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?
I price match at least 10 items at No Frills every week.
I go at 8am to stay out of the rush, I write on my master list the name of the store and page number of the flyer. As well as circling the object in the flyer to show the cashier. Some times my cashier doesnt bother verifying my fliers because she already knows the prices. I do the normal items first and price match at the end with coupons. I always tell others behind me I’m price matching and will be an extra 10 minutes.
I realize I’m a PITA if I don’t go out of my way doing these things.
On behalf of Price Matching peoples everywhere we apologise for taking extra time. Most of us are learning how to be more efficient at it.
I’m not against price matching…I do it myself, but I really get annoyed by folks who are not prepared at the checkout line.
At least you do the right thing…telling other behind me about the matching and the time you may take.
I tend to price match because the store with the sale no longer has the product in stock. For instance, we have a FutureShop and a BestBuy about the same distance from us. When 1 store has a good deal on an item, it’s usually sold out within a day or two. So I go to the other store (with the ad) and get the price match. Usually I go without even bothering to check whether it’s in stock at the advertised store!
This type of price matching usually is saving me $10+ so it’s worth it to me.
I have only tried it at Walmart, and I always have it flagged beforehand. They do require bringing in the competitor’s ad, especially with food items, but I have been able to price match a video game by showing them the Future Shop website, but I had to go through a manager for it.
I’d done this on high-ticket items, but for $2-3 per week, it is not worth it for me. We review the flyers, and go the stores with the best deals. Now and then, we’ll price match when it’s worth our time and effort.
Walmart is usually very good about price matching based on my experience.
Can I be a contrarian?
Price matching is not the mantra of a retailer who actually cares about low prices. If the retailer actually cared about prices, they’d have the lowest prices to start with. But they don’t.
And I might even believe them if their price matching meant that if you price matched, they immediately lowered the retail price for everyone. But they don’t do that, do they? Tthe next consumer to walk in the door pays the inflated price even though the retailer knows full well they are not the lowest price. Right? Retailers that claim price matching will happily charge everyone but the price matcher an inflated price, knowing full well they’re not the cheapest price in town.
And that seems to mean that what price matching is, is a marketing technique to placate the sheeple. Baaaaaaah! 🙂 If you bleat, you save. if you follow the leader, you get fleeced.
In short, I’m not a fan of stores that market based on price matching. It’s a weak marketing technique that takes advantage of people. If you’re going to offer the lowest prices, just offer the lowest prices.
Ok, maybe contrarian was the wrong work. Cynic fits my post better ;).
Yeah, you’re a cynic 🙂
You raise a great point that a retailer that is really concerned with low prices, will simply have the lowest prices to begin with.
I think price matching is a good thing, but the reality is, if you need to do it that often, you’re probably shopping at the wrong store! 🙂
I think your price matching woman is related to a lot of the customers who use my bank.
At my bank you are required to swipe your debit card each time you step up to the teller. You can see me in line with my debit card out of my wallet and with the cheque or other paperwork discreetly folded in my hand. I am routinely behind a woman (why is it always a woman) with a purse the size of a small child’s hockey bag. She steps to the teller when it is her turn then procedes to dig to find the wallet in the giant cavern of possesions in her ridiculously large bag. After the bag is located the inevitable hunt through the bulging oversized wallet for the debit card commences.
The teller always forces a sweet Stepford Wives smile and blank stare and is probably counting the minutes until they can get home and pour their first drink.
Jane…who are these people?
They wait in line, for minutes, and then, muck around only to have other people wait on them when it’s their turn in line? I have never understood that!?
If I was the teller, I’d probably say “everyone that is ready to be served, step in line over here. All the other idiots, please line up over here.”
Thanks for your comment!
I do it all the time at Walmart. No-Frills here offers it but it’s a pain as they have to write down each item # on a clipboard which seems to take (suspiciously) forever to do. When you can buy 12 cans of any Pepsi or Coke made pop at $2.99 instead of $4.97+up, it’s definitely worth stocking up.
Thanks for commenting Stu! Agreed, paying $3 vs. $5 for 12 cans of pop makes sense. However, for a few items that add up to $1 here and there, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Yes? No?
Alternatively, you can always wait until the flyer comes out, the deal for the pop is $3 and then you go to that store to stock up. That’s what we typically do.
Yes we price match as much as we can to save us from wasting gas and time running around the city. We plan our shop before we go out and make sure it is well executed at the cash for the cashier and other customers. The worst thing you can do is not be prepared at cash and making sure the products match exactly.
Sounds like you have this down to a science. Good on you!
I have noticed that price matching at Freshco is sometimes frustrating. It appears that some of the popular items that could be price matched are removed from the shelves during the week that an item is on sale at another store. Has anyone else experienced this?
FreshCo is not our favourite store. Some items we expect to find, are sometimes not stocked, so yes we have found the same thing. That’s annoying!
I price match all the time. You really need to be organized not to annoy people, behind you. I put all the price match together on the flyers, and all the items have sticky notes in the flyer, making them much easier to find
Thanks for planning ahead. As a customer behind you in the store, I thank you. 🙂
I’ve price matched before, but I always bring the ad and the store’s price matching policy with me to avoid stress on myself and the cashiers. If it’s a bigger ticket item it’s definitely worth the hassle to save the money.
Absolutely, on bigger ticket items, it’s totally worth it. For potato chips that are $1.99 somewhere vs. $2.25 in the store I am in, I don’t really care.