I saw a recent post in Harpers Online about the BBC Watchdog programme in which the redoubtable Oz Clarke attacked the so-called bargain prices available in many supermarkets. So I decided to look back at some of my posts on this topic, including one from January 3rd, 2011, where I highlighted certain "bargains" available in Tesco. It's worth noting that Elizabeth seems to be on half-price even now, nearly 2 years later!
Oz questioned whether any of the wines in question were ever really on sale at the stated full-price and got some substantial support from Allan Cheesman who really knows this industry inside out. In the articles linked above the point is made that consumers assume that if the supermarkets can then anyone can sell at a so-called 50% off. This just isn't possible.
My understanding is that one store has a bottle of wine which was "bought" at the alleged full-price with a till receipt as proof but that stock is not available in any other store until the "sale" starts - this is used to show, if questioned, that the wine was on sale but this does not show that any consumer could have bought it!
There are a number of sales like this where wines are stocked in specially to be sold at some nominal "lower" price. The 50% off is a real joke since, if the vendor is still making a profit, this means the original price was at a vast profit.
I then looked back at my piece after last year's budget which saw a €1 increase in Excise Duty. Recently the Journal.ie ran an article in relation to an extra €45 million raised from this measure - but note that in my blog last year I calculated that the target was €90 million! I wonder if they'll fall equally short next year? The fact that the Goveernment still hasn't introduced Minimum Pricing is shocking. This would have got around the VAT refunds to supermarkets selling at a loss and achieved a positive health benefit. More than likely the gains, in both real income and reduced health costs, would far outweigh the small gain made by imposing higher duty rates.
Then again, if I'd wanted incisive and lateral thinking, I wouldn't have voted for any politician!
- Dublin, Ireland
- Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. I have worked in wine education, mostly, but also retail and consultancy. I am currently a member of the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) and am also a member of the Events, Trips and Governance Committees. Having had problems with potentially libelous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.