Early yesterday evening I made a trek to my local CVS, lured in by the big sale that was advertised in Sunday’s paper. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise was on sale for 2 jars for $6.00. Plus, they were running a special on fellow Unilever brand Lipton’s Tea at two 100-count boxes for $4.50. I had 40-cent manufacturer coupons on both of these, and, according to the ad, if I spent $10.00 on these Unilever products I would receive a $3.00 Bonus Bucks coupon off of my next CVS purchase. What a deal!
I got to the store about 7 PM and got my two boxes of Lipton tea. There were maybe another four boxes on the shelf after that. I then walked the three feet down the aisle to where the Hellmann’s is merchandised only to find the shelf empty except for a lone jar of the reduced fat variety. I asked a clerk if they had any Hellmann’s in stock and he said, “Sorry. Just what’s out there.” I looked again at the shelf. Judging for the amount of space dedicated to it, I figured this CVS could stock maybe 8 jars total. That means the offer was only available for four customers! Since I was being denied the $3.00 Bonus Bucks I put back the tea and walked out of the store. (They were also out of the Listerine which was advertised for $3.69 with a $1.00 Bonus Bucks.)
I find CVS is notorious for having out-of-stocks on featured “hot price” grocery items, as is my local Walgreen’s. Walgreen’s is so bad that I don’t even shop there, although that might change now that they are building one on my corner. Then I’ll be able to take a walk any hour of the day or night and snatch up those specials right as they are unloaded from the truck.
There is a lesson for supermarkets here. Every time Hellmann’s goes on sale at my local ShopRite or A&P I find huge end cap displays of it. I can’t recall ever having to ask for a raincheck for it. Supermarkets should play this up to their advantage. If you are having a sale on mayonnaise the same week CVS is, run a snarky starburst in your ad and on the display stating “guaranteed in stock or it’s free!” That should lure shoppers in. And maybe on that same end cap you can do a side stack of Bayer, Bufferin or Anacin with a sign stating “And we’re eliminating the headache of having to shop at CVS too!”