Christmas is coming and the supermarkets want to fatten their profits. So beware. Ignore the bigger boxes of biscuits, the larger jars of goose fat and the mince pies that must be eaten in the next three weeks.
The name of the game at this time of year for the Big Four supermarkets is to get you to buy more of your Christmas food and drink from them than from their rivals.
But unlike their discounter competitors they tend not to try to battle on price. They try to do it by sleight of hand. Making us feel wanted.
They are printing loads of vouchers for loyalty points to try to persuade us to buy clothes, homeware and other things we do not want or need. They are trying to hoodwink us into spending more believing we are saving money or building up a cash bonus when in effect we are spending more than we intended.
Spend £60 today to get 90p in the future
Oh and if I use my card ten times before the end of October I will get an extra 100 points worth 50p. Another voucher offers triple points if I spend £60 at my next shop. So I can get 180 points worth 90p for spending £20 more than I usually do at the store.
Put simply, it’s not worth changing where you shop over a loyalty card. You commonly get £1 or 50p back per £100, which is easily cancelled out by the supermarket selling its products for slightly more in the first place.
The Big Four have not learned from the success of their continental discounters, which offer fixed low prices. They still have yo-yo pricing and try to confuse with triple points if you buy more than usual.
Supermarkets do not believe in Father Christmas
And the season to be merry is their challenge to make big profits. Many retailers rely on the final three months of the year to make their annual profits. The danger for customers is if they get into the spirit of Christmas too early and leave their calculators behind.