Saturday, 18 June 2011
The price of fish on a spreadsheet...
Electric Halibut covers an interesting point on his site, and it started me off one of my big moans about the supermarkets.
He points out the changes in sizes of wine boxes, which is a new one on me, well, until very recently.
When I walk into either Tesco or Sainsbury, I become an arithmetical lorry crash, and all my mental capacity for working out prices and best value just disappears at the drop of a 'BOGOF' leaflet! I actually don't mind these shops; you're in the warm, the car costs nothing to park, the people who work there appear to be from the same planet, and you can buy a television and a pair of underpants moments before you enquire about the price of sliced ham per portion.
Mr. Halibut describes how some wine boxes have shrunk in size, but not in value, and he's dead right! But that simple calculation of three bottles not four is a relatively easy one, because you can dash back to the bottles on the shelves, do a quick sum, and swish back before the fat idiot with a dumper trolley load of Uncle Bastard's greasy chips and nourishing pot-noodles, cottons on that there's possibly a bargain, and pinches the lot. However, we've only just noticed this three-not-four trick and it causes much more dashing, which at my time of life is inadvisable.
But the biggest moan for me, is the way they price their items to confuse the customer. How on earth can anyone be able to convert an item priced in kilograms (or 100 grams - worse), to price per pound in the few seconds before Waynetta prods you in the back with a garlic baguette? Or how does one work out the cost per item when a similar one next to it (from Bulgaria), is priced per pack of seven, but you get extra points and a free sandwich on Thursday! And in your head?
Of course, I blame 'MS Excel' for all this. Ever since Bill Gates said that apart from earning squillions, he'd invent the most irritating programme on the planet, the futile aspirations of anyone fiddling about with a spreadsheet, and discovering what will happen in the future, have meant that there's an awful lot of people nowadays, wondering what went wrong.
Except the supermarkets.
I'd just love to see their spreadsheets for the whole store. It's not just wine boxes is it? Surely it's the cheap bread on one day, the own brands, the Cola (I actually prefer the Tesco 17p one), the tiny packets of crisps, and the choc-ices which are the best value I've seen in years! That final line of figures on an enormous Excel page with an area approximately the size of East Anglia, would show that Scrobs paid just a few pennies more than he thought he was, and that's the icing on the cake (four for the price of three...)!
So I'm probably the same gullible old shopper, thinking I've spotted a bargain, (and sometimes I really have), but as that Monty Python character with all his limbs chopped off shouted once, 'I'll get you on the way back';
...and they do!