Friday, 1 July 2011

Beware of the tricksters

This looks like a nice fruit pie, apple and blackberry to be precise. I bought two in a plastic container from Tesco the other night, paid 30p instead of the original price of £1.

A little treat I thought, a good size, quite deep, more a pie than a tart.

Oh dear, how wrong can you be :o( There was maybe a desert spoon full of jammy type filling....... and a lot of air, inside the pastry case. No way are they worth £1, people must be potty to pay that.

There is a lot of trickery going on with food these days. You need to pick the items up and judge the weight of what's inside if you can't actually see the product. I picked up a box of four battered fish steaks in a box, they seemed a good price. Then I turned the box on it's side and the contents all slid to one end, indicating that the pieces were very small inside. They trick you by using a bigger box with a delicious looking picture on the front. No thanks I won't bother.

The amount of fish in fish fingers is shrinking, whereas the amount of coating is getting thicker, another trick, bulk it out with something cheaper. When you pick something up in a packet watch when the product falls to the bottom, and note how much empty packet there is at the top. Why don't they cut the packet size down and use less? Because it wouldn't sell very well, most people grab it and put it in their trolley without checking. The manufacturers are constantly thinking of ways to pull the wool over our eyes, to trick us into buying less for more money. What we need to do is reject the trickery and refuse to buy, changing to a cheaper version.

Anyway, I've got another hobby, posting these 450 newsletters through people's letterboxes. My friend is on the parish council of a neighbouring village, and they have no one to deliver these. I said I would help out as it's just up my street, ha ha, being as it involves a lot of walking.

So I've printed a map so I don't get confused which houses have been done and which haven't. It's all to do with logistics you see. Winding my way up and down streets on my feet is very much like trucking up and down the country on motorways. I'll soon get used to it again. Toodle pip.


  1. I've noticed that with fish fingers too.
    Pork pies are very disappointing also. If you take off the crust and the jelly(usually chicken stock I think) what remains is a pathetic little blob and sometimes that is gristly too.

  2. Yes, manufacturers and food companies are doing that all over. Even toilet paper rolls are smaller. As a consumer we really have to look over what we purchase.

  3. Hi MQ,
    It's something that has not escaped my attention (as slow as what I am!) There is certainly all sorts of trickery going on when it comes to food sales. Me thinks that growing your own or foraging is the only sure fire way to know what ends up in your belly and that you've paid a fair price.

  4. Not only are contents getting smaller, but putting up the price a few pence every few weeks also seems to be a popular supermarket past time these days. Over 6 months the packets of coffee I used to buy have gone up 50% but in really small amounts, a bit a month. Like John says, Growing your own and foraging is the way forward.

  5. In the US, gallon jugs are now holding only 3/4 as much, not really a gallon, but the price increases. I bought a "gallon" of olive oil at a very good price, only to discover there was only 3 qts in my gallon instead of four quarts. So, that was no deal at all!

  6. Hello, MQ,

    We have noticed the same thing for some time over on this side of the pond. Like Practical Parsimony said the gallons aren't really gallons any more. What really burned me was the claim one of the manufacturers put out that the didn't want to raise the prices and had no choice but to reduce the size of the package. As if that weren't a stealth price increase!!

  7. My favourite is when you buy meat eg some chops on a tray. when you unpack them you can guarantee the one that lies beneath the label is grisely and inedible.

  8. Another new one I have just noticed today is that my supermarket (Sainsbury) has stopped selling 'small' eggs. All that is available is medium, large and extra large now and a dozen medium eggs now contains on average 6 that I consider very small. Just another way in which they are palming us off with small eggs at the greater price. Definitely want to get chickens!!!

  9. Another trick that supermarkets play on their customers is to charge more per pound/kilo for some larger boxes.

    Most people assume that larger quantities are cheaper than smaller. That's not always the case though. For example, it is cheaper to purchase two 500g boxes of Pedigree Markies (the dog treats) at my local Sainsbury's than it is to buy one large box. Sainsbury's (and Tesco) do the same with other lines too.

    Check em out before you check out!

    And while I'm talking check outs; check out the looks you get at the check out till when you hold up your change to the light to check the notes aren't fake - the way they do.

  10. Hello MeanQueen

    I have just come across your blog and have enjoyed looking through your posts.
    Your photo of a fish and chip dinner reminded me of something I haven't had for a very long time.
    So I have now signed-up to be your newest follower.

  11. Yes, well as I always say, 'trust no-one'. They're all out to get you, all they want is your money. Besides, home made is far better, at least you know what's in it.

  12. I've noticed that too. Bought some chocolate coated brazils the other day and they were 10p dearer and 5 grams lighter than last time I bought them which wasn't long ago! I only wanted a small bag as a treat. Yoghurt pots, noticed on the small ones, have big gaps at the bottom, if you turn them up, the container starts a good bit up from the bottom. When packaging is redesigned it's usually to make the contents less and put the price up. Washing powder boxes, it used to be 28 washes in a box or whatever, now it's 25, and the price is more. I don't use the recommended amount of powder anyway so a 60 wash box lasts me several months. Also as Brian pointed out, 2 smaller packets of a product costs less than a bigger packet. Another thing, if you are used to buying a particular pack of something, keep tabs on the calorie content of it and then if the item is repackaged/new "improved" recipe etc, you'll see that the calorie content goes down a good bit too. Also the sneaky "offers", like 2 bags of nuts for £2.00 I think it was in Tesco recently, some were much less than a £1 so, if I bought two at less than a £1.00, then I'm paying more, unless you put them through as separate transactions. Sneaky gits. I asked one of the staff how the "offer" worked but they couldn't tell me?! Another reduced item that they had, well there were several on the shelf, they were all out of date by a year I should have reported it but just pointed it out to the Customer Service staff, who quickly removed them all. You certainly do have to keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you when shopping these days. Cheers, Christy x

  13. Dear Meanqueen

    Sorry to butt into this post but I know you are a lady who would know the answer to this one:

    If I have shower that produces instant hot water, the only reason I am turning the boiler on is to heat water for the sink to wash up in.

    Am I right in thinking that it would be cheaper to boil the kettle.

    Your wisdom is required.

  14. You've given us a good list of trickery things to look out for Christy, thanks. I am beginning to think that all food manufacturers and shop keepers are liars, you can't believe anything anyone tells you any more.

    Greenflag, that is a question that has been debated over and over again. Some will say leave the hot water switched on and it costs less money in the long run because the system does not have to work so hard to heat up a big tank from cold. But in my opinion, and I don't know if I am right or not because I am not an engineer, it makes sense to me to only heat enough water for the job you are doing at the time, eg washing up in the sink. I can only say this based on my own circumstances of a single person living alone.

    I think people who leave their hot water system on 24/7 are lazy, they want it on tap because they cannot be bothered to fill a kettle and wait for it to boil. Also having it on tap means it is easy to be wastefull and use more than you need, whereas a measured kettlefull is an exact amount so you cant waste it.

    My electricity bill is very reasonable, I heat a tank of water once every two weeks for a bath, all other times I boil a kettle to wash. This method also saves water and saves money because I am on a meter for that as well.

    I am experimenting by heating my water in a pan on the top of the gas cooker, to see if that cuts a little bit off my electricity bill. I heard that gas was cheaper than electricity.

    So for me a kettle works best, but maybe for a family of six it may not. You would have to have three or four kettles if everyone wanted hot water at the same time.

  15. thanks meanqueen.

    I am going to use the kettle method for a while.

  16. I have just become your latest follower (found you by pure luck) I too am in N.Lincolnshire. I agree so much with what you say about the contents in packagingI am noticing this more and more.


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