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Friday, February 24, 2012

Assumptions and Store Loyalty

I used to have big issues with "corner grocery stores", or "mom and pops" grocery stores, because I knew them to generally be expensive and tending to rip people off.
I believed in the "mega stores", knowing that with a larger sales base, the mega stores are able to take some losses and have good sales and still come out on top.
So I suggested to people to stay away from the "corner store", and to shop at cheap "mega stores". And in a way I was mistaken.
Not 100% mistaken, but its not always the best advice, I've learned.
My corner grocery store (ok, not on my corner, but its the walkable one in my community, the convenient one where people shop out of ease), not so long ago, was purchased by a supermarket chain. The store pretty much stayed the same, the workers stayed the same, and I still kept out of the store because "I do not shop at corner grocery stores".

Meanwhile, my "favorite supermarket", the one that has amazing loss leader sales... has been having prices that have been somewhat less than amazing lately, but still, that's where I keep on shopping because its "cheaper there than at the corner store". Or is it?
Not necessarily.
Its because of that sneaky trick that stores do that gets even the best of us.
Buying your loyalty.
Making you have store loyalty.
And boy, did they get me good.
Not only did I shop exclusively at that store, I scoffed at people who shopped at the corner store, and recommended that people shop at "my store".
Store loyalty? Bah.
It makes fools out of the lot of us.


What exactly is store loyalty? Its that marketing gimmick that stores use to make you fall in love with their store, making you shop exclusively there, because you assume its better, and even when it stops being better, even when its a bad idea to shop there, you still shop there, because the store bought your loyalty.
The ways stores do this is by offering something special that'll make you think its worth your while to buy there.
In my store, it was the loss leader vegetables, certain veggies sold for 12 cents a pound every Tuesday, and their chicken sales, whole chickens for 85 cents a pound on Wednesdays. And people come for these sales, and get those amazing loss leaders, but while they're there, they do their entire shopping, often buying things that are making the store quite  profit, and often buying things that would be cheaper to buy elsewhere. But you don't notice it, because you're not even comparing prices because you don't even bother going to other stores to price compare because you think your store has the best prices because of store loyalty...

And now we get to the other part of the post.
The assumptions.
I never bothered checking out the prices at the corner store, because I assumed "Why bother? Corner stores are expensive!"
Little did I know.
My corner store started selling veggies on Sunday, Monday, AND Tuesdays at 25 cents a pound, and they are selling more types of veggies at that price than "my loss leader store" was selling for 12 cents a pound. And they sell fruit for that price at times, whereas at the "loss leader store", fruit were always dreadfully expensive.
On top of that, the corner store in my community sells tuna fish at a terrific prices as well as canned corn and canned mushrooms, and recently they started selling gluten free chemical free cereal for so cheap!
Its amazing. They also have free delivery if you spent over 40 dollars versus the 6 or more dollars I have to pay for delivery from the "loss leader store".
I avoided that store for so long because it seemed like a money waster to me, but turns out that I shouldn't be so loyal to that "loss leader store" or so opposed to shopping at the corner store.
I made an assumption about which store was better than the other, and quite frankly, that assumption was stupid.

Speaking of assumptions...
Buying from the bulk bins is cheapest, right?
Not necessarily.
Right near my "loss leaders store", there is a "By weight store" that sells things from bulk bins as well as certain health food items. I know lots of people do their shopping there for many things, like legumes and grains and nuts, and assume that since the things are sold from bulk bins its cheapest... But if you price compare, you'd find that approximately half the grains and legumes they sell are actually more expensive than the standard price at the "loss leader store".
Yes, there are certain rules about what is cheaper, usually buying from bulk bins is cheaper, but usually isn't always. Usually it is cheaper to shop at the big supermarkets and not the corner store, but usually isn't always.

I know that health food stores are a fortune, and I avoid them like the plague... but on Tuesday, when I was in the city, I specifically went to the health food store and purchased some things there- specialty gluten free flours, grains, and seeds.
Why?
Because I price compared, and surprisingly, certain things were much cheaper at the health food store than they were in other places. Millet. Corn flour. Rice flour. Tapioca starch.

Assumptions. They make us do silly thing because we assume things will be a certain way.
Store loyalty? A way to make the store owner's wealthier, but usually do that by making the customer poorer.

What's the solution?
Price comparing. Doing a little homework and finding out which store really sells that specific  thing for cheapest, and buy it there- don't let store loyalty trick you into spending much more money than necessary on an item.

Skip the store loyalty.
Drop the assumptions.

It'll help you lots.

Have you ever had store loyalty to one or two stores, which you then realized weren't so great after all? Where there every any incorrect assumptions that you made that ended up costing you money? If so, what were they?


Linking up to Frugal Friday, Simple Lives Thursday,

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