Note to Trolls: this piece is ironic self-parody

Over at the website GoingFastGettingNowhere, there is yet more evidence of the old adage, ‘Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad’. Tesco is flogging 500ml of Russian Standard Brand vodka for £12. Not that cheap to be honest, which perhaps explains why the 750ml size right next to it is offering 50% more for £11.

This is the first evidence that has come to light so far of The Slog’s secret MI7-sponsored campaign to infiltrate Tesco’s price-marking teams. All over Britain, Sloggers have been holding their noses to don the 100% nylon blue uniform and sign up to help carve up the margins of Evil Tescopoly via the use of sabotage.

The effect on its home durables chain Home Plus is already apparent: The Times no less (and they don’t come any less) reports today that Tesco is keen to receive offers from, well, anyone really who might take this load of old whatnot off their grasping hands. Three piece suites being priced at £0.93p buy one get one free are bad for business.

Anyway, over at the ShopTesco Twitter page, there are now 47 followers, and 47 million derivative followers just waiting to swamp Big T with complaints and thus scupper its feeble attempt to make a comeback.

(Cue sound effects, manic cackle in echo chamber)

Learn more about Tesco’s dysfunctional moral hazard ethics here.


  1. It is if you buy the bargains and the reduced to clear, then walk out again. If all Tesco customers were like me, they’d be bankrupt.


  2. Or Sainsbury Tuna chunks in brine at 75p per tin. The multipack of 4 on the same shelf is £3.34.

    I haven’t been to Tesco since before Christmas so can’t give any of their examples. I used to buy their granary loaf, but the slicing machine was usually broken down or they had run out of bags for the sliced bread or some such excuse. In the end I gave up on them and have found a better loaf in Sainsbury.


  3. I am all in favour of any dig against Tesco,but I have no trade to withdraw from them.However there is another way.Share price 335p.Grant a June 2013 320 put and you will be paid 35p or so.Or ,grant a December 2012 400 put and you will be paid 81p or so.Either way,at worst you will be buying at under today’ s price,which IMHO is better value than their wares,or receiving interest free money from the counterparty.I am not a professional whatever,but the risk of them going bust(every option investor’s nightmare)is not there.BTW,Greece is bust by Christmas after the third debt rescheduling.


  4. Not confined to Tesco but why are coffee refill packs more expensive than the stuff that comes in the jar? Do the marketing folks think a ‘green’, recycling type of customer will pay extra for cheaper packaging?


  5. I buy Value Tuna for my cats and was horrified to see it had gone from 55p to 75p in a matter of weeks. I also found my receipt was wrong, I rarely check but now I wonder how often this has happened. I have shopped at Tesco for 14 years but now I will be trying other shops. I think the rot set in when they started to sell everything and I am fed up with things I like suddenly disappearing never to be seen again.


  6. Until I was laid off I never knew the price of anything. I just assumed that supermarkets were pretty competitive and much the same. Now, being unemployed and available for family exploitation as gardener, handyman, chauffeur etc. I take my old Mum for her shop at her local Morrison’s, whereas I usually use my almost local Tesco. (The local shop is a Coop, but this is usually inhabited by morons and zombies). Big containers of Persil washing liquid were £10 in Mn’s; “Woah,” I said, “They’re £5 in Tesco”. The following week Mn’s were down to £6. Gaviscon tablets vary from £3 to £3.75 at Mn’s; £5.08 at Tesco. The disparity in prices between and within shops is nonsensical. I still can’t grasp what the Slog’s objective is with this campaign, or when he feels the target has been reached. At the mo’ all I feel is a spreadsheet coming on.


  7. Hi John,

    Let me start by mentioning that I am a Tesco shareholder, not in the same league as Warren Buffit, but just a modest trance in my equally modest ISA account. I bought the shares two and a half years ago because I like the Tesco shopping experience.

    Your rage against Tesco’s is a rage against the quality of the staff that they employ. Do you really expect that amongst the thousands of employees that Tesco’s employ there can’t be one or two fools? Your rage is against the fools that Tesco’s employs.

    Now, I’ve gathered that for most of your working life the only shopping you did was in the cozy bars and upper class restaurants that advertizing executives frequent, buying only the best food and wines that the clients could afford. Walking along the shelves in a supermarket is a new and exciting experience for you!

    Well because of my wife’s illness I have been doing the shopping for the past decade or so. Like all things in life, shopping is a skill that you acquire, and it gets better with more experience. Have you discovered the UNIT PRICE tags yet? A wonderful innovation that allows you to compare and work out for yourself what the best buy is.

    If you want to make it illegal for Teco’s to employ fools you are not going to win. The kids today need a calculator to calculate the amount to charge if VAT at 20% is on a one pound item. Do you think they notice what is strange about the pricing you are blogging about?

    What you are doing is trying to let Teco’s take away the bargains that experienced and wide-awake shoppers encounter everytime they go shopping, in all shops staffed by just about minimum wage earners.


  8. @Louis Sallons

    “If you are so anti Tesco I would like to know why you still shop there. Not very principled is it”

    Maybe as a long standing advertising guru JW has a secret contract with Tesco and the campaign against Tesco’s bogus offers is a form of very clever subliminal advertising. By encouraging Sloggers into the stores to hunt down bogus 2 for 1 offers and deliberately overpriced items he is in fact encouraging more potential customers into the stores who may then do their weekly shopping while they are there. Devilishly clever don’t you think.


  9. I don’t think the issue is the quality of Tesco store staff; I am sure they are exemplary. It is Head Office management who are manipulating the prices. If you think the till assistant is changing the bill total, go to the self-scanning tills and feed it all through again. See how it compares, then tell them you were just checking.
    Tesco will lose their customer loyalty if they deserve to, and they will survive and flourish if they are pure as the driven snow.
    In my view, all ethics have left the marketplace; the big players have decided it is big dog eat little dog in the quest for a buck, and double points if you can make a dishonest profit.
    Dark times.


  10. Why not try Aldi and Lidl, next time. Good quality food, cheaper than any of the big boys. And it saves you from spending ANY money at Tesco.
    Give them a try. highly recommended!


  11. I was in Tesco (unusually today) and stocking up on my tinned and dried supplies. Check out the Baked beans offers.

    One in particular stood out that I can remember – Beans (Branston) on offer for 50p a can – 4 pack about 75p a can and 6 pack were about 90p a can – all marked up in different measures – per 100gm / per 1000 gm / Kg.

    Now I can work out the price per gm in t’bonce with ease – but your average 16yr old mum with 25 kids in tow aint gonna stand a chance of comparing and will probably grab the kan’o six (if the beneeze are up twit) assuming they’d be the cheapest – but the single can at 50p per – was the one to plump for. though if you’d bought a 4 pack a week or so ago – you’d have got it for a quid and an arf ! I know – I got some !

    Should add that the other beans were of assorted weights and measures too – bought none in the end and went to Lidl as per usual. did put a few of dem der reduced stuff in the basket though. Every Lidle helps :)


  12. Julie
    It’s very simple, but does no harm to repeat it: to raise awareness of a simple business reality at the supermarkets – to give you bargains on the mainstream items, they put the prices up on the ‘shoulder’ products. And to make themselves ‘look’ cheaper, they lie and mislead about whether something IS a bargain or not.
    I want to stop it across the piece.
    Most people don’t give a monkeys, but that’s not my problem.
    What I DO know is that if everyone for a period of time simply went into Tesco, bought the offers and walked out again, they’d be on their knees within a month.
    “Pie in the sky” say the Trolls. But it’s only pits because Trolls say “Pie in the Sky”.


  13. Thanks for your input JGM, but a few facts:
    1. I have had clients in the multiple retailing business since 1973. Fine Fare, Safeway, Budgens…the whole gamut.
    2. For that reason alone, I’ve always done the shopping in my two marriages. I don’t know why ‘advertising’ immediately evokes the politics of envy in Britain, but there you are: I spent 37 years creating jobs and building turnover for British companies. I don’t remember too many cosy bars being involved along the way.
    3. Go into any Tesco, and you will see that at least half the unit price tags are missing. It’s against the law….go into your local TSO and report it – see how far you get.


  14. Perhaps it’s for the “advertising man” (whoever) to make this fact aware so that all shoppers complain firstly to their TSO and then to somebody else (even a epetition?)


  15. We are eight, soon to be twelve, and manage quite adequately and within budget at M&S. There’s no stress at M&S.
    Kind regards and have a great day.


  16. Do you like one of my little dittys ? We hum this while we shop.

    When we go down to the shops today
    we’re in for a big suprise
    as we walk in to M&S
    we like the gals and we like the guys
    we don’t need to be in a financial mess
    so we don’t put ourselves under any stress
    and that’s why we’re here in M&S
    hmmm hmm hmmm hmmmm hm hmm.


  17. I noticed that in my Tesco Metro/Direct/Local/Whatever, they are using yellow price tickets, which usually indicate a special offer of some sort, be it BOGOF or price reduction, for regularly priced items. I suspect this is done to trick/con the unwary shopper into an auto-purchase of said items on the presumption of a non-existent deal.


  18. Site: Tesco Extra Barrow-in-Furness 24/7 jobbie.
    Offer at the front door: 9 rolls of Tesco extra soft bog Roll £3.99
    In the bog roll aisle. Buy two packs of 9 rolls Tesco Extra soft for £5.99!

    Every little helps… Tesco or as its known locally Twatco.


  19. that allways suposes that you have both a Tesco and an alternative within walking distance. If you have to use a vehicle for any of the trip then actions such as this soon get swallowed by the cost of travelling between not to mention the probably uncosted disbenefit of waiting in more than one checkout queue


  20. Wheni used to do the shopping with my 25 kids in tow, my primary aim what to pile it all into the trolley & get out as fast as possible. I therefore made a mental not of what was the cheapest & just grabbed it & rushed on to the next one. What drove me mad was when they changed the order around & I couldn’t find anything! Tescos or Sainsbury’s, both as awful, & stress was what I mainly got in either of them.
    Now, kids do their own shopping, we got to Lidl, Leader Price & Carrefour, hubby comes too & checks every gram & litre. I still find it all stressful!


  21. Hi John,

    Politics of envy, hardly. My now deceased brother-in-law was in Advertising in London, and he used to entertain me with stories from the business. Your turn of phraze reminds me of him and that is why I read your very entertaining and informative blog, and with some nostalgia.

    I think that sales and advertizing is what makes the West so different and dynamic. It is easy to bake beans, jam, tarts, or whatever. To get brand recognition and following is hard work. Because my work was far more mundane and less innovative doesn’t mean that I can appreciate good sales and advertizing whenever I come across it. Job envy, yes, from an untalented semi-autistic sob.

    However, to get back to the issue on the table, the poor marking of prices at Tesco’s.

    You are saying it is a deliberate policy, I am saying it is partly due to the poor quality of the staff. You are therefore saying that Tony Hayward deliberatelt caused the spill of oil in the gulf, because as COO, it was his responsibility to check on the concrete samples of all his oil rigs throughout the world? The CEO of Tesco’s is therefore responsible for every price tag posted in his stores?

    In addition, take the example of the toilet rolls mentioned by Bill. Glad to hear that this blogger is stying in a house big enough to stockpile all the bogg rolls that he brings home. So you’ve never heard of a manufacturer doing a special run of stuff to sell as a promotion?

    Yes, I agree the pricing is bad. Maybe we should appoint a government official to every Tesco’s store to check that the pricing is correct, in addition, this person can check that fat people don’t buy too much butter, vet every shopping basket to ensure there is enough greens for the kids, and limits the sale of beer to parents of young chidlren to six cans per week? That is the British way, nanny state for dumb children that can’t be trusted. We will outlaw fools and foolish behaviour, we will watch you!


  22. The same goes on in germany too.
    When I do the big shop in a major I always spend a couple of minutes by certain products once I´ve got the price comparisons worked out – not easy.
    This week it was Nutella – you´ve probably heard of that chocolate spread, and the toilet paper.
    And I watch in fascination as people always take the ” big pack ” when in the case of Toilet paper it´s ca. 22 % more expensive and the mother of 3 will not belive you when you tell her out of 4 different size Nutella jars, the 2nd biggest is by far the cheapest.
    9 out of 10 people just won`t believe you
    like the man said ” most poor people want to remain poor ”
    We as consumers have at least the opportunity of taking our business elsewhere, but we as voters do not have this freedom.
    These permanent coalitions in Europe are another manifestation of the one party state, but they are only the local reps of the biggest one party state of all – the EU
    want to take your vote and give it to somebody else ?
    move to Uruguay


  23. In the Co-op today they had ‘Buy tow packs of 9 bog rolls (supersoft variety) for £5.50!
    As my good lady pointed out Tesco’s ‘per unit measure is ‘per 100 sheets’ whilst the Co-ops is ‘per roll’.
    This doesn’t seem to be staff stupidity it seems to be deliberate policy.


  24. Now talking of being ripped off. I noticed that here in the UK the aluminium baking foil is sold in rolls of 5 and 10 metres in length. Yet, over in France, at Carrefour (another good supermarket chain) you can buy 50 metres rolls of aluminium foil for the same price as your 10m roll cost you in the UK.

    So next time you are in France, walk past the wine section and stock up on aluminium baking foil!


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