Buy More! Save Nothing!

Here are a few Walmart photos that we’ve noticed. It sort of makes us wonder:

Are consumers so used to “buying more” to “save” that they don’t even question it anymore? If so, that’s sad.


(Photo:Thanks, Chris !)

PREVIOUSLY: Walmart Sponge Pricing Scheme Rewards Those Who Pay Attention


Edit Your Comment

  1. ffmariners says:

    That’s why I always buy 20 yogurts @ Giant, you mean I didn’t have to?!!?


  2. floyderdc says:

    I think it is a case of people just blindly buying more to save. Thinking you do need to buy two in order to get the $3.00 price. However I really can’t not feel too bad for somebody who can not do simple math and figure this out.

  3. arch05 says:

    Yes, everyone around you really is this stupid.

  4. faust1200 says:

    I hear if you are in good with the manager you can get 3 movies for $15. I’m so there.

  5. Duzer says:

    “However I really can’t not feel too bad for somebody who can not do simple math and figure this out.”

    As a math major, I really CAN’T NOT feel too bad for someone who didn’t pass elementary english.

  6. jamesdenver says:

    Yeah my local King Soopers (Kroger) lists ridiculous (to me) quantities for the “sooper card” savings

    10 2 liters for $10
    15 yogurts for whatever – and it’s the same price whether I buy 1, 2, or whatever’s listed.

    Every time I see that we joke about the Simpson’s episode where Comic Book Store guy has a wheelbarrel at the “100 Tacos for $100” promotion

  7. IrisMR says:

    Pfft. :)

    what I like when I go to the grocery is look at the prices like that. Such as the special I saw last week… Two small packs of 4 rolls of TP for 4,99 was the special. And right next to it, you had their 8 roll pack for 4,98…

  8. UpsetPanda says:

    I tend to buy more simply because if it is something I use often or will use again in the future (and not something I’m trying out to see whether I like it) I might as well buy two right now on the chance that when I need another one, the store won’t have it on sale. I don’t need to buy two jugs of juice but since it’s on sale for $1.50 each, and I drink a lot of juice, it saves me money because there’s a pretty good chance that when I go get more juice in the future, it won’t be on sale.

  9. aloe vera says:

    I was at Stop & Shop last night and ran into the same type of thing. Buy 4 bags of pita chips for $10 – I only wanted two, and guess what? They came to $5.
    They also had 3 cases of soda for $9. I bought one for $3.
    Do they really think their customers are that stupid?

    And man, this post makes me sound like I have a really crappy diet, huh? LOL

  10. kelmeister says:

    @faust1200: You can get three movies for $15, but one of them has to be Saw IV.

  11. RandoX says:

    Half the people you know are below average.

  12. DXDawg says:


    George Carlin is a genius.

  13. Opus says:

    I’ve known about this for years.
    However, you WILL find the occasional “must buy 3 for the special price” gotcha. Read those ads and shelf tags carefully.

  14. jaydez says:

    Buying more to save nothing is why I cancelled my Sam’s Club Membership. I found that I saved almost nothing over getting it at Big Y. All I managed to do was buy more stuff that I never finished before it went bad.

  15. UpsetPanda says:

    @UpsetPanda: Forgot to note that in all of the cases of me buying more to save more, the product was actually more expensive regularly. Everytime I see canned soup on sale 8/$10 I scoop up lots of cans because it makes them $1.25 each, versus the $2.20 they usually are.

  16. emptydarkone says:

    Ooh, those wiley marketing people!

    By the way, that’s only a couple of pictures, not a few…

  17. SaraAB87 says:

    Yeah it doesn’t help if you are not USING the things you buy more of. If you buy more than what you use you are wasting product and money even if the thing you are buying seems like a good deal. Better to just buy what you can use of a product at a normal store, you will probably save a bit then.

    However if you use a lot of something, go ahead and buy the big pack, just make sure they aren’t charging more for the product just because its in a larger package (previous consumerist article).

  18. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Um, 2 for $3.00 IS cheaper than $1.67.

    2 for $2.00 = $1.50, which is LESS than $1.67.

    So, what’s the problem with that one?

  19. mantari says:

    @aaron8301: 2 for $2.00 = $1.50


  20. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Ok, I get it. It’s the same whether you buy one or two. I’m having a blonde day.

  21. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @mantari: It was a typo, ok? jeesh, I typed it right on the TOP line! Once again, bad blond day for me.

  22. killarclown says:

    @aaron8301: SERIOUSLY?

  23. Same thing goes on at every grocery store around here, Dominick’s, Jewel, Meijer… They alway have 2-for to 10-for deals but if I end up just buying one of the items, the price comes out the same as if I bought the whole thing.

  24. dgcaste says:

    This isn’t as funny as the Red Bull on Target one.

  25. smoothtom says:

    The second sign says 2 for $3.00 (was $1.67). That’s a savings of 17 cents each. The “Rollback” is highlighting the price of it; the price is displayed on the shelf tag, which says $1.50. It’s reiterating, not superseding, the price on the shelf tag.

  26. MYarms says:

    I see prices like this everywhere that I shop. It pays to pay attention.

  27. elliepants says:

    Man, Wal-mart does that crap all the time. It’s not really a new tactic; I remember first noticing it ten years ago while buying some Totino’s pizzas in college.

  28. Siegeman says:

    This has always been a case when I’ve gone grocery shopping for some time. Four yogurts for $3? Ring one up, and it’s 75 cents.

    Of course, whenever they have to round, they round up, so you might loose a few cents if you don’t get the number listed on the rebate.

  29. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    It’s not false advertising, so who cares.

  30. krom says:

    I wish I could find good pictures like this. But I would rather shoot myself in the face than shop at WalMart*.

    *Unless they are the only place within 200 miles with a Wii, or the only place in town I can find that has the right brand of cold medicine at 12AM.

  31. eyesonly says:

    Reminds me of a story Brian Wansink tells in his book Mindless Eating (pub. ’06). Wansink (director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab) studies various consumer behaviors–how people will automatically eat bigger portions when using larger bowls; how certain stores’ sales techniques will lead consumers to buy more food than they actually want/need; and so on. Anyway, he had just finished a study on how sales always increase when stores put out “X for $Y” type signs… and he was at a grocery store with someone, and saw a sign for chewing gum–something like “10 for $2.” He was automatically counting out 10 packs onto the conveyor belt when the person with him said, “Didn’t you just publish an article about this?!” (The book is fun and a quick read–I recommend it.)

  32. UpsetPanda says:

    I’d buy 10 packs of gum if they were .20 each too. Then again, I go through one pack of gum in about a month so I’d probably just buy two packs…does gum have a shelf life?

  33. krunk4ever says:

    I’m not sure if someone’s mentioned this yet, if something is advertised as 2 for $10, you are not obligated to buy 2 to get the $10 price. The only reason why they show 2 for $x or 3 for $y, is to confuse consumers into thinking they “need” to buy that quantity to get that price. I’ve always just purchased the quantity I want and they are required by law to give it to you at that price even if you buy 1.

    Do note, this is different than the buy 1 get 1 free advertisements. Those you have to buy the given amount and receive the given amount free.

  34. Dave on bass says:

    @kelmeister: Had I been drinking my coffee when I read your comment, it would be all over my monitor right now. LOL – and I’m not just tossing around a net idiom, I laughed out loud at that.

  35. uricmu says:

    Took me a while to find out that Giant Eagle (Western PA) lists different prices if you buy one and if you buy the set (e.g., 3 for 5$), but charges you the discounted price if you buy a partial set (e.g., 2 of them)

  36. GOKOR says:

    I actually bought a couple DVD’s from Walmart, 2 for $10. Only it was in that big bin that just said 2 for $10 and nothing about them being $5 at the register by themselves.

    I noticed that when they were rung up and was like “oh cool, I can just buy one next time.” Still bought both movies as they were cool movies (American Psycho and Running Man).

  37. bdude says:

    At Woolworths in Australia they make you buy the x amount of products to get the discount whereas at Coles they let you buy any quantity. The advertisement is a nice round price (i.e 2 cakes for $3 sounds better than cakes for $1.50)

  38. rlee says:

    @ffmariners: Funny you should use that as an example. Didja notice Giant recently shrank their store-brand yoghurt from 8 oz to 6 oz? And the price reduction was rather less than commensurate. Feh.

  39. camman68 says:

    Doesn’t anyone else shop at Wal-Greens? I only go there to buy Pepsi (yes PEPSI) when it is on sale and I am too lazy to walk through the Dillons (aka Kroger) across the street. Usually, they require you to buy the specified amount to get the sales price. Example – Candy Bars are $0.65 each or 2/$1.00. They do this regularly.

    (I have to buy the sale merchandise. I can’t afford it otherwise!)

  40. ffmariners says:

    @rlee: How recent? I have not bought yogurt in a while because I usually do buy a lot at a time… just cause I have like 1 a day so I will buy like 30 if I like the flavors available.

    But that sucks, I hate when they do that. Sometimes I won’t notice til its next to an old package.

  41. Pizza Club says:

    When I worked at a Walmart in college, the policy was to make signage that said stuff like this. For instance “2 for $10” was correct and “$5.00” wasn’t. If you were able to do it, you were supposed to.

  42. flapjackboy says:

    Over here in the UK, if a store has say an item that sells for £1.75 and they have a 2 for £3.00 promotion, they have to display the regular, non promotion price on the shelf.

  43. ren1hoek says:

    Bloody well right! Spot on.