CASPIAN: Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering

What Savings?

For an in-depth look at the various pricing issues surrounding card programs please see our Overview of Pricing Issues page.

New!Card stores' "everyday prices" 28%-71% higher than the competition
John Vanderlippe CASPIAN

We 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.

Albertsons prices skyrocket in New Mexico
Zelda Gordon No-Cards Shoppers, New Mexico

Zelda 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.

Albertsons uses two-tiered pricing to gouge customers
Cindy Van Auken Waco Tribune

When 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 $3.99.

But the sale prices at my card store are so great!
(How ice cream prices expose the lie of card discounts)

Katherine Albrecht CASPIAN

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.

The QFC "Advantage Card" is No Bargain
Katherine Albrecht CASPIAN (with KIRO TV)

Kroger'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 shoppers.

Kroger "Card Savings" Exposed as a Sham
John Vanderlippe (2000) CASPIAN

Here 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!

CASPIAN Shoppers Discuss Kroger "Card Savings"
E-mail Received CASPIAN

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 out cards.

Safeway Prices 38% Higher than Food 4 Less
Katherine Albrecht (1999) CASPIAN

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 Math.
Katherine Albrecht CASPIAN

"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

Zelda Gordon (1999) No-Cards Shoppers, New Mexico

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.

Do 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.

Grocery Store Test
Bob Hansen CBS Channel 8 News, KFMB San Diego

Yet another study finds prices are higher at stores that use "loyalty" cards.

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