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Reader feedback: Tricky pricing

Re: Gotcha! Inspections are up, Volume 11, Number 11, March 21 - March 27, 2005

I wonder if it is just the superstores that are playing games with the Slovak consumers.

If one looks at, just as an example, the circus around "Actimel", produced by Danone, one would have to keep records to be able to figure out what the actual price tag is. Less than one year ago, Actimel cost Sk44.90 for four. Next thing you knew this was the special price, reduced from Sk49.90.

It would have been fairer if the price would have simply gone up from Sk44.90 to Sk49.90. Danone was evidently not satisfied with this "increase-via-reduction", for next one could buy, at yet another "bargain", six units for the price of four, that is, for Sk57.90. Four Actimels now regularly cost Sk57.90, while, if I read Danone correctly, the price never actually went up.

That is one thing, but much to my surprise, Actimel in Belgium did not go up during that same period, and I can buy a perfect equivalent from Lidl there for a quarter less, the same Lidl that is also in Slovakia.

Also, in the meantime, the crown went from just over Sk40 to the euro to Sk38.80. By the looks of it, major suppliers and superstores are still in the process of testing out the Slovak market (to establish how much they can drag out of it); it almost looks as though this is some kind of joint exercise.

I used Actimel as an example here, for that product is the same all over, but one can also see the above scenario with many other products, cat food for instance, fish, frozen pizzas, fresh common and uncommon vegetables, and so on. For all my life in a capitalist environment, I have carefully scrutinized my day-to-day expenditure at leisure, but when in Slovakia, so it appears, it is actually hard work to do this job properly. Poor Slovaks!

Oscar,
Radošovce, Slovakia

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