I saw a photograph posted by Simon Woods on his Facebook page of a sign in Sainsbury's saying that a wine was £9.99 and you could buy 3 for £12. (I hope he doesn't mind me pinching his image) Now I know that such a multibuy is now illegal in Scotland, but it does make me angry in the way supermarkets are conning the public.
Think about it for a second. Imagine you were buying a house - the most important purchase of your life. Would you be suckered into a "Was £300,000, now only £150,000" deal? Of course not - you would get a valuation done on your own and offer based on that and in these financially trying times, probably offer less than the house is worth. If you were buying a second hand car, from one of the trades that is most renowned for ripping it's customers off, you wouldn't believe it if they said "This Ford Focus is worth £12k but I'll give it to you for £5 grand" - you would immediately think "what is wrong with it". Yet if you believe the work of fiction on the price tag in a supermarket, and drink a bottle every other night between you and your partner, you are spending seven hundred pounds a year on cheap wine sold to you dishonestly - with nobody to answer for their selection or fictional pricing.
When I am calculating the price of a bottle of wine for my shop, I take my cost price, put on my normal margin and then round it up or down to the nearest appropriate price point. Then, when I calculate a promotion price, I will look at my cost, and either reduce my margin or, if it is a supplier funded promotion, calculate my normal margin on their reduced price. Often, I do a combination of the two, but the end result is a promotion where a customer saves between ten and twenty percent when they buy a bottle of wine. An honest price promotion.
Supermarkets however, do not do this. They vastly over inflate their single bottle price and then slash it down to a multibuy or half price deal, so when the customer looks at the price tag, they see '50% off' and don't actually think about what the wine is worth. They just see the large percentages and think "the supermarket won't rip me off". My biggest problem is that it makes the specialist sector look as though they are profiteering, when the reality is far from the truth.
Aside from the fact that most specialists will be working on a normal margin that is similar if not less to that which the supermarkets consider acceptable for a promoted price, think about what you are getting in return. Personal advice, years of studying, hand picked wines from the people in the shop rather than a wine buyer enjoying the fine life in London. Specialists are more flexible in what they stock so you get variety rather than the same wine rebranded or, in many cases, the same brand, owned by the supermarket, with different wine in it vintage to vintage. Specialist wine shops can also try and source that wine you tried on a beach in Corfu, and not only sell you wine but hold tastings and events for you to try before you buy. And if you buy a wine and don't like it, there is a store manager or owner that is responsible for stocking that wine for you to go and shout at.
They provide all this, and more, and work off the same margins that a supermarket will do when they con you into buying something that is 'half price'.
Before you act like a magpie and go for the big shiny supermarket discount, consider your purchase as if you were buying a car. Is this wine actually worth £10 or are you actually being sold a discounted wreck by the wine trade's equivalent of Arthur Daley