For an in-depth look at the various pricing issues surrounding card programs please see our Overview of Pricing Issues page.
"everyday prices" 28%-71% higher than the competitionWe compared the "everyday" prices at four Midwestern supermarkets and
found that the non-sale items you buy at the card store may be costing a lot
more than you realize.
John Vanderlippe CASPIAN
prices skyrocket in New MexicoZelda examined prices at five New Mexico supermarkets over a
three-year period. In that time prices at her locally-owned, card-free
supermarket increased only 1%, but Albertsons prices skyrocketed a whopping
26%. It looks like this is how Albertsons gears up before offering those
"fabulous discounts" when the card comes to town.
Zelda Gordon No-Cards Shoppers, New Mexico
two-tiered pricing to gouge customersWhen Albertson's rolled out cards in Texas, the labeling on a box of
Velveeta cheese said the manufacturer's suggested retail price was $3.99. At
non-card stores, the price for the cheese hovered within a few cents of the
suggested price. But at Albertson's the regular price for the same block of
cheese was listed as $5.99, with the preferred card price being the competitive
Cindy Van Auken Waco Tribune
But the sale prices at my card store are so
great! Contrary to what most shoppers think --discounted prices
are not driven by the stores; they are almost always driven by manufacturers
and distributors. But the real story is how card "specials" double-gouge the
10% of people who don't use the card.
(How ice cream prices expose the lie of card
The QFC "Advantage Card" is No
BargainKroger's card offering are all about
raising prices. CASPIAN teamed up with KIRO (CBS) television in Seattle to
expose how QFC's "Advantage Card" is actually taking advantage of
CASPIAN (with KIRO
Kroger "Card Savings" Exposed as a ShamHere is evidence that "savings" from Kroger's card program are an
illusion. John recorded the sale prices from Kroger ads during the weeks
immediately before and after the "Kroger Plus" card was introduced earlier this
year. He found that "card prices" were often higher than old fashioned sale
prices -- on the very same products!
John Vanderlippe (2000) CASPIAN
CASPIAN Shoppers Discuss Kroger "Card
Savings"Kroger's savings claims are refuted by the experiences of
actual shoppers. This email reflects shoppers feelings of frustration over the
years as Kroger and the other chains relentlessly raise prices when they roll
Safeway Prices 38% Higher than Food 4 Less
Like Zelda Gordon above, I did my first price comparison
in 1999. The result? Without a "rewards card," I would have to spend 38% more
on a typical grocery order at Safeway than at Food 4 Less. And with a card?
Safeway was still 19% more.
Aiming for that 5% Savings Certificate? Do the
"Every time your
shopper card purchases reach $250, we'll reward you with a coupon good for 5%
off your next order!" -- Surveillance Supermarket
Don't believe the
hype -- these 5% certificates actually amount to very little when you do the
numbers. Read the whole story.
Miles of Aisles -- A
Supermarket Pricing Survey
Gordon (1999) No-Cards Shoppers,
Zelda's original pricing
study. Read about Zelda's adventures and discoveries as she takes on 5
Supermarkets, 53 Items, and 7 Sets of Prices in 8 Days.
Supermarket Discount Cards Really Save You Money?
Drew Griffin CBS Channel 2 News, Southern California
An investigative reporter
finds that markets that claim to be saving shoppers the most are the ones that
are charging the most.
Bob Hansen CBS Channel 8 News, KFMB San Diego
Yet another study finds prices
are higher at stores that use "loyalty" cards.
Do you know of a site or a
survey that should be listed here? Drop us a line at