BOGOF and honesty

I seem to be ranting a lot lately. Perhaps it’s that time of the month, or something.
 
The concept of the BOGOF – ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ – seems to me to be, at its heart, cynical and dishonest.
 
Those who devised the BOGOF deal know full well that most people are easily hooked by something that’s ‘free’ – even when it so blatantly isn’t. Free, that is.
 
An honest description of a ‘BOGOF’ deal would be ‘this is our normal price for this quantity of this product’ – which, of course, is how most things are sold. But the BOGOF adds a twist, a suggestion that you’re getting something more cheaply than you otherwise would – a nonsense, when the standard package is simply twice the quantity. So many products are now on perpetual BOGOF that what it really means is that the product’s normal price is half what it says on the tin.
 
Consider: if I want a product that’s on BOGOF but I only want, need, or can make sensible use of a single pack – I am at liberty to buy that single pack on its own. There’s nothing illegal about the way BOGOF works – although perhaps it should be, since if I do buy that single pack I am effectively paying twice as much as I should be for it. The truth is that BOGOF is not a ‘bargain’ – it’s a CON.
 
In reality, I will take the second ‘free’ pack – I’d be mad not to – and that may mean that I’ll eat more of it than I otherwise would, or throw away the excess when it spoils (so much for ‘free’!). Non-perishable BOGOFs I could store for later… hmmm… are there any non-perishable BOGOF deals?
 
If it’s truly ‘Buy One Get One Free’ then I should be able to take my ‘free’ pack (it’s mine, is it not?) at another time – but in the real world of course, that’s not going to happen.
 
The honest way to sell BOGOF ‘deals’ would be to package the ‘two lots’ as the single lot it actually is. This would save on packaging costs, which would mean that a real saving, not a fictitious one, could be passed on to the customer. This would also benefit the environment: those who sell us stuff really should be looking at ways to cut down on packaging. I suspect that the reason why this doesn’t happen is because the sellers simply wouldn’t be able to move the volumes they do if they didn’t package it as a ‘one for free’ ‘offer’ – at least, not without reducing the price substantially. Which, of course, they don’t want to do. Why would they? They don’t have to: we keep falling for the scam over and over, like mindless lemmings streaming off a cliff.
 
Please don’t insult my intelligence by trying to claim that the ‘discount’ is simply a matter of economies of scale: the available quantity of any product has always been a factor in that product’s price. If a supplier has too many of something, the price should fall – unless, of course, one has a monopoly. Arguably the supermarkets are moving inexorably in that direction – ‘free market’? Perhaps not.
 
I was in the supermarket just the other day looking for nectarines. I couldn’t find them… thankfully the supermarkets still have human assistants (but for how much longer?). So I walked up to a friendly assistant and asked where the nectarines were hiding. As almost always happens, I felt stupid because the big sign was right there under my nose. It was a little bit hard to see because of the stack of empty crates piled up by it.
 
The friendly assistant took pity on my dim-wittedness and checked through the crates. Then he said, "Oh, it looks like we’ve sold out. That’ll be because they’re on half price this week."
 
Um. I must be even more dimwitted than I thought I was, I’m clearly missing something. Why does something sell out so quickly if it’s on a ‘half-price’ offer, yet BOGOF (read: ‘half-price’) deals sit there week after week?
 
Reason: BOGOF is a marketing ploy: a cynical device to persuade consumers to buy more than they would normally.
 
BOGOF is demeaning – it treats us as simple consumers, not respected customers. To these massive commercial businesses, we aren’t really people, you and I: we’re just product sinks and profit sources; easily manipulated to buy what we’re sold as we push our trolleys around on habitual autopilot.
 
But then as we continue to vote, with our feet, for the supermarkets instead of the high street and corner shop, perhaps we’re simply reaping the future that we have ourselves sown.
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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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4 Responses to BOGOF and honesty

  1. Sally Ann says:

    I do support the local independent shops whenever I can.  It may cost a little more, but when was the last time Tesco or Asda put a marrowbone by for your dog when you went to buy some chops?

  2. jane says:

    But I do like the dinky wine carriers they give u ! LOL ok now that is shallow… ermm, I like to go to the little places when I know I specifically want something, thats just beacause I can\’t stand all the crowds and people just milling about in the huge supermarkets, they go as if it\’s a day out……
    i used to buy very local produce when I lived in the country.
    next time if u dont want to blog about something  that makes u moan, think happy thought ! OMG i sound like a happy clappy person !
    take care skiing one
    jane xxxxx

  3. Tinks says:

     Flying in to say hello… 🙂
    Thankyou for your lovely comment…
    Hope you have a lovely weekend…
    Wishing you Sunshine and Magic Always!!
    Tinks xXx

  4. Vicky says:

    Well now, not all of us shop in supermarkets and not all of us feel demeaned by bogoffs. I shop locally as much as I can, farmers markets or the local market in Northampton. Most of my other stufff is bought from small shops near to where I live, corner shops in particular. I still have my milk delivered in glass bottles which I rinse out and return. I have made a point of NEVER shopping at neither Sainsbury\’s or Tescos on principal. Occasionally I buy food from M&S and sometimes something or other from Waitrose but I have never bought all my weekly needs from a single source in my life.  
    Looking down your book list I see that I have read all but two of them and thinking about your roaring fire with the wind in the chimney, well you know, winter is really not so far away! Last night I wrote the final episodes of my spaceship story (in case you are wondering) That means there are about thirty left to publish, and for you to read, before the end. I have a new storytheme I am working on already. I am being treated to a fish and chip supper this evening so must go off now and put some clothes on……………….. mind how you go. XXVickyXX

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