Shopping Discussion

Multi-buy sales at grocery stores

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  • Sep 13th, 2010 2:04 am
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[OP]
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Jun 22, 2009
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Multi-buy sales at grocery stores

As in sales that are like 4 for $4. I've noticed lately that some stores, particularly Metro, are enforcing the minimum quantity you need to buy in order to get the sale price, rather just being able to buy one at the sale price (example, if you don't buy 4, and instead just 2 or 3, you get charged say $1.50 each instead of $1).

I guess it makes more sense for the store to have a sale if they can move larger quantities, but do the few people who don't buy the max really make that much of an impact that it has to be mandatory? Most stores run out of stock anyway, regardless of the multi-buy/separates purchasing.

Personally, having to carry home large quantities of items, especially if they're heavy, just isn't feasible, and I hate being forced to buy their set quantity, so I refuse to support these kinds of sales anymore.

Your thoughts?
19 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2010
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I think this might backfire. Right now one of the main advantages that regular grocery stores have over the big warehouse type stores is that you can just go in and pick up something when you find out you need it, then walk home with it in a bag. If you need to buy 4 things of juice to get a fair price, why not just go to Costco, Walmart etc and get a big one for less? You'll need to drive either way if you buy that much. Personally I would be less likely to shop at a store that does this (I've never experienced any of the Loblaws-type ones enforcing this), because I don't like feeling ripped off if I just need to buy one. In my mind what this highlights is how much the store inflates its regular prices - who wants to buy a sale item for the regular price? If it's only Metro, it just reinforces my decision to not shop there even though it's the closest one.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 22, 2009
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Agreed. Juice is the most ridiculous item I've seen Metro do this on (usually requiring you to buy 3-4 1.5 or higher Litre jugs to get the sale price). I've only seen Loblaws have this type of sale a few times, but not at all since maybe early spring. I could be wrong however. Metro is definitely the main offender though. Between that and their already higher than most prices (plus my local always seems dirty, and their open olive/pickles/seafood section is the most revolting smell ever) there's not much incentive to shop there aside from when I need something quickly since it's the closest. They also have their Buy 1 (at an inflated price) get 1 Free sales which are essentially the same sort of sale under a different name.
Deal Guru
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Aug 20, 2005
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It's not just Metro. I was just at SDM and didn't buy several items because of this. At SDM, it was pop and chips and I only wanted one and didn't want to be forced to buy multiples of junk food just to get the sale price. I did buy cat food though. They were 3 for $.99 or $.49 each. The first two rung in at $.49 and the third rang in for $.01. One time I didn't buy them in threes (the price was much higher then) and I had to go back and get a refund plus an extra can of cat food. Depending on the price, the third item can ring in for a negative price.

Zellers also does this too. I bought these neon green micro-fibre towels on clearance once. They were $2 each or 3 for $1. I only wanted one but since it was cheaper to buy 3, I bought 3. Sobey's does multi-buy but the one time I bought something that had a higher individual price, I only got charge the sale price when I bought 1. You really have to watch the price signs when buying these items.
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Dec 3, 2009
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Those sales usually are garbage and seldom have I seen the multi buy sale come close to 50%. You likely wont find any that good of sales because the stores are still make a little bit of money off of those. The items I usually see on sale for the multi-buy deals at other store anyway every 4 weeks and you only need to buy 1.
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Dec 3, 2009
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Cheap Cat wrote:
Sep 11th, 2010 4:36 pm
It's not just Metro. I was just at SDM and didn't buy several items because of this. At SDM, it was pop and chips and I only wanted one and didn't want to be forced to buy multiples of junk food just to get the sale price.
I meant to mention this. lol @ SDM always having the junk food sales...especially buying 4-5 sleeves of pringles...usually having 1 unit of junk in the house is bad enough....let alone having 4 bags of chips. They will be gone in the same amount of time.
Remember to be an RFD-er and NOT a degenerate.
Newbie
Jul 24, 2010
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What happends if there is only 2 items left of one product, and you need 3 items to get the sale price?
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Apr 4, 2009
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trebor204 wrote:
Sep 11th, 2010 7:39 pm
What happends if there is only 2 items left of one product, and you need 3 items to get the sale price?

From what I experienced at RCSS (Superstore), you are SOL.... Unless there happens to be a manager in that can override the system.
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Deal Fanatic
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Jan 11, 2008
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You're right that a lot of people don't want to buy multiple items all the time. It is only worthwhile if you have the space for it and you're going to use it before it expires.

Not sure of all the reasons behind this, but I wonder if price matching is a possible reason that is causing these to become more common? I know No Frills will not price match multi-buys.

Does anyone know if Walmart price matches multi-buys?
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Mar 12, 2010
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Yeah, metro is too expensive anyways. Loblaws only does this extremely rarely, and not usually in advertised prices.
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Jan 30, 2007
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iheartpepsi wrote:
Sep 11th, 2010 3:44 pm
As in sales that are like 4 for $4. I've noticed lately that some stores, particularly Metro, are enforcing the minimum quantity you need to buy in order to get the sale price, rather just being able to buy one at the sale price (example, if you don't buy 4, and instead just 2 or 3, you get charged say $1.50 each instead of $1).
It depends on the retailer, but doing this makes perfect sense. Should you buy a single beer for 1/6 the 6-pack price, or 1/24 a carton price? It's a sale price for buying multiple items and just like any bulk purchase, if you don't want 4, don't buy 4...but don't expect the sale price.

Personally, I enjoy when I can buy less than the number at the sale price, but if it were to stop, would I complain? Not at all, because I've been receiving a benefit to which I was not really entitled, anyway. :)
[OP]
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Jun 22, 2009
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sillysimms wrote:
Sep 11th, 2010 11:00 pm

Does anyone know if Walmart price matches multi-buys?
I've done it for something that was on sale at Foodbasics that was 3/$2, but didn't have a "or $_ each" listed. The cashier even took the time to put the items in as 0.67, 0.67, and 0.66, until I realized and told him he could just put 0.67 for them all to make it easier.
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Jan 11, 2008
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iheartpepsi wrote:
Sep 12th, 2010 2:10 am
I've done it for something that was on sale at Foodbasics that was 3/$2, but didn't have a "or $_ each" listed. The cashier even took the time to put the items in as 0.67, 0.67, and 0.66, until I realized and told him he could just put 0.67 for them all to make it easier.

That's good to know. Nice that the cashier was trying to work it out exactly for you :)
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Mar 12, 2005
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Superstore has been doing this for years... i'm not a big fan of it.. but usually in a larger size grocery visit, it only affects a few items.

what really pisses me off is the RCSS liquor store. Sometimes to get a sale price on the beer you need to buy 4 cases .. or if you want the sale price on a 750ml bottle of crown, you need to buy 2-4 bottles.. ugh.. epic fail.
[OP]
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Jun 22, 2009
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iamnotamerican.com wrote:
Sep 12th, 2010 2:03 am
It depends on the retailer, but doing this makes perfect sense. Should you buy a single beer for 1/6 the 6-pack price, or 1/24 a carton price? It's a sale price for buying multiple items and just like any bulk purchase, if you don't want 4, don't buy 4...but don't expect the sale price.
If these items were meant to be sold in bulk, they'd have been packaged in bulk. These are standard grocery stores, not bulk warehouses, so if I did want 4, and require a vehicle to make all my bulk purchases, why not just go to Costco, National Grocers, or Wal-mart, as someone above mentioned? Typically stores run out of stock regardless (and even faster if it's a forced quantity, which means unhappy customers when they can't get any. It's another reason I hate shopping at Metro anymore, because they're rarely stocked no matter the day or time), so what difference does it make?

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