You just can’t trust them. Supermarkets behave like tax dodgers; just as soon as one loophole closes they manage to open another loophole, and the point of using all these loopholes is to deceive their customers.
The Office of Fair Trading has been looking at supermarket practices in relation to the way they display, promote and advertise prices. These days a price is no longer a price but some kind of moveable device. If you are stupid you will inevitably pay more than a clever person for the same goods. If you are trusting you will also pay more that if you are suspicious. This is simply because you cannot trust the supermarkets to deal with you fairly; they prefer to manipulate you in order to persuade you to buy.
One trick that the supermarkets often use is to sell in large packs which give the impression of better value when the value is the same. Another trick is to make a special offer of a price reduction which continues far longer than the original price that is advertised as being reduced against.
Now most of the supermarkets are signing up to a code which prevents them from carrying our certain tricks and deceptions; no doubt that having agreed not to get up to old tricks they will invent some new tricks.
What the Office of Fair Trading has not covered is the way that supermarkets do offer good financial value for some foods but at the expense of the environment. For example, selling oranges by the bag at “two for the price of one” harms the environment. Virtually everyone who sees such an offer will buy more than they need, and in the case of some foods buying more than you need means food being thrown away, or people constantly over indulging in food.
Instead of rewarding those who buy more it is more logical to reward those who buy less. “One for 40% of the price of two” doesn’t really have a catchy tone to it.
I confidently predict that in a few years time another Office of Fair Trade investigation will lead to another code of practice as the marketing departments of the supermarkets strive to find ways to make us buy more than we need. You see, it makes no difference to the supermarkets’ profits if you consume what you buy or throw it away.