Saturday, July 21

Decoding Special Offers...

I always find it annoying when I am confrinted with special offers that sound so good. So I thought I would write a guide to what they really mean. Here goes:

3 for 2

At first this sounds fantastic. You buy two products and you get one free!
But with all these discounts, you need to translate it into a monetary value of a single item. You then find out what you are really getting. In this case imagine that the 3 products are containers and two are filled to the top with a liquid, where the liquid is the cost of the 3 for 2 offer. To understand how much you are paying you need to take liquid from the two full containers to fill the third, untill all three have equal amounts.

Say each product is £1 then the cost per product is (£1 + £1)/3 = 2/3 = 66p each
So the discount is 33%

BOGOF (Buy one get one free)

Same principle applies as the 3 for 2 offer.
Say each is £1 then the cost  per product is 1/2 = 50p each
The discount is 50%
A bit obvious really but like the 3 for 2 deal, it's easy to forget exactly what you are getting.
When they say you are getting a whole one free, psychologically it sounds better than getting 50% or half off the price. What you have to remember is that it isn't just the amount of goods that is important, the money you pay per item is the real info of interest.

5 products for £3 (products normally cost 79P each)

This is an example I came across this week.
Sometimes they use a different tactic and this sort of thing can require mental arithmetic that can be difficult on the spur of the moment. I'm not brilliant with mental maths standing in a shop staring at the prices!
I cracked this one by first assuming the deal was 5 for £1. That would mean each was 20p.
So then to crank it up to 5 for £3, we just multiply 20p by 3, which gives 60p each.
So in this case the discount is 24%

All of this of course assumes that the special deals are genuine. That the manufacturer hasn't changed the product for the period of the deal, to make the product cheaper, or that the retailer hadn't for a short period increased the price (legally) only to reduce it to the 'normal' price for the special deal offer.

Often the only time you can be sure of a good deal is when a product is an 'end of line' product or the 'use by' and 'sale by' dates are coming up.

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