I was on my way home from work the other day and stopped at FreshCo to load up on groceries and supplies for the weekend. My routine is nothing unusual and neither is the practice of price matching by many consumers.
What is price matching?
The words pretty much mean what they say but I like to think of it this way: the retailer backs up their “We beat any advertised price” guarantee. The retailer will match any advertised price for the same product at any other store and agree to sell you that product for the same price (or sometimes less) as a token of your patronage.
I like these guarantees. I’ve used them before and will continue to price match, when it makes sense as a function of my time and impact on my wallet.
Here are a few price matching rules I live by – then a brief story about someone who seemingly broke some of these rules and annoyed a few people in the process.
Find the deal
The first thing you want to do is look through your flyers and find the deal for the product you want. Determine whether it’s a deal or not.
Review the price match policy
After determining the product is a deal for you, make some effort to understand the retailer’s price match policy. When in doubt, ask to speak to a supervisor or manager on duty, especially for high-price ticket items. Be sure to ask about product limits for your deal or whether other discounts might be void.
Make the shopping list
Add the deals to your shopping list and be specific about the product details. This is especially helpful when more sales are advertised in the store than listed online or in the flyer.
Bring the advertised deal with you
Many retailers who price match include in their policy, a requirement for you to show the advertised deal to them before the purchase transaction. If the retailer doesn’t include this explicitly in their policy, be sure to bring advertisement with you to the store; it never hurts.
Be ready and be nice
So, you’ve finished loading up your shopping cart with product deals. You’re in line at the cash – be ready and be nice. Have each product at the cash associated with its companion deal, coupon, flyer ad or whatever the retailer policy says you need. Also, say “hello” when you get to the cash because a little kindness can go a long ways.
Unfortunately, not everyone lives by these “rules”….
At FreshCo recently, I witnessed a woman spending minutes scouring various flyers at the cash, visibly frustrated, because she could not find her deal in a competitor’s flyer; murmuring “it’s here…” The young cashier stood bewildered by the process and looked at other customers in line, including myself, with apologetic shrug. After patiently waiting in line for a few minutes, the man in front of me asked the woman in a terse tone “couldn’t you have done this at home?” The woman replied with a grunt with the cashier saying on her behalf “she’s price matching…” Thankfully another cashier who witnessed this ordeal opened up the adjacent cash and proceeded with the man’s order in front of me and then ours and the people behind us. We left the store as the woman continued her price matching ways.
This FreshCo experience is not uncommon and I’ve seen this before it other stores but felt compelled to write about it because if and when you decide price matching is worth it, please plan ahead. You’ll save yourself, the retailer and other customers some aggravation.
Do you price match? If so, do you plan ahead?