Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'm THAT Customer

One of my very closest friends moonlights as a grocery store checkout chick as her second job - she's determined to put her daughter through private education, and as a single mother who has never recieved a cent of child support, that is how she is doing it. *Snaps* to her.

In chatting recently about my shopping habits, she looked at me in horror, and exclaimed "you're THAT customer".

I tend to do my shop late at night, once dinner is out of the way, they kids are clean and in bed and I have time to think. The beautiful thing about that, is late at night is when all the fresh items start to get marked down.

I start my shop at about 10pm with a swing past the bakery to see if anything is marked down yet. If nothing is marked down, I get the items I have on my list, and if there is something I am hoping will be marked down and there is only 1 or 2 left, I grab it as well.

Then on past the deli, fruit and veg, and meat sections, looking again for things that have been marked down. Things like combined soup veggie bundles, salad bags, pre prepared foods (soups, indian dishes, cheese platters etc) get marked down 2-3 days before their best before, then again 1-2 days, then again on the day. Often by the time I pick it up its down to 10-20% of its original price.

I swing around the store and do the rest of my shop, then I go back to the bakery, deli, and fruit and veg.

You see, by the time I am finished, often the mark down labelling machine has been put to good use and there are new items that have been discounted, or further discounted. And if the staff member is still sitting there marking things down, I sweetly smile, and lean against the counter to watch and wait. They hate performing under scrutiny and will often ask what item I am waiting for and mark it down just for me.

Remember the bakery items that I grabbed because there was only 1 or 2 left? I even produce it back from my trolley and ask for a discount. And if it's not being discounted I put it back.

And finally, I check the discounts. If the little orange label stated 40% off, I check to make sure it is genuinely 40% off. Sometimes the labeller will enter the wrong start price to discount, so the end value is wrong. If it says 40%, I make sure I am getting 40%.

The service counter girls watch me closely as I check the prices, no doubt dreading that it will be their checkout I approach to have it corrected. But at the end of the day, I end up with bakery treats at less than the cost I could make them for, to use as lunch box snacks, deserts etc, as well as meats and veggies as rock bottom prices to keep our budget down.

My final tip? Don't buy too much stuff marked down - its all close to expiry and you need to be able to use it before it becomes uneatable. Only buy it if you know it will be used on time, and only buy it if it substitutes something else. No point stocking up on bakery treats and also make a cake that week. You won't save any money if its just an additional purchase.

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