Posted by Ian
There was an item on Radio 4’s PM programme a few days ago about a supposedly new supermarket phenomenon.
Shoppers, according to the report, have started congregating in specific aisles at specific times in order to be ready to pounce the moment the ‘reduced to clear’ items are put on display. This usually happens between 7 and 8pm, when all the day’s leftover fresh produce is marked down in price by as much as 70 or 80%.
Such behaviour, which is apparently spreading throughout high street stores, was ascribed to the credit crunch. A well-spoken woman was heard bemoaning the fact she’d missed out on the chance for a bargain lamb chop.
But this isn’t a new thing. It’s been going on in some parts of the country for years. When I was a student in Liverpool in the mid-90s, early evening trips to the Reduced To Clear shelves were a regular occurrence. Of particular interest were things from the bakery; you could usually pick up doughnuts and pastries for five pence. Plenty of locals would also turn up, with their eyes on half-price sausages or dairy produce about to go past its sell-by date.
I wonder why it is only now being considered a news story. Presumably because it’s something that has started affecting all parts of society (i.e. the well-off along with the hard-up) and is happening in all parts of the country.
What is a matter of routine for some clearly counts as exceptional circumstances for others.
So which are you: a devout store snob or a shameless Reduced To Clear scavenger?