages. S&S has a cheese selection, a good ethnic aisle (though the Salem MB is very good) and a fabulous store-brand dark chocolate bar. Shaw’s has the best selection of produce, and Market Basket has the best prices.

Good tip on the spices.

  sama Says:

No Market Basket near me that I know of. There is a Shaws. A friend pointed out that oriental markets have spices at much cheaper rates than the Supermarkets as well.

  Ensight - Jeremy C. Wright Says:
Carnival of the Capitalists by
There are few things more enjoyable for me than reading. This week I have gotten to read more than my fair share. Between general work reading, catching up on University course work, the Business Blog Book Tour and reading each of this week’s submissio…

  Imfuckediworkinasupermarket Says:

Well.. I’m the northeast and I work in a supermarket..And it’s not the supermarket that are trying to rip you off, it’s the stupid idiots they hire in some of these supermarkets that don’t even know how to wipe there asses yet.Kids in the isles putting up tags. (like they really care) Take a real good look at some of the characters behind the counters of some of these supermarkets.. Come on now!! get real..some of them look as though they pulled them out from under some bridge, given a hat a name badge and then thrown at the customers. And about the white man being brought down by the supermarkets,I don’t know what your talking about…Maybe you were one of those stupid fucks that worked in a supermarket one time or another..

  mark Says:

Have a supermarket in Australia, biggest problem is theft, every time a device, person or deterant is put into your business, someone has to pay. Shoplifting is the bain of our business, our staff are ridiculed and regularly called white “cu—”etc.
Stop the freeloaders and perhaps service will return with a smile…

  Supermarketslie Says:

The reason supermarkets charge so much is because of little hidden things from the consumer. Once is called “reclamation”. If you have a product you want to sell to a supermarket that costs $10.00 and you want to make 30% you’d charge $13.00, right? Well, what happens when the supermarket gets that product and they smash it up in the back room or neglect to rotate the stock to move out the older product before it expires? Guess who pays for it? The guy who sold the product to the supermarket. Oh, and there’s an upcharge too. Not only does the company who made the product have to give them $13.00 back, they may have to give them additional money for moving these damaged products out of the store to a reclamation center. And guess where that damaged product goes? It gets sold to discount grocery stores or donated to shelters. So the supermarket gets paid again and gets to write it off on their taxes. Nice, huh?

Let’s not forget the supermarkets “pay to stay” programs. You want to put your item in all theirs store? $10,000 to $20,000 per SKU (barcode). How do you make that money back? Raise your price. Oh, and they may ask you in a couple years for another $10,000 or your competition is getting your spot on the shelf.

The supermarket is doing a benefit for a local charity. They invite your company to attend the benefit. Tickets are $500 a person. If you don’t go, your competition goes and the supermarket remembers. Your item you spent $20,000 on to be in their store just got discontinued. Looks like you’re buying 2 tickets to the benefit. Oh, and by the way – XYZ Supermarket gets all the reconginition for the money they raised. Such a pillar to the community!

You want to promote your items in their weekly ad? You tell them you’ll give them $2.00 off a case. They take the $2.00 off and then say – oh, you want an ad too? That’s $500 to $2,000 for the weekly ad. I hope you have a high selling volume item to make that money back.

Next thing you know, 6 months later you get an invoice from them deducting hundreds of dollars for, what they like to call, “floor stock protection”. What’s that? Remember that promotion of $2.00 off a case? Well they had 100 cases of your product in their warehouse that they bought from you before the promotion. So they’re going to take $200.00 off since they had to sell it at a lower cost. But they’re buying product now at a lower cost. When the promotion is over, any product they have left over they can sell at full price. Doesn’t matter. They win both ways.

So back to your $10.00 product that you want to make 30% on….seems like you’ll have to charge $20.00 in hopes that 70% of that nonsense is covered.

Supermarkets suck.


Leave a Reply