Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Another supermarket helping people on autism spectrum

I’ve already posted about what my local Tesco store is doing to help people with this disorder and I noticed that the Rawtenstall branch of ASDA, in association with the National Autistic Society is doing its bit as well.

The Meet Jenny  activity was inspired by the way her 4-year old boy was helped by using symbols and pictures. So her little helper activity is a velcro-backed visual shopping list showing a range of items. It helps people with autism to avoid being overloaded with information.

Which supermarkets are still treating suppliers badly?


custom_text_delivery_truck_13837Well it’s Morrisons that has the worst record at the moment according to the industry watchdog, the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).

20% of a survey of 1,000 suppliers said that Morrisons rarely or never complied with industry rules governing supply chain relations. Recently Morrisons were forced to pay back £2 million they had demanded in cash from suppliers.

David Morrison, the Chief Executive of Morrisons was formerly with Tesco so has obviously carried over some of the bad tactics they previously used.

Now Tesco is considered the most improved main grocer in terms of supplier relations only 6 months after it was the subject of a major investigation and a scathing report.

Iceland and Asda were also thought be in breach of the legally binding code of practice.

On the positive side Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Lidl were most likely to comply consistently well with the rules.

The GCA Christine Tacon said that most…

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Bananas – we love ’em but waste a lot


P1030766Bananas are the UK’s most popular health snack with 80% saying they like them,

We each eat three a week on average or 12kg a year and 20% of us eat one every day.

However we also throw away 160 million of them according to a survey by Sainsbury’s – enough to stretch from the UK to New Zealand.

One in three of us throw a banana away if it has the slightest blemish or black mark.

Someone wrote to the Times bout this saying that they got bruised because supermarkets store them the wrong way. They put them on the shelves “canoe” style rather than like an arch or hanging them which makes them bruise more easily.

Food waste is worse than packaging waste as it produces methane, which is more likely to cause global warning than carbon dioxide.

In total there may be £1 billion of food thrown away…

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Supermarket prices-confused.com

If you think that you get good value from your supermarkets maybe you should think again.

All the price cutting campaigns appear to be just smokescreens to actually increase the cost of your basket.

The Sunday Times reported on research at Warwick University which examined prices between 2003 until the end of 2010. They found that supermarkets would reduce prices on lots of items by amounts as small as 1p but at the same time increase the price on others by up to 10p.

The researchers think the stores are exploiting the “number blindness” experienced by shoppers faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of price changes.

The ST article gives examples such as Tesco changing the price of Dolmio microwave sauce 88 times over the 8 year period. 40 of the changes were 1p reductions but others were increases of up to 10p.

Sainsbury’s did something similar with Hellman’s Mayonnaise: 46 changes of which 16 were 1p reductions and increases on 10 occasions of up to 10p. Sainsbury’s appeared to have fewer price cuts than Tesco or Asda.

Tesco also came in for criticism from the Grocer magazine which found that over the past 6 weeks Tesco had put up prices on 3 products for every 2 it reduced. Examples were a 35% increase in the price of chicken pieces ie up 69p and up to 35% increases on cooked meat – and all this is during the Big Price Drop campaign!

The supermarkets all claim that they offer the best possible prices to their customers. You make up your own mind.

PS I’ve written before on the supermarkets’ habit of increasing prices and then dropping them but to a higher base level. These price fluctuations are just one example of the psychological ploys used by supermarkets.

1 Comment

Rockets & Parachutes

That’s what it’s called in the retail industry when they con you about price reductions.

First it was Tesco with its“Big Price Drop” and now ASDA are up to the same tricks with their “Rollback” offers.

Basically they artificially increase the price somewhere before reducing it – but not necessarily back to the previous level. Sometimes the “reduced  price” is higher than the original price.

The Times gave examples such as Heinz salad cream price being “rolled back” to £2 from £2.37 when it was £2 a couple of weeks previously.

Similar situation with Bailey’s Irish Cream. And Branston baked beans went from 52p up to 64p before being “rolled back” to a new higher price of 58p, a 12% increase.

About a third of all goods in supermarkets are on special offers at the moment, offers which can actually cost you more. Supermarkets use all the psychological tricks to encourage us to spend more from positioning of products, use of colour eg green to suggest freshness, and offering you the chance to save money.

With supermarkets reducing the size of products but keeping the price the same eg with chocolate bars, with some products costing more for larger sizes when you would expect them to be cheaper eg light bulbs at Tesco, genuine cut price deals are as rare as hen’s teeth.