When retailers and their special offers abuse our trust
Placing the most popular products furthest from the entrance; impulse purchases at the tills; ensuring that whatever you went in for, you walk past as many products and up all the bastard aisles before you find it - we've all know that millions are spent by supermarkets on researching new ways to brainwash us while we mosey on through.
There's point-of-sale material too, in-store marketing such as the legendary Tesco yellow labels. Because they have physical stand-out and represent a financial saving to us, we're effectively trained by Tesco to become sensitive to their presence and more susceptible to purchasing the item on offer.
The same is true of all retail stores; point-of-sale material is there to teach us what the shop would prefer we bought. Eventually, we come to trust these offers because as beneficial as they are to retailers if we make a purchase, we make a saving too. Everyone's a winner it seems, unless the trust is abused:
Bitterwallet reader Stuart Ashton found the above example and sent it to us - the sticker promised a saving and the customer saw no reason to doubt it, so he trusted it and bought the item. Another "pointless" offer from the high street or against the law? According to Consumer Direct when we asked them earlier, most certainly the latter. It may have been a one-off mistake, but advertising a product as reduced in price when it isn't would put a shop on shaky ground with Trading Standards.
How does the situation differ with our recent example of the Argos sale? In that case, though some goods were available for less before the sale, a comparison to previous prices was provided. Even while we may think that's very confusing for the customer, Argos played by the rules of consumer law. in the example above, the retailer appears to have marked an item as reduced in price without bothering to reduce it, and without providing any evidence that the item may have been sold at a higher price in the past six months.
If you find any examples of the high street abusing your trust during the sales, send them to us at [email protected] If you're not too busy calling Trading Standards, that is.