Be supermarket savvy

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By The Staff

Unit Pricing

Unit pricing stickers on supermarket shelves help shoppers determine which size is the best buy without having to carry a calculator. In addition to the price of the product, the stickers give the price per pound, per ounce, etc. This enables shoppers to compare prices of different sizes and brands by simply comparing the unit price figures. However, shoppers should be cautious when using unit price stickers to compare the prices of frozen and canned products of the unit prices of vacuum-packed or liquid-packed products. The unit price for food packed in liquid is figured on the basis of food plus packing fluid. For example, liquid-packed corn may have a net weight of 15.25 ounces, but approximately 4.75 ounces will be liquid. If a can has only 10.5 ounces of corn, is the unit price still a bargain over the frozen corn? You’d do well to check. Since unit pricing can occasionally be deceptive, it pays to read both the labels and unit price stickers for canned goods. And keep in mind that canned and processed foods generally have more sodium.

Checking Out at the Cash Register

There are still people today who spend hours planning their menus and shopping. They clip coupons, read newspaper advertisements, check their refrigerator and cupboards, and then prepare a shopping list. Once at the store, they compare prices carefully and adjust their menu plans to take advantage of in-store sale items. But when the cashier begins ringing up purchases on the cash register, these same shoppers are busy doing something else when they should be watching each price as it is rung up. Supermarkets generally have the worst error rate among retailers. Readers surveyed by Consumer Reports showed that 9 percent of all sales slips have an error. For example, cashier computer registers may unintentionally ring up last week’s nonsale price instead of this week’s sale price. Shoppers should observe each purchase price as it is rung up and question the cashier if something appears to be wrong. Some stores have a policy to give you the item free if you did not receive the sale price, so it pays to check.