Shopping Discussion

Multi-buy sales at grocery stores

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 13th, 2010 2:04 am
Deal Addict
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Jan 30, 2007
3036 posts
iheartpepsi wrote: 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?
It has nothing to do with a forced quantity. It's simply a discount for buying more. If you don't want more, you don't have to buy more, but you pay the non-discounted price. Another example then, since you seem to have chosen to ignore the basic beer example - go to Timmy's, and you get one doughnut at one price, 6 at another and 12 at yet another. Is the price for 1, 1/12 of the dozen price? No. Should it be? Based on your comments, it should be, because it's a 'forced quantity'. You can buy movie tickets the same way, and often you can buy discounted services by pre-paying for multiples. Heck, I take the bus and the choice is between a single purchase trip ticket at $2.50 or a bulk-buy (book of 10 tickets) for about $2.25/ticket. Is that unfair or forced quantities? Not at all. The consumer has a choice - pay a lower price for multiples, or a higher price for singles.

Some stores (Superstore is one) sometimes have a certain lower price for the first x number of items, and anything over x is a higher price. Should a customer be able to get 20 of the item at the discounted price even if the lower price is for the first two? According to you, they should be able to because different prices for a certain number of items (whether it's 'the first two' or 'buy four for...') is somehow unfair.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 9, 2003
7851 posts
This already happens at safeway with their stock up and save pricing. To be fair, they clearly state that to get the lower pricing you must buy the minimum or more

I am 100% ok with that - when I first moved here I was incredulous at the fact you did not have to buy the quanties that it had advertised.

Made no sense, since if the store really wanted to give you the discount on a single item, it would be advertised as $x each instead of $x for 3 units
Deal Addict
Sep 23, 2005
1528 posts
I read an interesting case-study from the UK that was made on this practice several years ago. It found that for typical non-warehouse-format grocers, the presumed economies of making customers buy larger quantities were pretty much non-existent after everything was factored in. I can't remember all the details of it, but some of the key points were:
  • increased product handling costs due to the need to either devote more floor/shelf space or else spend more on labor to have employees restocking shelves more often to accommodate the larger turnover of MB (multi-quantity buy) items;
  • increased consumer dissatisfaction/misunderstanding over requirement to purchase set quantities of MB items
  • diversion of management/supervisory staff time/effort in dealing with aforesaid consumer dissatisfaction
  • increased head-office administrative and legal costs in handling inquiries from government authorities triggered by consumer complaints
  • total sales of MB items tracked by the study over a long-term period (12 or 18 months or whatever it was) increased only marginally, or actually declined (for most items people will ultimately only consume as much as they really need or want)
Be interesting to know how thoroughly Canadian retailers are actually tracking all these factors and what the true net impact on the bottom line is of their increase in MB pricing.
Deal Addict
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Sep 14, 2004
3801 posts
iheartpepsi wrote: 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?

I'm not a fan of this practice at all! Before Metro it was Dominion and they followed the same tactics. Eventually they changed it to where you could just buy one of the said items and still get the sale price. I have been following the tags closely lately and they changed it to enforcing the 'buy all now' policy. I'm not a fan of it at all. I really thought Metro was going to come through and offer more to the customer but that hasn't been the case. It's pathetic.

What needs to happen is customer complaints. The more people that complain to their head office the greater the chance that things will turn out better for the consumer.
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Sr. Member
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Jul 14, 2005
667 posts
I don't mind some having to buy multiple quanities sometimes. But my beef is with RCSS, you must buy the exactly the same item. You can't mix flavors (like different types of chips for example, or salad dressing, etc.


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