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Old 02.04.2020, 21:30
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Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

I'd like to complain about a multiple dirty profiteering tactics played by grocery chains. They're now getting so obvious that it's only hurting their brand image, if they ever cared about it.
  1. Inflated prices - tomatoes are now 6.9 CHF per kg. I'm not talking about bio/demeter or any special varierty. Normal, rispen tomatoes, non-Bio, which were sold between 2.9 to 4.2 CHF per kg. are now priced at 6.9! A packet of 1 kilo oatmeal is sold at 3.9 CHF, same brand (Alnatura) which was earlier 1.8 CHF for a kilo.
  2. Wrong product placement - At Coop, I frequently observe more expensive products being placed "by mistake" at wrong shelves of cheaper products. These typically tend to be cleaning products, toilet papers, pasta, rice and canned goods, which is the stuff people may rush to buy without much thinking. This was not a one-off incident which could be a honest mistake. But rather I saw this pattern for several products across a few Coop stores. Bleach spray that was from a fancy brand, priced at 8 CHF, was kept at "Prix" shelf which is significantly cheaper, ~4CHF for the bottle. Clearly, in these times customer is likely to quickly buy whatever they get hands on and not discuss this price shock at the cash desk.
  3. Systemic discouraging of points collection and other loyalty rewards - Points accrual on Migros Cumulus cards suddenly doesn't work. Staff has take it or leave it attitude. Normally, they can be expected to take a note of the purchase receipt, card number and retroactively credit the earned points. These rewards can be substantial. These days, it's like.. be glad that we are giving you food at all. I don't get this attitude. Business, if it's open, should be conducted in a fair manner. Government is anyway compensating whatever loss they're facing because of lower demand.

Truly hope that the Swiss grocery chains mend their ways and not act like it's 17th century.
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Old 02.04.2020, 21:34
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

Same in the UK and in France- according to family and friends - and probably all over due to exceptional circumstances. Not a Swiss only thing.
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Old 02.04.2020, 21:39
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

UK, France aren't a benchmark. In Switzerland, I expect more.. in line with the prices charged and the subsidies showered at businesses. If I showed such attitude towards my employer or clients, I'd be out of work pretty soon. Just as Swiss employers expect professionalism, output and quality (and the justification is "we pay you more"), as a consumer, same thing applies to them.
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Old 02.04.2020, 21:50
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

Just buy in the low-priced neighboring countries, problem solved.

Tom
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Old 02.04.2020, 22:22
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

1 - Tomatoes come from Spain and have to travel across France. Both of them have stronger restrictions than us for the moment. I would expect disruption on the tomato supply chain.

2 - Coop has these laser thingies to scan your own products. Anyone with high sensitivity to prices should use them. Putting things on the cart without looking at prices is a luxury for the affluent.

Also, offer and demand. This week you can buy 3-4 kilos of avocados for 11 CHF at Coop in one of this bags with a fixed price. Two weeks ago, when people was a bit in panic, frozen pizza disappeared from Coop but nice pork cuts were at 50%. I joked to my wife we will have to eat the leftovers after Coop was looted.
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Old 02.04.2020, 22:27
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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1 - Tomatoes come from Spain and have to travel across France. Both of them have stronger restrictions than us for the moment. I would expect disruption on the tomato supply chain.

2 - Coop has these laser thingies to scan your own products. Anyone with high sensitivity to prices should use them. Putting things on the cart without looking at prices is a luxury for the affluent.

Also, offer and demand. This week you can buy 3-4 kilos of avocados for 11 CHF at Coop...
Nooooo. Really?
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:32
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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Putting things on the cart without looking at prices is a luxury for the affluent.
Yes, if the displayed price is anyway wrong, it wouldn't make sense to rely on it. One has to closely read the brand, type, weight etc. make sure it is indeed the 4 CHF bleach spray that one intended to buy; not the 8 CHF one from another brand.

To clarify, this isn't the typical whiny thread about high grocery prices in Switzerland. Mountains of literature is already published for/against that rhetoric and "high salary" often ranks as #1 justification. One can write an Economy thesis about it. But this current whining is about the drastic change that has happened over last 4 weeks.

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I get this attitude. I'm glad that I'm being given food at all.
Anyone who is working, keeping a business open at the moment shouldn't show a diva attitude, even though it could be thought of as justified. It's not a charity. All workers, including me, are paid for their services and fair business needs to continue as normal. Especially when businesses are given a 32 billion CHF bailout package. If I suddenly started charging double to my employer/clients, gave crappy service, I wouldn't survive much longer in the game. Same applies to supermarkets. I'd just buy from a local farm.
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Old 04.04.2020, 20:09
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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1 - Tomatoes come from Spain and have to travel across France. Both of them have stronger restrictions than us for the moment. I would expect disruption on the tomato supply chain.
I expected disruptions in the supply chain right from the start of the crisis and some people got pretty angry. Funny how people change their mind.

And @OP - some prices will go up, it's a question of demand and supply. Live with it. We were privileged before but weren't aware of it.
Use everything you have wisely, I'm amazed how little to non-existent food waste we have these days. You can get creative and savvy in the kitchen, make the most out of everything. Memories of me throwing away perfectly good vegetables or fruit because they were too "tired" seem distant now.....lol.

Last edited by greenmount; 04.04.2020 at 20:21.
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Old 02.04.2020, 22:45
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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UK, France aren't a benchmark. In Switzerland, I expect more.. in line with the prices charged and the subsidies showered at businesses. If I showed such attitude towards my employer or clients, I'd be out of work pretty soon. Just as Swiss employers expect professionalism, output and quality (and the justification is "we pay you more"), as a consumer, same thing applies to them.
cloud cuckooland indeed
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Old 02.04.2020, 22:49
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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UK, France aren't a benchmark. In Switzerland, I expect more.. in line with the prices charged and the subsidies showered at businesses. If I showed such attitude towards my employer or clients, I'd be out of work pretty soon. Just as Swiss employers expect professionalism, output and quality (and the justification is "we pay you more"), as a consumer, same thing applies to them.
Geeez seriously?! Have you looked outside and are maybe able to think about one or two factors that may impact some of this?

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Plus Spain is one of the hardest hit countries. I'm surprised they can still harvest/send enough food for us to complain about.
I know, right? What was that discussion again about the economy?
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Old 02.04.2020, 22:55
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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..........I know, right? What was that discussion again about the economy?
That workers, company owners and .... don't remember who come first now before economy, so down with the prices! Let economy harvest those veggies, it's good for nothing normally anyway. Or something like that. I kind of lost it.
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:04
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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That workers, company owners and .... don't remember who come first now before economy, so down with the prices! Let economy harvest those veggies, it's good for nothing normally anyway. Or something like that. I kind of lost it.
Business people I believe?? We can also always just print more money. That's gonna keep prices down

(yes I'm turning into a massively sarcastic SOB)
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:09
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

I‘m a bit surprised that the OP finds that prices have inflated in Supermarkets for the usual stuff, If that‘s so, then they should report it, because Switzerland introduced mandatory pricing controls to make sure that this didn‘t happen weeks / months ago. For supermarkets as well as ventilators etc.

I agree that some shelves have been wrongly stocked during the ‚hoarding phase‘. I profited from this by buying disinfectant at the Coop a couple of months ago where the staff did not know where to place it on the shelves. In one case disinfectant wipes were placed among sanitary towels. Got some of those. In another, disinfectant spray was placed next to the toilet bleaches. Got those too.

When I paid at the Coop Kasse in one instance for the wipes, the woman (that knows me) said something like „you do know that these are around CHF 3.75 a packet right?“. That was about about 6 weeks ago I guess. Decided to buy anyway as the Apotheke had sold out of disinfectant weeks before.
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:17
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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These days, it's like.. be glad that we are giving you food at all. I don't get this attitude.
I get this attitude. I'm glad that I'm being given food at all.
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:32
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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I get this attitude. I'm glad that I'm being given food at all.
I truly don‘t understand this attitude at all Nothing has changed here in Switzerland, except that we need to stay at home! All other stuff like schooling, working from home and so on is running really well.

Anyone needing deliveries, just let me know, and I‘ll direct you to the nearest service (of which there are many). Would deliver myself, but am self-isolating (out-of-choice).
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Old 02.04.2020, 23:40
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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I get this attitude. I'm glad that I'm being given food at all.
Uhm what?

We're not at war here. And Switzerland has enough to feed the entire population for a very very long time. During, well, actual war or something.
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Old 03.04.2020, 00:10
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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Uhm what?

We're not at war here. And Switzerland has enough to feed the entire population for a very very long time. During, well, actual war or something.
Except tomatoes. They come from Spain. Oh hang on .... most stuff comes from somewhere across the border. Which isn't a problem yet - as long as a few people stay healthy and alive to harvest, pack and transport it.

And luckily the Germans only try to steal from us the stuff we paid and ordered far away. The stuff they can sell to us they still happily deliver.

(an emoji. Rather safe than sorry. Although sarcasm is usually just straight forward truth, right?)
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Old 03.04.2020, 00:15
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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Except tomatoes. They come from Spain. Oh hang on .... most stuff comes from somewhere across the border. Which isn't a problem yet - as long as a few people stay healthy and alive to harvest, pack and transport it.

And luckily the Germans only try to steal from us the stuff we paid and ordered far away. The stuff they can sell to us they still happily deliver.

(an emoji. Rather safe than sorry. Although sarcasm is usually just straight forward truth, right?)
Luckily Switzerland has made sure from the very beginning that its delivery channels remain open. Not only to Switzerland, but also to the countries that need to traverse Switzerland to deliver goods.
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Old 03.04.2020, 10:28
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

Contrary to OP, I've not seen price gouging to be happening. Got nice deals on Cherry Tomatoes, minced meat, vegetables.

Some items might not be on sale, but it's not like they've increased prices. And for storing items at the wrong place in the store, I suppose this could happen if a product is completely sold out and the staff just stocks in a rush. Let's be honest, they have MUCH more to do recently. I do miss the times when products were having their price tagged on each of them, though!

I always use the self checkout, and if a product is more expensive as it should be (and yes, that happens now and happened before), it stays in the store. Or, if I'm 100% sure that the price tag at the shelf was lower than what the cashier machine wants, I'll lodge a complaint. Did so in the past, doing so right now.
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Old 03.04.2020, 00:13
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Re: Profiteering tactics by grocery stores in Switzerland in times of Coronavirus

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Points accrual on Migros Cumulus cards suddenly doesn't work. Staff has take it or leave it attitude. Normally, they can be expected to take a note of the purchase receipt, card number and retroactively credit the earned points. These rewards can be substantial. These days, it's like.. be glad that we are giving you food at all. I don't get this attitude. Business, if it's open, should be conducted in a fair manner. Government is anyway compensating whatever loss they're facing because of lower demand.
Systems have an overload that never has been seen before, not even Christmas comes close to this, like it or not this brings new never before noticed issues with the system up, and errors are often not just a minute but can now easily be hours or even days. This is not the fault of the person who helps you in the store who is the same person who every time he sees all the carts coming from the truck to restock all the shit we buy already is tired by just the thought of the amount, the same person who if there is a calm moment grabs a bunch of groceries and does a quick walk for the amigos system to help somebody out. In the meanwhile they have to deal with more agitated customers than normal, they have to mind that people keep their distances and while the advice is that we all stay at home and avoid as many contact as we can they have to keep working and even do overtime for a 4K to 5K a month. They are tired, they are busy they often are worried and yes they atm do not care about your cumulus points and have no need to the next day go through a pile of such papers to add it all manually, and they are imho completely correct about that. Tough luck for you, times are different, so how about you stop complaining and are happy that they do what they do which is keeping our fridges stuffed.
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