Bit of a bargain

We’ve got into a bit of a habit of visiting our local Co-op after 7 in the evening, when they are starting to discount stock.  Clearly we’re getting known for it by the staff – one of the cashiers offered us a very low price on some biscuits that we’d looked over in the queue…

Thing is, we all like a bargain.  My excuse is that I’m stopping food going to waste, as well as getting a good price.  Sometimes the discounts are really good – Dan got some packs of salmon fillet that were going at 20p each…But it’s not always best for the waistline.

Most people are used to bargains one way or another – market stalls, buy one get one free offers, checking out the high street sales, that kind of thing.  Yet there’s watchdog type programmes that check up on stores which seem to put their products straight to sale.  It’s a competitive world, I guess.  But I do have to ask myself, would I be interested in getting something if it weren’t in a sale?

The ‘Body and Soul’ section of the Saturday Times ran some tests on what happened to people’s brain patterns when they were shopping, and particularly when they got a bargain.

When it was deemed to be a particularly good bargain, some chemical went sky-high, in a way that would happen to you if you went bungy-jumping, even though people are not aware of such a surge of positive feeling.

So maybe we’re hard wired to it.  Or maybe we need to guard against it, if marketing people are going to use such awareness to get us to buy yet more stuff…

We’re also a society which is swamped by consumer choice.  So maybe by choosing bargains only, we’re making life easier for ourselves, cutting down the choices.   Or maybe we’re giving away our choices to someone else, who has profit margins, peaks in stock, and other market forces to guide their decision making, rather than what we want to choose.

Thankfully, the dieticians will back me up in saying that it’s always good to choose vegetables.  I think.