Consumerism Toxic Custard newsletter

Apples: $5.98, or $6.48?

Over the weekend at the supermarket: I was suspicious of this (which is why I took the photo).

Would these Pink Lady apples be $5.98, or $6.48 per kilogram? (The Granny Smiths to the left were a different price again.)

Apples - how much?

Come the checkout, sure enough… the higher price. Was I ripped-off?

Self-serve checkout

If I had the time and energy, I’d have asked. Perhaps I’ll ask next time if the contradictory signs are still up. It’s only 50 cents, but I think it’s misleading.

I’m not sure where it’ll go in the long run in terms of job numbers, but I’ve come to love the self-serve checkouts. (They came to our area about five years ago.)

I’d never use them if I had lots and lots of stuff, because skilled staff members are faster, but I tend to buy items in dribs and drabs, typically $10-$20 of groceries, but never more than about $40 — in part because there’s a supermarket right next to the railway station so it’s very convenient to buy things on my way home. And unless there’s a long queue, I prefer to be able to pack my items the way I like them for the walk home.

Plus it avoids the dropping of the apples into the bag with a bruising thump, which I have seen occasionally from the human checkout staff.

Amusingly, the self-serve checkouts include a picture of a type of cloth green bag no longer sold — Aldi and Woolworths now sell thick plastic ones instead, though my cloth green bags (perhaps a decade old, perhaps more), live on. Which was the point, wasn’t it.

Update: Typo — thanks Roger!

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Apples: $5.98, or $6.48?”

Typo: I think you meant $5.98 not $5.48.
Very annoying when signs are wrong – I suspect it’s a blunder rather than deliberate mistake.
Aldi’s pink ladies have gone up to $4.98 kg now, but still undercut Coles and Woolies.

@Roger, thanks!

Pink Ladies at Woolworths and Coles seem to vary… about $6 is probably typical, but sometimes you’ll see them at about $4, perhaps when they’re overstocked.

Likewise bananas can vary widely between about $2.50 and $4.50, with W+C tending to be consistently above $3, and Aldi a bit cheaper.

The local greengrocers often have better prices, but larger Pink Lady apples seem to be a bit scarce there, which is why I end up at the supermarkets for apples. (I prefer Jazz apples for crispness, but they’re very seasonal.)

Section 47 of the Australian Consumer Law states that:

47 Multiple pricing

(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, supply goods if:

(a) the goods have more than one displayed price; and
(b) the supply takes place for a price that is not the lower, or lowest, of the displayed prices.

So to answer your question, yes, you were ripped off!

Coles is better with shelf fresh food pricing but not perfect either. We put through up to $100 worth of groceries at the self serve quite efficiently, but really, it would be better packed if we took it through the checkout. It just depends how busy the checkouts and self serve are as to what we do, and shallowly, how attractive and friendly the person on the check out might be.

The other misleading label I have noticed recently at Coles supermarket is the ‘everyday’ lower price sticker. I have questioned why Coles use a red label, when a red label usually indicates a sale. But the white labelled price underneath is the same. It is not a special.

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