Supermarket Secrets

  • Returns: A lot of returns and other items accumulate through out the store in a given day. The cashiers usually are the ones to put these away when there is down-time. With perishables most clerks would just do the "feel test" if it feels cold then they put it back on the shelf if it feels warm they will mark it damaged and it will not put it back. Well what I am trying to tell you is you could be purchasing perishables that have been defrosted. The best hint I can tell you is look at the package for signs of possible defrost.

  • Also on the note of returns: Have a non-perishable item that you do not want anymore? Does your supermarket sell this item? a lot of supermarkets are very lenient on their return policy. I know of a lot of stores that do not require a receipt for items under $10 why not bring your unwanted item back and get a few extra dollars! However remember that supermarkets are also becoming more high tech. If they want to investigate if they did in fact sell you the item they probably could. In big chain stores all transactions are stored in the computers and they can be called up by your card number check number, time/day of your order, or the manager can do a search and see if they actually sold this item when you say they did. This is why I would not try and bring high priced items back to a store you did not purchase it from.

  • Scanning Policy: a lot of stores have price accuracy policies. If any item scans at the wrong price you could get the item for free. If you notice this tell the cashier or go to customer service. There are limitations though as to the price of the item. See the store for details.

  • "Fresh or Free" policy: If you find an item that is out of date, you bring this item to the service desk with an identical, in date item and they will give you the in date (and sometimes the out of date) item for free! It helps them to keep the inventory moving and you get free groceries.

  • Supermarket Design: Most supermarkets are designed to slow you down as much as possible. Every extra minute you spend lingering will cost you $1.70 according to current research. The more time they get you to spend in their store the more money you will likely spend. This is why milk is put way at the back. A store is often designed so that you cannot even follow a straight path to the back but must move around the produce, the fresh backed bread, and the large displays in the middle of the aisles.
  • Supermarkets want you to think that they have across-the-board low prices, which is often not true. Many stores use a mix of highly advertised items sold at cost, then some at 5% above cost, and others at 10%, 15% and 20%. By keeping it confusing, stores can create the illusion that everything is at a rock bottom price.

  • Store-brands may be made by national-brand manufacturers.

  • Aisle Ends: Supermarkets strategically place nonsale items along with the big sale items at the end aisle displays. They hope the customer will buy the item thinking its on sale. Always look at the tag of an item before buying it.

  • Store Brands: Many store brands are made by the same companies who sell much more expensive brand-name products. Most supermarkets do not have the own manufacturing plants as it is cheaper for them just to have their products packaged by established manufacturers.

  • Productive Produce: Think it's a coincidence that you almost always have to walk through the produce department when you enter the supermarket? The produce is the second most profitable section. While it occupies a little over 10% of the supermarket, it brings in close to 20% of the store's profits.

  • Impulse buying:
    When you are bored and standing in line at the check-out counter, you may find yourself reaching for a magazine, a pack of batteries, duct tape, or chewing gum. It turns out that this section of the store sells roughly 3x as much merchandise per square foot as the rest of the store (Food Marketing Institute, Washington DC). Often these are high profit items. Batteries, for example, usually sell for less at discount department stores.

  • Products at eye level sells! Companies pay big bucks to place their products at adult eye level for adult sales or children's eye level for children's sales. Stocking fees or "slotting allowances" are often paid to place products at eye level. Brand-name products and high profit products are often sold this way.

  • Non-grocery convenience items such as medicine, motor oil, office supplies, and light bulbs are often over priced compared to other stores like Walmart.

  • Supermarkets may bargain with you:
    It is possible to get a lower price if the product is damaged or out of date. Also you may be able to substitute other items for sale items. Talk to a manager and be nice!

  • Some packages are being reduced in weight, but the packaging looks the same.
    This is done to increase profit without increasing the item price

  • "The Savings Card" : What a lot of people do not know is that when you have a discount card for a store that this card is being used to track your buying habits. Every time your card is swiped the supermarket keeps a record of what you bought. They use this information to for market research. If you are interested in this topic you can find more about it at:

  • Most supermarkets now have ATM Machines and most supermarkets also let you pay for your order using ATM cards. What a lot of people still do not know is that instead of paying the fee for withdrawing money from your bank account using the ATM you can simply purchase something from the store, use your debit card to purchase it, and ask for additional cash back. In the supermarket I worked for you could have the store charge your debit card for $200.00 over the amount of your bill and they will give you $200 cash back. They do not charge any fee for this so you save money.

    Other interesting stuff:
  • Most supermarkets have all the registers linked to a main computer. This main computer is usually located in the management or courtesy office. uses of the computer include making sure cashiers are being honest and faithful by ringing a customers order correctly. The manager is able to view current orders at a specific register with the computer and make sure everything that the customer had was in fact scanned.
  • Don't assume that everything at the end of the aisle is on sale. “You always want to check to see if there is any kind of sale sign. If there is not, guess what, you’re probably paying full price," says Lempert.

The fine print: This page was created and is maintained by the webmaster. Materials contained within this website are intended for personal entertainment only and in no way do I guarantee that the statements I made are true. No claims are made representing any company or individual.