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They're not Tesco's. They're mine.
October 14, 2011 4:43 AM   Subscribe

Tesco usually sells Terry's Chocolate Oranges for £2.75. Yet, in a scene reminiscent of US show Extreme Couponing, a UK 'daily deals' site discovered a glitch that meant shoppers got them for 29p each. And boy howdy, did they get them.
posted by mippy (74 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Buy One Get Eight Free. Whoa.
(I love Terry's Chocolate Oranges!)
posted by baejoseph at 4:49 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jamie Oliver's not going to like this.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:53 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am far more upset about missing out on this than I should be. Terry's Chocolate Oranges are orbs of sheer delight.
posted by jonnyploy at 4:53 AM on October 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


The 'How Did We Do?' at the bottom of this receipt almost makes me feel sorry for Tesco's. It's like a kid who's just had his lunch money stolen asking what he should do in future to smooth out the mugging process.
posted by litleozy at 4:56 AM on October 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow, very jealous. Those thangs are excellent.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:59 AM on October 14, 2011


I don't want to hear ever again about greedy corporations or crooked politicians. You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?
posted by Wolfdog at 4:59 AM on October 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


How does that make you any different from those you rail against?

We have Terry's Chocolate Oranges. [keeping the flame burning, folks]
posted by robself at 5:01 AM on October 14, 2011 [75 favorites]


He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Terence.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Terence.'
Then will he gap his gums and show his stumps,
And say 'These rots I had on Terence day.'

We few, we happy few, we band of shoppers;
For he to-day that sugars his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their till-points cheap whiles any speaks
That binged with us upon Saint Terence day.
posted by Abiezer at 5:07 AM on October 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Something similar happened with me and Epson ink cartridges on Amazon last week. $3.79 instead of around $37. It had to have been a typo.
I ordered three, and I'm still wary of any random knocks on my door.
posted by newpotato at 5:08 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bought some chocolate oranges and collapsed the economy.
I bought some chocolate oranges and threw thousands of people into the street.
I bought some chocolate oranges and voted to extend the Patriot Act.
posted by user92371 at 5:10 AM on October 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


My mother works in "price integrity" at Tesco, and this stuff happens all the time. But because it's impossible for individual stores to change the price of items, they just have to work around it once it's noticed by staff or customers. For such a huge price difference as this, the store workers ought to have pulled all the stock off the floor until it could be fixed. However, in many cases the items just have the shelfedge labels removed so that customers aren't aware of the price "deal" until they reach the checkout. The hope is that word won't get out before the prices in the system are changed, but...oops.
posted by Jehan at 5:13 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tesco have a bit of a history of this sort of thing.
posted by joannemullen at 5:14 AM on October 14, 2011


The glitch is pretty interesting:
The error occurred because customers were able to combine a three-for-£5 deal on chocolate oranges with another buy-one-get-one-free offer. However, the computer error at the tills meant that they accidentally also applied a further discount when the chocolates were bought in multiples of six.
Thats quite an obscure bug in the pricing rules - a few years ago a couple of people would have stumbled upon it by accident, but news of the glitch wouldn't have been able to spread so fast.
posted by memebake at 5:15 AM on October 14, 2011


Ecstatic shoppers bought in bulk, with one filling his trolley with 192 sweet treats for £57, saving an incredible £471.


Is it really a saving when you've just spent £57 on something you didn't particularly want in the first place? I mean, if the guy was already on his way to Tesco with the intention of buying 192 Chocolate Oranges when he learned about the glitch, then I doff my cap at his stroke of good luck. But I kinda suspect that he just spent an extra £57 that he had no intention of spending and now has 192 Chocolate Oranges sitting in his kitchen.
posted by afx237vi at 5:21 AM on October 14, 2011 [21 favorites]


Is it really a saving when you've just spent £57 on something you didn't particularly want in the first place? I mean, if the guy was already on his way to Tesco with the intention of buying 192 Chocolate Oranges when he learned about the glitch, then I doff my cap at his stroke of good luck. But I kinda suspect that he just spent an extra £57 that he had no intention of spending and now has 192 Chocolate Oranges sitting in his kitchen.

Well he's got a good 50 years worth of stocking fillers there (depending on family size).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:26 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


and now has 192 Chocolate Oranges sitting in his kitchen.

Or is lapsing into a diabetic coma right now...
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:27 AM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I guess this is the flip-side of those ridiculous 35p each or two for £1 offers (which are, presumably, not actually errors).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:28 AM on October 14, 2011


I've never had a Chocolate Orange, because they seem expensive for what you get, five or six bucks for something about the weight of a biggish kit kat...but i have been curious.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:29 AM on October 14, 2011


We have cameras chocolate oranges.
posted by arcticseal at 5:31 AM on October 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Kurious oranj?
posted by Abiezer at 5:31 AM on October 14, 2011


wasn't the link i was expecting, but excellent
posted by PinkMoose at 5:34 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn, robself beat me to it.
posted by arcticseal at 5:35 AM on October 14, 2011


You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?

Turn a blind eye to what? What environment was poisoned by this greed? What poor person killed? What unfair law enacted?
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had a popping candy chocolate orange in my stocking a couple of years ago and made the mistake of leaving it in my room, alone, with a Scotsman. Those guys can put away the sweets.
posted by mippy at 5:48 AM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is it really a saving when you've just spent £57 on something you didn't particularly want in the first place?

More likely this guy, like many of us, is the kind of person who always wants 192 Terry's Chocolate Oranges.

But I kinda suspect that he just spent an extra £57 that he had no intention of spending and now has 192 Chocolate Oranges sitting in his kitchen.

As good trades go, this is up there with the Louisiana purchase.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:49 AM on October 14, 2011 [26 favorites]


I have so much strength inside of me. You have no idea. I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:54 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Came for the "We have chocolate oranges"; left satisfied.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Well he's got a good 50 years worth of stocking fillers there (depending on family size).

[Dec. 25, 2060:]

"What's in the stocking??? Oh, it's a 49-year-old chocolate orange...."
posted by gimonca at 6:15 AM on October 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is really interesting because I have been thinking lately that the grocery store mistakes never favor the customer-- always the store.

When the grocery stores first went to electronic pricing, consumer groups were nervous: How could we, as consumers, ensure that the price we paid at the cash register was the same price listed on the shelf. The answer was that the grocery stores would give us the item for free if it rang up at the wrong price.

About 8 years ago I caught the Kroger cashier ringing up my bag of onions at the wrong price. I expected to get the item for free, but I was told that now the policy was the transaction had to be completed, all my items rung up and paid for, and if I caught the error at that point it would be free.

A few years passed and the policy has changed again. At both Kroger and Food Lion you no longer get the item for free unless you ask-- and even then you usually have to speak to a manager. I have been told by two different managers that the policy has been changed but "as a courtesy to their loyal customers" they will continue to give you the item for free if you ask. Of course, who knows how long that will last.

Now some of you are thinking that I am greedy-- that I want something for nothing (I know some of the cashiers think this about me.) Not at all. What I want is for the store to sell me the item at the price they have told me they are selling me the item.

Think about this: On a weekly shopping trip I might buy 75 items-- most of them without prices. Then when I get up to the cash register I have to trust the store that all 75 items are the price they told me they would be. I make choices about each item, sometimes (often) that choice is based on price. If I buy a toothpaste because it is marked as on sale and is 35 cents cheaper than the store brand, I have to trust that the store rings up the sale price.

Now I am a careful person with a very good memory. I often study my sales receipt before I leave the store and very often I catch mistakes. A package of cucumbers that was listed in the produce section rings up at $2.79 instead of $1.99. If I remember the original price and if I have time and if it is worth my time, I will stand in line at customer service and haggle with the clerk to get $2.79 back. The way I see it, the store is paying me $2.79 to point out their mistake.

How many customers bother looking at their sales receipt? How many remember the prices? How many think it is worth their time to stand in line? If the policy was, you only get the price difference, then I probably wouldn't bother.

Here is something else to think about. The store I shop at (Food Lion) is cheap but they are pretty careless. Those cucumbers have been ringing up wrong for over two months-- even though I have had to request my refund from two different managers. That means for two months I have been getting free cucumbers but for two months all the other customers have been over-paying by 80 cents for their cucumbers.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:18 AM on October 14, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm wondering if you could have combined this with Asda's "twice the money back" deal to get even more extraordinary savings.
posted by seanyboy at 6:25 AM on October 14, 2011


First they came for the two-for-one toothpaste, no limit,
and I didn't speak out because I didn't have bad teeth.

Then they came for the toilet paper -- one coupon per "household",
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't incontinent.

Then they came for the ink cartridges,
and I didn't speak out because I only print three pages per week. Text.

Then I came for the Terry's chocolate oranges
but there was no one left to speak out for me and they were

ALL FRICKIN' GONE!!!

Next time I see a computer glitch, I'm sure going to tell someone --
right after I get my six bags of bargain safely home.
posted by Mike D at 6:34 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it really a saving when you've just spent £57 on something you didn't particularly want in the first place?

It is if you then flog those 192 on for a quid a pop as some people have reported doing.
posted by ninebelow at 6:38 AM on October 14, 2011


Now I am a careful person with a very good memory. I often study my sales receipt before I leave the store and very often I catch mistakes.

My wife is exactly the same. In fact, the main reason she won't shop at Wal-Mart is the incredible frequency with which she finds errors. Probably one every trip. Always in the store's favor, of course.

Furthermore, because of her good memory for prices she frequently finds a "rolled back" price is actually the same price as a few weeks ago, before they raised the price temporarily.
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


One man reportedly bought 192 of the products, which normally sell for £2.75, at a cost of just £57 – saving himself an amazing £471.

Or spending £57 on something he wouldn't otherwise have bought, depending how you look at it.
posted by Grangousier at 6:43 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm convinced you could sell people 10 cases of Fukushima Glowing Water™ as long as they believed they were somehow discovering an amazing deal the retailer was unaware of.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:45 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will admit that I probably would have bought six, but I love those oranges, especially the dark chocolate ones. And while I agree with those who find this a bit skeevy to take advantage of, it does seem to me that stores that discount heavily frequently make errors. It's part of why I don't shop at the cheapest tier of grocery store any more; I'm not convinced it's that much cheaper when I take their failure to honor prices, accidentally or deliberately, into account.
posted by immlass at 6:48 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm convinced you could sell people 10 cases of Fukushima Glowing Water™ as long as they believed they were somehow discovering an amazing deal the retailer was unaware of.

Or you just put a sticker on it that says "Rich in minerals!"
posted by Wolfdog at 6:54 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I am a careful person with a very good memory. I often study my sales receipt before I leave the store and very often I catch mistakes.

I'm the same way. I kind of like the self-checkouts that some stores have for this reason. It gives me time to double check the prices. While I don't remember all the prices, I do remember which items are on sale (2 for 1 or $0.50 off with a store card), and often these are rung up as if they aren't. So you call over the clerk, and they scan it, and (at my Safeway, at least) give me the item for free. But you're right, you have to ask.

I dearly love chocolate oranges. I rejoice in the good fortune of my British friends!!
posted by bluefly at 6:55 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm dumb at couponing - can someone please explain the math(s)?

The rush was sparked by an error which combined a ‘three-for-£5’ discount with a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ offer when the items were bought in multiples of six.

The buy-one-get-one-free offer allowed customers to buy a chocolate orange for £1.375. The three-for-£5 deal saved shoppers £3.25.

To buy six oranges should have cost £16.50, but with the double discount, the price is a mere £1.75 – just over 29p each.

posted by arcticwoman at 7:02 AM on October 14, 2011


I love these things but to be honest the one I get in my stocking each Christmas is enough. There's no way I'd be able to eat a bunch of them without sharing.

And you know that ain't happenin'.
posted by tommasz at 7:11 AM on October 14, 2011


Love those things. I have maybe had them 5 or 6 times in my life. Absolutely perfect with Bosnian coffee!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:14 AM on October 14, 2011


Can someone confirm that the white chocolate limited edition version was as amazing as it looked?
posted by mintcake! at 7:18 AM on October 14, 2011


It took 19 comments to get to "we have cameras?"
posted by caddis at 7:25 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


At both Kroger and Food Lion you no longer get the item for free unless you ask

Publix still gives you the item for free. This once got me an $8 box of Fiber One bars for free, which just about made my day. Publix gets crap for being more expensive than Kroger, but I find myself going through a lot less hassle shopping there.

They also took back a partially-used crate of eggs, because 5 of the eggs had leaked. I didn't have a receipt, and they gave me cash anyway.
posted by litnerd at 7:29 AM on October 14, 2011


I don't want to hear ever again about greedy corporations or crooked politicians. You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?

Simple, i would never do this and don't like that others did. Just because some did means no one can complain? I guess calling all rich people murderers and rapists is okay now because a few have been and no one should complain, or since the corporations get essentially welfare, the rich should shut up about the poor getting it too.
posted by usagizero at 7:31 AM on October 14, 2011


articwoman - I dunno, we don't have 'couponing' US-style over here, but the till makes automatic deductions at checkout if there's a saving for buying multiple items (so if, say, a bread roll is 55p, or 2 for £1, the till will knock 10p off my receipt if I buy two). I think in this case multiple promotions took the multiple discounts off, and then an extra on top.

So I think - let's pretend oranges cost £2 each because I am rubbish at maths:

six oranges at £2 each = £12
but with a 3 for £5 offer added = £10
plus buying six items meant that three items were free = £5

So your six oranges in this example cost you 0.83 each.

Look, I only got a C in Maths...
posted by mippy at 7:32 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least it was before this stuff stopped
posted by mippy at 7:34 AM on October 14, 2011


It took 19 comments to get to "we have cameras?"
Originally, but after applying a substantial discount, it only took 6.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:39 AM on October 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love whacking them against the wall. Then I spend the next month eating them a slice every few days.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:42 AM on October 14, 2011


You know who else loved chocolate?
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:01 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chocolate Oranges?

Back in 2004, Iceland Air mistakenly listed round trip flights fron New York to Reykjavik for $61. People took them up on it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:02 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm dumb at couponing - can someone please explain the math(s)?

3 oranges for £5.
If you get 6, that's two lots of the offer, so:
6 for £10.

But, there's the second offer: buy 1, get 1 free.
So the system, ignoring the first offer, automatically subtracts the FULL price of 1 orange for every 2 oranges purchased:
6 oranges, so subtract full price of 3 oranges.
Oranges are £2.75 each at full price, so subtract 3 x £2.75 = £8.25

So....
6 oranges are £10, minus the full cost of 3 oranges, equals £10 - £8.25 = £1.75
£1.75/6 = 29.2p

If the system had done the discount calculations the other way round (BOGOF, then 3 for £5), you'd have just got 6 oranges for £5 (83.3p each).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:11 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't want to hear ever again about greedy corporations or crooked politicians. You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?
posted by Wolfdog at 4:59 AM on October 14 [7 favorites +] [!]

I am the 29p!
posted by chavenet at 8:23 AM on October 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I was quite a small child I was disappointed that the brown soup at the Terry's Restaurant at York was not in the least bit chocolate flavoured. The mild thunking crackling sound I hear now is fair recompense.
posted by hawthorne at 8:35 AM on October 14, 2011


were they shop-soiled?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2011


Mippy & EndsofInvention: Thanks! That makes sense now. Awesome.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:14 AM on October 14, 2011


I also carefully check my receipts in stores that I do not trust (Tesco and Whole Foods). It's really not hard to find small errors and to predict which things may be incorrectly priced. For example, I remember noticing a special offer on bags of obscure grains in Whole Foods. I took an armful of them and sure enough they were not actually in the system on special offer. Unfortunately I did not get them all free, but just one. Tesco, on the other hand give you all of the items free that are mis-priced. I haven't ever spotted mistakes in Trader Joe's with frequency but I'd be curious if anyone has.

I think this is definitely a strategy for supermarkets to screw the consumer - any error I have found has always been in the supermarkets favor.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 10:30 AM on October 14, 2011


I don't want to hear ever again about greedy corporations or crooked politicians. You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?

Corporate greed and corrupt politicians vs cheap chocolate?

The term false equivalency springs to mind.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 11:18 AM on October 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is it really a saving when you've just spent £57 on something you didn't particularly want in the first place? I mean, if the guy was already on his way to Tesco with the intention of buying 192 Chocolate Oranges when he learned about the glitch, then I doff my cap at his stroke of good luck. But I kinda suspect that he just spent an extra £57 that he had no intention of spending and now has 192 Chocolate Oranges sitting in his kitchen.

It's quite normal to see corner shop owners stocking up at supermarkets when there are crazy discounts on things without a limit on the quantity. When I was a grocery stockboy, I spent whole shifts wheeling out vanloads of 2L Pepsi whenever it was priced under a dollar.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:34 AM on October 14, 2011


I guess this is the flip-side of those ridiculous 35p each or two for £1 offers (which are, presumably, not actually errors).

Is Tesco the target of Mitchell and Webb's Didldidi sketches?
posted by roll truck roll at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2011


Great advertising for them.
posted by entropone at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2011


Is Tesco the target of Mitchell and Webb's Didldidi sketches?

They're taking the piss out of Aldi and Lidl, which are often much grimmer inside than even their websites let on.
posted by dng at 12:27 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you liked Didldidi, you might also enjoy Coldland.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:33 PM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


(which is taking the piss out of Iceland, an all-frozen-products store)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:34 PM on October 14, 2011


a strategy for supermarkets to screw the consumer

The mistake is always in their favor because the wrong/regular price is higher than the correct/sale price. I think it is human error, like my getting a shallot for the price of garlic the other day (I saved 14 cents!). I can't imagine how complicated Point-of-Sale software has to be nowadays, and some prices change on a daily basis. I was a cashier in high school and whenever we found something ringing up wrong, we had to call an office in the store and leave a message with the details. Whenever I did this, it was fixed by my next shift.
posted by soelo at 12:50 PM on October 14, 2011


Is that Billie Piper on the television?
posted by cazoo at 12:53 PM on October 14, 2011


Sys Rq - they put a limit on items per customer sometimes, possibly for this very reason. I did a while ago see a guy with an entire trolley of Haagen-Dazs when it was £2 a tub at Sainsbury's - corner shops tend to charge about £4.50 a tub, so assuming he wasn't on an ice-cream diet it would be a nice earner.

I don't know how common self-service checkouts are outwith the UK, but I do hear that people put expensive groceries through these as cheap items sold by weight instead of scanning them. I think sometimes it's more difficult to get systems in place to prevent scams/profit by glitches than to honour them.
posted by mippy at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2011


Juzo Itami's Supa-no Onna (Supermarket Woman) has a similar scene where a printing error on coupons values eggs at a tenth of their price.

Good movie, if the most mainstream of Itami's oeuvre.

Itami and his wife Nobuko Miyamoto are superb. I didn't realize Itami's genius until I moved to Tokyo. His movies seem superficial remakes of feelgood Hollywood fare, while underneath run rivers of biting criticism on Japanese society.
posted by beshtya at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2011


If this winds up causing an unavailability of chocolate oranges I swear to god I will be very put-out.

We are the 99%! [who didn't get our chocolate oranges]
posted by bleep at 4:36 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this is definitely a strategy for supermarkets to screw the consumer - any error I have found has always been in the supermarkets favor.

I'm guessing that is the reasoning behind the lawsuits of this woman.

Given that we're talking about Wal-Mart in this case, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they were doing this accidentally-on-purpose.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:10 PM on October 14, 2011


The answer was that the grocery stores would give us the item for free if it rang up at the wrong price.

Tescoes recently enacted a policy that you get back four times the difference. We found out when returning some outrageously priced tomatoes, and ended up making a 32 euro profit on the item. I don't know if the policy is still in force (that was about three months ago I think?), but it's definitely worth checking prices on the docket.
posted by shelleycat at 2:48 AM on October 15, 2011


Well done.
posted by NortonDC at 6:49 PM on October 15, 2011


I don't want to hear ever again about greedy corporations or crooked politicians. You people just showed that you're willing to turn a blind eye when it is to your benefit. How does that make you any different from those you rail against?

What a succinct argument for the need of increased regulation and oversight! Thanks!
posted by Theta States at 9:10 PM on October 15, 2011


[Best part of this thread: The people who didn't get the Meta reference. Matt is right. In-jokes are bad.]
posted by i_cola at 7:42 AM on October 16, 2011


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