Hands up everyone who enjoys a secret rummage through the reduced label pile in the supermarket? Almost everyone likes getting something cheaper than it otherwise would be and there are few who have not snaffled a bargain at some point. But hands up again who has bothered to check their receipt to find out if their bargain was scanned properly by the checkout person.

After a recent near-disaster involving cake (only an eagle eyed person behind me saved me from paying the full price) I conducted an impromptu survey on the whole issue. The customer behind me said that she would absolutely return to the shop over even a 50p discrepancy if she noticed the reduction had not scanned.

And even the checkout person in Sainsbury’s said that it had happened to him, as a consumer, so many times that he always looks at the monitor himself to make sure that it has gone through on the cheaper price. He was however at pains to point out that it is not always the cashier’s fault.
Reduced labels are supposed to be placed on the front of the product in a very obvious way. When this is not done and they are hidden round the back somewhere the inevitable happens.

Reduced now: but what about at the till?
Another person chipped in that some people are slightly embarrassed to buy reduced labels and even if they saw immediately that the original price had been scanned in error, they would rather just pay than draw any attention to themselves as a serial ‘reduced’ buyer.
This obviously came as a shock to Footfaller whose normal MO is to pile the reduced items up together and say in a very loud voice ‘These are all yellow labels’. 

This sounds rather good for the supermarkets, which appear to be making plenty of money out of people’s embarrassment. And wouldn’t it be interesting to know how much extra money they make from labels being ‘incorrectly’ positioned on items.

But the consumer is fighting back as a quick trawl of the internet revealed that there another set of tricksters entirely, who are busy removing the reduced labels in order to re-attach them to perfectly in-date goods that they fancy buying. If noticed and challenged they merely say that it was lying in the reduced aisle guv, I know no more than you.

This fascinating revelation coincided with the first time I have ever seen a discounted label on an item in a Marks & Spencer shop which caused me to wonder if anyone has tried that in its stores. Considering that it was M & S who invented the whole concept of sell by dates to sell more food, it might be seen as their just desserts.