Trawling Waitrose for red stickers

I love the badly designed computer system Waitrose use to match barcodes to prices. I’m sure they’ll fix it eventually but for the moment there’s still the chance you’ll find a bargain that means they pay you to take food away.

When Waitrose reduce the price of an individual item because it’s reached the sell by date or is from a discontinued range, they put a replacement barcode sticker over the one printed on the product packaging. As a loyal customer of Waitrose, I’m always happy to assist in clearing their shelves of items they want to get rid of. All in a good cause, etc.

Once a reduced item is found, the hand scanner will helpfully display if there is an offer associated with it. Such as the one today on the Essentials range – buy 2, get 1 free (or BTGOF as we call it). Now the way the till works is to charge for three items and then refund one at the end. The refund, though, is not of the price charged but instead that taken from the pricing database for the item.

Today was an especially good example of how to game the system. Waitrose had decided to shift Essentials mashed potato by pricing it at 19p instead of £1. My brain soon worked out that the till would charge me 57p for three packs of mash and then refund me £1. That would mean Waitrose paying me 43p to help clear their shelves.

So I only bought nine. Didn’t want to appear greedy, you see.

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