A marketing scheme that is the pits!

I don’t like being snookered. Yet that is exactly what I feel happened to me when I visited an Acme Markets store a couple of weeks ago.

When I walked in the store there was a big shipper of California apricots with a large yellow sign stating “Apricots $2.97 lb.” which I had to admit was a pretty good price. Unlike most apricots, which are arranged in cushioned plastic trays to reduce bruising these were merchandised in plastic bags direct from the grower. The bags seemed to protect the fruit. I picked up and looked at four bags and found one where all of the apricots looked to be in perfect condition.

My problem arose when I got home and checked my receipt. It turns out I was charged $5.97. My little bag of apricots weighed a whopping two pounds! With that big yellow “$2.97” sign and all of the bags looking exactly the same it never occurred to me that this was a random weight product. Since these apricots were in a bag from the shipper, much like grapes, cherries and other produce items are being shipped nowadays the consumer really didn’t have the opportunity to maybe take four or five out of the bag to purchase a pound.

I think that is a marketing faux paus that should have been better clarified by the store. Perhaps the sign should have read “Apricots, $2.97 lb., Two Pound Average” or just change the sign to read “Apricots $5.97 a bag.”

Incidentally, I used to love shopping in Acme but stopped several years ago when my local store was shut down. One reason I went into this store was because I always had a fondness for Acme Classic Iced Tea Mix. I remember years ago at the PLMA convention an official with manufacturer 4C telling me that the Acme Classic was a special recipe unique to Acme stores. The other Acme Iced Tea Mix brand they stocked was the same formula that 4C used for its other private label customers, I was told.

I know Acme has been through several ownership and management changes in recent years but I was disappointed to find out that they no longer offer any Acme brand iced tea mix. The whole line has been replaced with Essential Everyday. While Essential Everyday is an excellent product, I feel Supervalu should have kept a few unique Acme branded products, such as the iced tea mix, that the chain’s customers had come to love over generations. I think they missed out on an excellent marketing opportunity.

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