Name: Reduction bays.
Location: The inner sanctums of the larger Waitrose stores.
Appearance: A tornado of limbs flecked with yellow stickers.
That sounds rather hectic for Waitrose. Ah well, you don’t win the battle for bargains by being polite.
Isn’t Waitrose the posh supermarket? It is, but the sight of a £6.29 luxury cottage pie for two on sale for just 49p drives people into a frenzy.
How much?! Where can I buy 17 of them? That won’t be so easy, I’m afraid. Waitrose will continue to reduce the price of items approaching their sell-by date, but it has announced the closure of the dedicated bays in some stores.
Wait, so these bargain bays … Reduction bays.
Sorry, “reduction bays”. Why do they have to close? Waitrose says that it will help staff to “manage stock and reductions more efficiently”, but the Sunday Times quotes an anonymous Waitrose worker who says the stress for staff had become too much, especially near closing time. “It is a circus culture in which a horde of people – most of whom can afford to pay full price – are fighting over sandwiches,” the source said.
So where will I find these incredible bargains now? Reduced items will now be “staying in their normal locations to give customers an immediate choice between a reduced product and one that is not”, Waitrose says.
How will I know what’s what? Reductions will still be marked with yellow labels but bargain hunters will now have to mine the whole store looking for glints of yellow.
Are people really so bargain-hungry? Most definitely. Some are very professional about it. A soi-disant “shopping ninja” called Kelly Eroglu has written numerous blog posts on the subject, including how she used yellow stickers to feed her family for a week with £20.
I’m game. Well, sharpen your elbows. Many people have learned when these daily reduction phases happen at their local supermarkets and arrive just in time. Some identify staff with the yellow-sticker guns and follow them round or even grab stuff from their trolleys.
No one said the battle for bargains would be pretty. But come on: has anyone ever been killed or seriously injured in pursuit of a cheap cottage pie? Should we wait until they are?
Do say: That’s my chorizo ibérico! Hands off!
Don’t say: It’s actually pronounced “chori-tho.”