Supermarket Chain Adds 10% At Register, But Only In Some Stores

Nash Finch, a Minneapolis-based supermarket chain, adds a 10% fee to the bill at its stores catering to Hispanic shoppers in Colorado, reports 9News in Denver:

The Nash Finch stores Avanza, Food Bonanza and Wholesale Food Outlets add the 10 percent charge to food at the register and specialize in serving Hispanics, according to store workers.

However, the Nash Finch stores Sun Mart Foods, Econo Foods, Family Fresh Market, Pick N Save and Prairie Market stores do not charge extra at the register and do not cater to Hispanics, according to the store workers.

“Jim,” a store manager, told the news station that the fee is to offset other costs, but it’s clear that the 10% charge is at least partly a way to offer steeper “discounts” throughout the store that are effectively removed when you pay.

Nash Finch denies it’s doing anything skeevy or illegal with its unclear pricing, but 9News points out their attempt at full disclosure is confusingly worded, perhaps deliberately so:

“The ‘shelf-plus’ pricing program is only used in certain store formats. These stores tend to be located where consumers are more price-conscious, as compared to our more conventional supermarkets,” said Brian Numainville, Public Relations for Nash Finch Company. “The pricing policy is explained, not just in English, but also in Spanish, so that no customer is caught unaware at the cash register.”

The stores do advertise that they are going to add a 10 percent fee in signs posted across the store, on the store shelves below the price of a food item on the store shelf and in flyers and circulars. However, the wording is confusing to many. For example, the flyers read, “A great way to save – Plus 10 % at the Register.”

What do you think—is this an acceptable way to price groceries? In a series of questions Nash Finch answered for 9News’ story, they claim that they’re not the only chain to do this, and that it’s not just Hispanic markets. Here’s their final justifaction for the practice:

Question 9: Wouldn’t it be more honest/up front to just add 10 percent to the price of all of the products—so that people can see the actual price on the shelf and on the sticker?

Answer: The grocery industry is extremely competitive. Stores vie for customers. Customer loyalty is highly valued. Given the need to attract and retain customers, our stores cannot afford to alienate its customers by charging unexplained fees or unanticipated mark-ups. Our pricing is attracting customers—rather than losing them–demonstrating that the pricing policy is in fact fair, obvious, and well-understood by our shoppers.

“Some grocery stores add 10 percent fee” [9News.com] (Thanks to Randy!)

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  1. seamer says:

    False advertising, bait and switch and what appears to be racism…can’t go better than that!

  2. jusooho says:

    I don’t understand how this could possibly benefit the consumer, vs marking prices down wherever possible and keeping them the same as other stores when not possible. Am I missing something?

    • zentex says:

      @jusooho: im with you, it makes no sense. but I have to wonder, are you paying more with that added 10% or about the same if you went somewhere else..

    • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

      @jusooho:
      The only thing I can think of is lowering sales tax in some way. This seems like one of those “A 17% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more” things restaraunts pull. Which I think is bull to begin with.

      So in Los Angeles, sales tax is 8.25%. That would be roughly $8.25 of a $100 sale, and if the 10% is added after that you still only pay $8.25 tax, so your bill would be $118.25 where as if its added pre-tax your bill would be $119.08 (if I did that correctly) so your saving a whole .75 cents.

      Again that just seems like what it is to me.

  3. JohnDeere says:

    “A great way to save – Plus 10 % at the Register.”

    to me, if i handnt read the story i would think i was getting an extra 10% off, because only a moron would add a 10% fee. and if its only at hispanic targeted stores it is flat out racism.

  4. GMFish says:

    Gee, I thought all states have laws on their books which require supermarkets to have accurate prices on their merchandise with penalties against the supermarket for prices that were higher at checkout. Adding 10% to every bit of merchandise would certainly seem to violate such laws. Let’s hope that the AG’s office gets involved real quickly.

  5. CarlR says:

    “A great way to save – Plus 10 % at the Register.”

    Save by being charged an extra 10%! Sign me up!

    “our stores cannot afford to alienate its customers by charging unexplained fees or unanticipated mark-ups.”

    Like a 10% fee imposed at checkout.

    “Our pricing is attracting customers-rather than losing them-demonstrating that the pricing policy is in fact fair, obvious, and well-understood by our shoppers.”

    I would argue that it demonstrates exactly the opposite – that people don’t understand that they are getting ripped off.

  6. SleepingSheeple says:

    Can I pay them with a check? It will be “minus 110% when you try to cash it.”

  7. mbz32190 says:

    This makes no sense at all…It would be like advertising a 2 liter of Pepsi for 25cents * (plus 200% added at register).

  8. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Why don’t they do what everyone else does and make everything cost more in poor neighborhoods?

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Because this way not only do they do that, they get the added bonus of tricking others into thinking they’re saving. Pretty smart, price gouging and bait-and-switching at the same time!

    • Valhawk says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Would you like to know why prices are higher in poor neighborhoods because its not like store arbitrarily set prices at whatever they want.

      Prices tend to be higher in poor neighborhoods because costs tend to be higher in poor neighborhoods simple as that. If I as a company have to pay more then I as a sane businessman will pass that cost onto you, the consumer.

      Its also why corporations only kind of pay taxes, because their prices are affected by their costs including taxes. So in reality the corporations aren’t paying their taxes, you are.

      • synergy says:

        @Valhawk: Please provide info on what is specifically higher to the business in poor neighborhoods.

        Considering the low number of grocery stores in most poor neighborhoods, I would’ve thought it would be to their interest to be a virtual monopoly.

  9. windycity says:

    Here’s a quote from one of the store workers explaining the 10%:

    “This is for taxes in Mexico and we think that people would feel better if they are charged for taxes as if they were in Mexico,” one worker said.

    I know if I were from Mexico, I’d feel a heck of a lot better knowing I was paying 10% more than everyone else.

    • GMFish says:

      @windycity: I saw that too. That quote sums up everything. As far as I can tell Mexico has a 10% tax on merchandise. So when Mexicans come into the US based supermarket they see no problem with paying what they think is the same tax they paid back home. However, the supermarket simply pockets the “tax” for itself.

    • balthisar says:

      @windycity: Mexico uses a VAT called IVA, and for items which require IVA, it’s already included in the price. For everything. The price you see on the shelf is the price you pay. No additional tax. None. No mental arithmetic needed.

      Plus IVA for most things is 15%, not 10%.

      Sometimes — rarely — a restaurant menu will indicate that IVA isn’t included. They generally fail pretty quickly, because the cultural expectation is that all of the IVA is already included.

  10. techstar25 says:

    It’s just a clever way to confuse people, and make it more difficult to comparison shop.
    They say:
    “our stores cannot afford to alienate its customers by charging unexplained fees or unanticipated mark-ups”
    But that’s precisely what they are doing – charging unexplained fees. How do they get away with this?

  11. hills says:

    What a stupid idea – and someone was paid to come up with this? I can’t imagine shopping anywhere that said they’d just add 10% to my total. That’s nuts.

  12. jusooho says:

    I’m glad to see everyone else is as confused about this as I am

  13. Anonymous says:

    Colorado should have a Department of Weights and Measures to put a stop to such practices… it is deceptive at best.

  14. ajresch says:

    That gives me an idea:

    I’m going to start a store called “Free Stuff”, with no price-tags at all on anything.

    Then, when people come to the registers, I’ll charge them full price.
    Or better yet, at a higher markup, since I’m providing them with the unique service of not having to worry about prices when browsing.

    Who wants in??

    • @ajresch: I will invest. This is a good idea. But let’s target Nash Finch employees only.

    • vastrightwing says:

      @ajresch: It really inspires me to buy stuff cheap when at check out I learn the price is much higher due to extra fees. Unfortunately, this must work because mostly people are sheep and won’t speak up when confronted with the nonsense. Airlines are especially adept at this.

  15. oneandone says:

    Reminds me of Ebay sellers with extra-low prices & HUGE shipping fees. Sneaky and unethical. And, in the supermarkets’ case, because the clients are mostly Hispanic, it has the appearance of being quite ugly.

    I found this interesting (in the original article):
    “This is for taxes in Mexico and we think that people would feel better if they are charged for taxes as if they were in Mexico,” one worker said.

    I’m assuming the worker means that this mimics the way things are priced in Mexico, so maybe their customers who are used to Mexican prices find it easier to compare – maybe. It’s a half-baked rationale. Esp since a) shoppers in Colorado are not comparison shopping in Mexico and b) I’m assuming groceries there are priced in pesos. So I think it’s actually a completely unbaked rationale.

    • alexanderpink says:

      @oneandone: There’s a reason ebay sellers do that, it’s to avoid paying ebay seller fees. You are charged a percentage of the final value of your sale in fees by ebay, but shipping is not counted. Thus, if you sell a $100 item for $100 and $10 shipping at 10% fee (made up numbers) you will have to pay $10 to ebay, but if you price the same item at buy it now price of $10 with $100 shipping, you only pay $1 fee. I don’t understand why buyers care, it is irrelevant to them the cost of the shipping vs. item, as long as the total cost is cheap enough to warrant purchase. The only problem I could see is if the purchase was to be tax deductible or a business expense.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @oneandone: Not to mention that in Mexico the 10% (in theory) is going to the government, while here the 10% is going to the company. I bet they’re counting on the people confusing it with the sales tax.

      Sleazy, sleazy, sleazy.

  16. ludwigk says:

    So the place across the street should start charging “Plus 20%”, then “Plus 505″ then eventually, everything in the damned place is “Free* *plus cost of item determined at check-out”.

    I love this part: “Given the need to attract and retain customers, our stores cannot afford to alienate its customers by charging unexplained fees or unanticipated mark-ups.”

    This is corporate double-speak on a level that you just can’t make up. 10% at the counter is an unexplained fee! If you can’t afford to alienate customers in this way, then for fucks sake stop doing it! Or perhaps they mean that they can’t alienate customers, but lying to them is just fine.

    Dear Avanza:

    You do not exist where I live, but I would NEVER shop at your store. Your pricing scheme is unnecessarily obtuse and is clearly an attempt to take advantage of your customers by impressing upon them a low price, which will never be representative of the actual cost of the products. This is intentionally deceptive. Stop pretending like its not.

  17. MayorBee says:

    Sure, I don’t agree with a different price at checkout vs. what’s on the shelf, but I have a question to all the people claiming it’s racist. Isn’t having stores that “specialize in serving Hispanics” racist in itself? Treating one race different than another, isn’t that the definition of racism?

    • @MayorBee is getting what plants crave: Yah, I’m not so sure it’s as much a race thing as it is an attempt to exploit a segment of the population that they perceive may not be able to comprehend what they are trying to do.

      It could also be that they are trying this on one segment of the population as a test-run, with the idea of rolling it out company-wide in a few months.

      “Coming soon, to a poor area near you, lower prices PLUS 10% at the register”

    • balthisar says:

      @MayorBee is getting what plants crave: I regularly shop at a place that specializes in serving Hispanics (E&L Meats in Detroit), also called “El Supermercado.” Far from exploiting the people, it’s practically a public service. It’s ethnic because, well, it’s in SW Detroit, which is heavily Hispanic. It’s not in a great neighborhood, and Detroit is notoriously lacking in grocery stores. That is, they have every opportunity in the world to be exploitative, but the produce is dirt cheap, they have a real, full-service butcher, and of course real versions of all of the Mexican stuff that we want, which isn’t available at my local megamart.

      As I shop there, I know that most of the people aren’t on my socioeconomic level (lots of WIC and state card users), very few speak English, probably a lot of illegals, and people that could easily be victimized. But it’s a straight up operation, and the prices are always excellent.

    • Valhawk says:

      @MayorBee is getting what plants crave: Regardless of whether it fits the textbook definition of racism or not its business. There is a niche for stores that target a particular ethnicity so their will be a business to fill that niche until it becomes unprofitable or illegal.

      Oh, and if it isn’t clear I am talking about the stores targeting a specific ethnic group not the pricing shenanigans.

  18. That is just the most convoluted, stupidest thing that I have ever heard. The main question I have at this point is how does the final price of a product compare to the final price of the same product at one of their other stores? If it is higher, then they’ll really be in some trouble. If it is the same or lower, then I kinda understand what they are trying to do. I’m not justifying it, just saying I understand. Either way, it’s stupid, and now that the cat is out of the bag, this whole scheme will hopefully go away. Unfortunately for them, so may all of their business.

  19. Skeptic says:

    Clearly illegal, IMO.

    The only purpose of the scheme is to make prices look lower than they actually are. There is no legitimate purpose.

  20. I_can_still_pitch says:

    These stores are taking advantage of what are probably less educated, non-native English speakers who are less likely to complain. It’s racist and pretty sickening.

  21. sleze69 says:

    From the store’s perspective, this sounds like a great way to increase revenue.

    Of course it also sounds illegal, IMHO.

  22. timsgm1418 says:

    definitely would be better to have the real price on the shelf, then discount at the register, this is a retarded way of doing things….

  23. LordSkippy says:

    “Customer loyalty is highly valued”

    That maybe, but somehow I don’t think the actual customer is highly valued.

  24. Shadowman615 says:

    This reminds me of those ‘free’ Sam’s Club day-passes they send in the mail. The fine-print explains there’s a 10% ‘service fee.’ Pffft — the prices aren’t that great to begin with; I don’t understand how anyone could think that was a good deal.

  25. ionerox says:

    That’s a BS pricing scheme. Even if it’s not illegal, it’s absolutely not ethical- especially since they don’t do it across all their stores. What’s wrong with just putting the damn price on the shelf, and pricing items to include the stores cost of shipping/storage/etc.? (Oh, say, like the rest of the retail brick-and-mortar stores do?)

    I also wonder why they don’t do this at the Family Fresh foods in the very white, upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods?

  26. htrodblder says:

    Not to stir the pot, but you think the store is charging the 10% fee because of the hassle of serving spanish only speaking customers? People who speak mutiple languages do tend to be paid in more in wages for the knowledge. Plus the store could have a huge theft problem.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @htrodblder: So why not just add that to the shelf price? If the store has extra costs due to mulit-lingual employees, then they should just raise the prices of their products. Doing it this way seems shady and as if they are deceiving their customers. Stores have every right to raise prices, however, they need to make sure their prices are clearly displayed.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @htrodblder: those thieving Hispanics!

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        @Shadowman615: Yeah, I wasn’t sure whether to comment on that line…if the implication was the Hispanic stores had more theft than other stores or what….

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @htrodblder:

      And while they’re at it, all stores should surcharge Consumerist readers…since we’re more likely to know the real rules which could cause bottom line erosion.

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @htrodblder: I’m a Hispanic and I can speak for myself and for all Hispanics I know personally, that we are not thieves. All demographics have their fair share of kleptos, so I would not say we have cornered the market on that.

  27. Geekybiker says:

    Sounds like a program designed to confuse people into thinking the deals are either A)10% off (That’s how I would read it without fine print) of B) Just really low prices per item without looking at the total.

  28. Scalvo2 says:

    Are they donating the money to Mexico?

  29. bohemian says:

    At first I thought maybe it was one of those deals where you only get the lower price if you use one of those store saver cards but obviously not. There does not appear to be any logical reason for it other than racism and classism. Yuk indeed.

    Our Walmarts are heavily geared at hispanic shoppers. I have also noticed a high incidence of prices at the register being much higher than the shelf or tag price. This makes me wonder if this is some inside industry tactic based on some tidbit of statistics like most poor hispanics don’t read receipts or something.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @bohemian: I think most people, regardless of language or race, don’t pay that much attention to receipts or prices as they come up on the register. Stores likely think they can get away with it easier in areas where most shoppers first language isn’t English.

      I would question why this company doesn’t have this policy at all its stores. Having it at the store that are geared towards certain segments of the population makes it seem like a racist policy.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @bohemian:

      If any item at Wal-Mart rings up higher than advertised, they’ll give you $3. If the cashier plays dumb, call a CSM and they’ll take care of you asap.

  30. ameyer says:

    If a store that I shop at did this sort of thing, I’d leave and never come back. There’s too much competition to put up with this sort of shit.

  31. scienceclub says:

    This is fucking incredible. Someone should be fined and imprisoned.

  32. rachmaninov1 says:

    is this an acceptable way to price groceries?

    Well, yes.

    There is some pretty solid evidence that Nash Finch actually charges THEIR COST PLUS 10%, which is not just fair, but extremely informative and competitive.

    (Look for “cost-plus” in their 2008 Q1 Earnings Call transcript.)

    However, who is one major distributor to Nash Finch Avanza? Why Nash Finch, of course!

    They’re trying to grow their distribution arm by moving more product through their retail arm.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      @rachmaninov1: I’m not sure how a grocery store could operate on a 10% margin, even if they were vertically integrated….you sure about this?

    • CyGuy says:

      @rachmaninov1:

      Charging 10% of what cost?
      A) the cost they pay for the groceries from their wholesaler?
      B) or the cost of groceries, plus the cost of labor, rent, insurance, and utilities?
      C) Or the cost of all of those plus the cost of capital?

      If it were A, then yes the customers would likely be getting a real bargain. If it’s C, then the store is making quite a decent profit for the industry.

      But these are not questions the customer needs to be dealing with, the customer needs, and is entitled by law to get, the price they will be asked to pay. Having to know algebra should not be a requirement of going to the store. If I went to this store, any item that did not ring up the shelf price I’d leave at the register and not pay for (one would hope there isn’t too much meat, dairy, or frozen goods in my cart).

      BTW, I’ve forwarded this story to a consumer columnist for the Denver Post, we’ll see if he has any comment.

  33. vastrightwing says:

    Unfortunately I can’t boycott them since I don’t shop there. Therefore, I will boycott other retailers that have deceptive practices that hint of anything close to being deceptive. Hummm… maybe I better re-think that. It could mean I wouldn’t shop anywhere.

    Actually, Costco/BJ’s/Sams have a similar policy, right? Don’t they essentially charge you more than the price on the shelf if you aren’t a certain type of member?

    • drluba says:

      @vastrightwing: Costco is a membership store; if you’re not a member, you can’t shop there except to buy alcohol (in MI, at least) and prescription drugs. The exceptions are due to state(?) law, and there is no difference in price. They do not, however, accept most credit cards, so you would have to pay in cash.

      They do have the best prices around for prescription medications, as they are a purely cost-plus operation.

  34. coddat says:

    Commissaries are grocery stores on military bases. They also charge a 5% surcharge. They sell at cost and even with 5% they are cheaper than the regular supermarkets. Everyone that shops there knows that you will have 5% added on at the end. No one finds it deceptive or a bait and switch, it part of having the privilege of shopping at the commissary.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @coddat: But how is it presented? Is it told to all military personnel on base that this is the way it is or there are signs up? Also, I doubt that civilians who are not family members of military personnel serving at that base are shopping there so this isn’t a public store, right? I mean, any civilian can’t just walk in and shop there can they?

      • coddat says:

        Commissaries aren’t open to the public, but they are open to military dependents and retires. The 5% I think is on signs at the cash wraps. I don’t think it a much different situation, people on base aren’t forced to shop at the commissary, they are free to go to local supermarkets and not pay 5% and pay no sales tax in Texas. You don’t pay sales tax on base either though.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          @coddat: I think it’s slightly different than this case as a commissary isn’t open to the public and probably falls under different rules/laws. You are paying for the convienence of not leaving a base to shop. In this case, the pricing is confusing to people, as shown by the article and isn’t charged at all their stores. If it was clearly stated and was being charged at all their stores, I think it would be less of an issue.

  35. Outrun1986 says:

    With Sams and other wholesale clubs technically your not even supposed to be in their store if your not a member and not with a member, and its billed as a club to the public so there is nothing illegal about them sending out a shopping pass to non-member shoppers. Member shoppers pay an annual fee, that 10% is just like a one day fee. They could send out a pass where you pay 5$ to get into the store then you pay normal price for your items but its clearly easier and more customer friendly to charge you only if you buy something, because not everyone visiting the club who is considering becoming a member will buy something that day. Some people just want to check out the club.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Outrun1986:

      Bingo..just like how Costco charges an extra 5% if you buy on their website without being a member….

      Wholesale clubs have about a .5% profit margin on what they sell (excluding store-baked items and store cut meats) – the membership fee is their main source of profit, while the 14-17% markup on items covers operating costs.

  36. watson_2001 says:

    What does anyone think about this plan?

    All groceries are free in our store.*

    *Consumer must pay a handling charge at the checkout register. The handling charge is at the discretion of the grocery store.

  37. dwarf74 says:

    This is just insane, and I can’t believe it’s legal. I haven’t seen the in-store signage, but I would certainly interpret the flyer as “10% off at register!”

    As I see it, they’re putting lower prices on the shelves, so you think you’re getting a great deal, but then bump up the prices at the register. It smacks of false advertising to me, no matter how you phrase it.

    I mean, the guy being interviewed more or less admits this – they’re competing on price, so they’re pretending their price is 10% lower than it really is.

  38. nikalseyn says:

    dn’t s prblm hr. t’s nly rght tht bnch f llgls py mr thn hnst, lw–bdng ctzns. sspct mst f thr cstmrs cms hr swmmng n thr bck n th lrg rvr.

  39. econobiker says:

    Myb thy fgrd th rcntly rrvd llgls r t stpd t fgr t t…

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @econobiker: Not stupid, but certainly less educated. It’s common for many of the illegals to have not much more than a grade-school education.

      • VPea says:

        @Shadowman615: Real classy. @econobiker: you are an ignorant jerk

        • Shadowman615 says:

          @VPea: I think you’re taking that the wrong way (or maybe I wrote it badly). The educational opportunities for poor Latin-Americans are slim. According to the center for immigration studies, ” Almost two-thirds of adult Mexican immigrants have not completed high school, compared to fewer than one in ten natives. Mexican immigrants now account for 22 percent of all high school dropouts in the labor force.”

          To try to put that more politely, all I was saying was the store may in fact be using a stunt like this to take advantage of a less-educated demographic.

        • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

          @VPea: Please don’t stir the pot. If someone’s trolling, please email me at moderator@consumerist.com. I’ll take care of it. Trolling or offensive comments do not mean that the rules no longer apply in response (e.g. no name calling).

  40. mgy says:

    This type of pricing scheme hurts my brain, but it almost seems as though it may actually save money. Assuming of course, that their prices are more than 10% below what another store would charge.

    Can anyone verify that that is the case?

  41. Shoot them in the Wall Street BlueBalls so they can not breed and create more wunderkid CEO types.

  42. I can understand a restaurant (for example) that does not price “the lobster” in their menu and instead charges “market” rates that change daily or weekly.

    Makes sense, up to a point.

    And I could understand a grocery store that has a single product or group of products with prices that change daily. Can’t think of one, but I am sure there is something out there that could sharply change with each and every delivery.

    But those are the farking exceptions to the rules.

    This Plus 10% is, to use a sports metaphor, a bit of piling on and should receive a penality flag for unsportsman like conduct.

  43. closed_account says:

    Where are the $.99 stores? Why arent they on this?! Screw new signs- Have a sign next to the register “We add 15% to your total” All of the issues $.99 stores have are solved! All of them!

  44. zeitguess says:

    This is a blatant tactic to fleece minority shoppers. I have seen the same type of thing at Kroger, just more subtle. Kroger isn’t ballsy enough to actually tell you they are screwing you on the receipt.

    If you only went to your local Kroger, you would never know. The Kroger in the minority area is 15-20% higher on items in it’s store than the Kroger less than half a mile away, which is outside the ‘zone’. The minority Kroger had no special sales, no coupon machines, nothing that would be found inside a regular Kroger store. I can’t believe they get away with it.

    • puka_pai says:

      I wonder where these Krogers are that you’re talking about. I’ve worked at Kroger stores all over North Texas — some in wealthy areas and some in economically disadvantaged areas — and have never seen this happen. And since my job was as pricing coordinator, I’m sure I would have noticed.

      FWIW, I loathe Kroger and wouldn’t work there again for twice the pay, but I gotta call bullshit when I see it.

  45. fatcop says:

    This is the illegal alien tax.

    I’m all for it.

  46. Trojan69 says:

    How is this appreciably different from all the ARCO gas stations in SoCal who add a surcharge to anyone who does not pre-pay with cash?

    The store(s) have obvious signs stating 10% will be added. There is no deception.

    I refuse to condescend to the Hispanics who may shop there. I say they are fully capable of understanding the price scheme. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that within the communities, the prices are thoroughly discussed. I have no doubt that the Hispanics know who has the best overall value. I have no doubt that if the overall price was “gouging” that the store would soon lose a significant chunk of their customers.

    I, personally, would prefer up front and complete pricing. But would I feel ripped off by an announced surcharge? No way.

    I would have to stop flying, wouldn’t I?

    • puka_pai says:

      @Trojan69:

      How is this appreciably different from all the ARCO gas stations in SoCal who add a surcharge to anyone who does not pre-pay with cash?

      In that case, the fee goes to pay the cost to the station for accepting credit/debit cards. The card processors charge a fee (around 6%, IIRC) and so if they charged the same amount as cash for plastic they’d lose money. Legitimate charge, plus a little extra.

  47. Cliff_Donner says:

    OK, signing up, in advance, to join a club to pay an additional fee to get discounted pricing from a retailer is one thing. This does not fit that definition.

    Advertising a discounted price — even with a small-print “plus you pay an additional 10%” disclaimer (and it doesn’t sound like the advert was even that clear) — when there is absolutely no way that a customer will ever be able to receive the product at the advertised price — may not exactly fit the definition of “bait and switch” — but it amounts to the same thing. And they’ve pretty much admitted that they need to be able to advertise a cheaper, discounted price — a price they have no intention of honoring — in order to remain “competitive.”

    As an aside, I’ll mention I’ve lived in Minneapolis since 1969, and I’ve never heard of any of the OP-mentioned companies, expect for Pick-N-Save (only because I’ve travelled a little bit), and frankly, I’m not sure that I’m not confusing that with “Gulp-n-Blow,” from the Simpsons. Certainly, we have no Pick-N-Save’s in the Minneapolis area.

    • stpauliegirl says:

      @Cliff_Donner: Pick ‘n’ Save is actually not a part of Nash Finch; the article is wrong. Pick ‘n’ Save is Roundy’s, which also owns Rainbow, which I’m sure you’ve heard of! Pick ‘n’ Saves are just over the border in Wisconsin.

  48. no.no.notorious says:

    is the increase of 10% because they also accept pesos?

    some places do that where there is a large mexican population.

  49. P_Smith says:

    That story reminds me of this:

    [pixdaus.com]

    • @P_Smith:

      Is that real?

      • @zeitguess:

        To defend Kroger’s. Don’t want to, but I will.

        Many companies will change standard prices and policies between stores in an attempt to shift customers from a busy to a not very busy store or to shift customers within a store (like coupons only between 9 and 11AM).

        Social-Economic, race, age etc demographics usually do not apply as much as staffing levels and peak versus trough customer rates.

        As an example, my dog’s vet charges extra for Saturday appointments. Dog discrimination? Working people discrimination? Nope, staffing and demand.

      • P_Smith says:

        @Corporate-Shill: Is that real?

        You can tell from the picture that the sign is a real KFC picture, though I’ve never seen a new stories to verify that it really happened. The story goes that a KFC store owner did it after one or more robberies.

        Maybe it’s someone’s sick joke, or maybe it’s real, I’m not sure. But it’s highly reminiscent of the original post we’re chatting under.

  50. cohs says:

    i know there was at least one store i went to in georgia that had prices on the food with very fine print that said 10% was added at the register.

  51. forgottenpassword says:

    makes up for all the hgispanic shops that have special inflated “gringo prices”.

  52. fever says:

    I live 5 minutes from these guys, and have never seen or heard of any of their brands.

  53. stpauliegirl says:

    Pick ‘n’ Save is not Nash Finch; it’s Roundy’s. I just wanted to clarify that, because Roundy’s is good people. Chairman Bob approves!

  54. BytheSea says:

    Jeeze, they couldn’t even claim that it was b/c the Mexican foods were imports? They didn’t even try to cover up their blatant racism.

  55. Grivooga says:

    I think someone should take a sharpie and a calculator a reprice the marked shelf prices.

  56. anniellou says:

    This is sad, but it has been going on for many many years. In S. California this has been common in hispanic areas since the 1980′s. It takes advantage of the non English speaking women who do most of the shopping and often the 10% is listed under “tax” on the reciept because these shoppers don’t understand that there is no tax on food.

  57. chriscombs says:

    Interestingly, all of the links 404 now.

  58. NicolePaddock says:

    I used to work at a store in Utah (Ream’s) who did this. “We add only 10% to these advertised prices” was the slogan on all sale fliers and in the store. The suggestion was that other stores might well be adding more than 10% but not telling you about it. The company has since dropped the tactic.

  59. Doublenix says:

    Is it just me or does the sample flyer make it sound like you’re going to save an additional 10%, not get charged for it?