Sainsbury's had discontinued it's budget range of food items. CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES There’s something poignant about the loss of childhood innocence, even when to retain it would be an encumbrance. You know the sort of scenario: suspicions raised when the tooth fairy forgets to come, or St Nicholas commits a wrapping-paper infraction visible only to a nosey eight-year-old.
Or when, as happened this week, it turns out that the big brands we know and trust have been having a giggle behind our backs. Ahead of an official report into misleading offers, a number of our leading supermarkets have announced they are to discontinue multi-buy deals. It turns out that bogofs – buy one, get one free offers – are a false economy, making us fork out on average over £1,000 more a year than we planned. A supermarket aisle Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Ocado were all found to be offering misleading deals CREDIT: ALAMY I wish I had filmed my teenage daughter at the moment she discovered that the supermarket (OUR supermarket!) had been tricking us! Us! Its loyal customers! Who shop there all the time! The conversation went something like this. Me: “Can you fetch me a pack of mushrooms, please?”
Her: “Here you go,” dropping carton into the trolley. Me: “Not those ones, the others are cheaper.” Her: “Durr, no they’re not. Compare the prices?” Me: “Durr, compare the weights? And then compare the prices?” Shopping trolley with food in it Buy one get one free deals cause shoppers to spend £1000 more a year than they planned. CREDIT: ALAMY She paused, and as she did the hasty calculation, she gasped.
“That’s terrible,” she said, reeling at the blatant legerdemain. “It’s almost like the supermarket Wants. To. Rip. Us. Off.” “No, darling, it’s not almost like that,” I soothed. “It is exactly like that.” "While there is no suggestion that Google has broken any law by paying such frankly trivial back taxes, it highlights that the law is too complex, and that it allows too much wriggle room." “But that’s not fai-ai-air!” she wailed.
Actually, I think we both wailed. “So, do you walk round the supermarket trying not to be tricked?” “Yes,” I said, sadly. “Yes, it’s a twist on the classic hunter-gatherer-sabretooth-predator dynamic. Every time I reject a buy one, get one free offer, I get a powerful surge of self-determination.”
I used to pick up bogofs in passing, assuming I was getting a bargain, which just turned out to be a waste of money going rancid in the fridge. Then came yoghurt-gate, the occasion when I bought so many multibuy Petit Filous, and became so exercised about the imminent use-by dates, that I ended waterboarding the children with strawberry fromage frais on the kitchen floor.