Finding holes in supermarket systems

Had a pleasant surprise at Tesco tonight when I got to the till. I had two money off vouchers – one that arrived in the post for my Clubcard (£7 off when I you spend £70) and one that Samantha received from her last shopping trip (£5 off when you spend £40) – so I felt reasonably covered. If I managed to buy a lot I could use the large voucher and if  didn’t then I could fall back onto the smaller voucher. So, after accumulating £70+ of groceries (not all alcohol, mind), I gave the till operator the £7 off voucher. She noticed the other voucher in my hand and asked what it was for. I explained my plan and she said that I could instead use BOTH vouchers for £12 off as they from different promotions. Now that is customer service (and a poorly designed promotion).

In a similar vein, Waitrose has a design feature in their pricing system where volume discounts and reduced-to-clear items work together. For example, let’s say there’s an offer where you can get three items for the price of two. The till system handles this by charging you for three and then crediting you back the price of one. When the items are reduced in price, such as when the use by date is today, then the till system charges you the reduced price for the three items but then still credits you back one at the full price. I haven’t yet found an offer where I was able to be credited enough to mean Waitrose ended up paying me to take the items off their hands but I’ve been close a few times.

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