Wednesday, December 08, 2010

the hypermarket conspiracy

Have you noticed how the Big 3 of Malaysia's hypermarkets never fail to place full page full colour advertisements in major dailies almost every single week?

And that in each of these ads they will claim to have the lowest price compared to their competitors?

Of course if you were to look carefully, the items they promote may look similar, but are actually different so there's no way you can make a proper comparison unless you drive to each hypermarket and compare them yourself.

So maybe for this particular week for Hypermarket C, the chicken breast may be cheaper by RM1.99 per kg, that olive oil may be the cheapest at RM29.99, and the latest yoghurt drink going for a song for only RM0.99.

They who stand to gain will be those who actually are looking to buy the chicken breast, the bottle of olive oil and that tub of yoghurt drink this week.

If you were to look for say, a bunch of grapes this week at Hypermarket C and it wasn't advertised as having the cheapest price, you might be offsetting whatever savings you had from the chicken, oil and yoghurt all combined.

For all we know, Hypermarkets C, G and T may be conspiring to take turns to advertise their "cheapest items" of the week.

C : So this week, my pick will be the olive oil la. It's been some time since we had promotion for this imported product.

G : Go ahead, I need to clear my grapes this week. You both can promote your mandarin oranges and Fuji apples if you like.

T : Fine with me, we just ran out of Korean grapes - placing those models in Korean traditional costumes sure helped with the sales! I'm thinking these imported products could do quite well once in awhile...

G : Oh ya? I can't be using Korean models just after yours. Nevermind, I have extra slots for the cherries and wine. Christmas is coming, Santa Claus will do.

C : This sure is fun! I'm glad we had this agreement. We have to look like we're passing the savings to our customers.

T : Of course! This is better than us competing heads-on with each other, trying to figure out which product to put up with the lowest price.

C : Look at it this way, it's win-Win-WIN for ALL of us!

T: Muahahahah!!!

G : *kicks T under the table* Remember, this conversation never took place... Shhhhh...!

More whisperings followed by rounds of laughter as each Hypermarket go their own way after their weekly meeting.


Crowned Fish said...

This actually does happen! We did this in the grocery store that I used to work at, and in the finance world there's constant talks on the dealer boards conspiring which "deal" they will rotate next.

Yap! It's 3088.. said...

In marketing, this is called loss leaders. this is to attract ppl to shop in the stores with the hope that people buy other more expensive stuff to compensate the cheaper goods (at cost maybe) they are selling. but stores hate people who just hoard loss leaders because they don't make any money out of these people. knowing the kiasu attitude, some stores do limit customers to a certain amount of the cheap items. there's no restriction in the UK for loss leaders but once they go off, they go off.

also interesting there are comparison websites for customers to compare the prices of items sold in different stores. is one of them. exciting to see the stiff competition here. consumer power!

neil said...

This is why you should know the regular prices of the things you usually buy, and once they're discounted, buy to the set limit :P

If there is something you desperately need, but is expensive, just buy 1 unit :D

(*gasp* I'm such an Aunty now...)

§nóflèk said...

Crowned Fish : aha! proof that this is not something i thought of in my head because i had too much free time... >.<

Yap : thanks for that, just learned a new phrase! found out that it's quite illegal in some places. of course the hypermarkets would never build their premises close to each other giving people to opportunity to check out prices, so i guess at the end of the day, they won't lose out (just like how insurance companies can survive).

neil : hehe not aunty at all. i try to keep that in mind too, but was abit clueless in the beginning when i had just come back so starting to "remember" prices now :p