BOG OF (as an acronym of course)

Am I alone in being fed up with special offers?  I can see the point with perishable goods, Al used them sometimes when he had a lot of ripe fruit that would not keep more than a day – but really they are just used to make you buy stuff that you don’t want or need.  I remember some years ago one of the presenters on You And Yours on Radio 4 (I think it was Winifred Robinson, but am not sure) said that they are known, in her family, as Buy One, Throw One Away.

The wine shop chain Threshers had three-for-the-price-of-two offers for almost all their stock for several years.  But of course, they simply raised the price to allow for it, so you paid well over the odds if you just wanted a single bottle – such as champagne for a special occasion, or a bottle of good wine (compared to your usual tipple) as a present – and it was a specious bargain offer.  Of course, Threshers went bust in the end, so I probably wasn’t alone in shopping elsewhere unless I actually wanted several bottles of wine.

I can see why bookshops have to have special offers and why they try to shift as many books as they can – the competition from Amazon and, for bestsellers, major supermarkets, is pretty crippling.  But I still don’t want a buy one, get the second half price, or buy three for the price of two offers when I just want to buy a book.  It’s annoying.  Amazon is still cheaper, after all.  Just give me the discount, even a slightly less ‘generous’ one, and I’ll buy the book if I’m in the mood to buy a book.

If a bookshop is good enough, mind you, I won’t even mind the full price.  I have mentioned before (nearly a year ago) that I visited Topping & Co. in Bath, and it was brilliant.  I didn’t begrudge the full price and I found so many books that I wanted to buy.  I haven’t been to Ely since, but when I do, I’ll go with an open mind and a willing credit card.  I went to another bookshop when I was visiting the area (can’t remember where it was) and it was, though smaller, almost as alluring.  It was also independently owned, which must be a tough way to make a living.

BOGOFs can have their appeal, admittedly.  Before Woolworth’s went out of business, I used to check out their offers if I happened to be near a branch, because they were genuine ones.  It was worth stocking up on kitchenware and so on, if it would have returned to its full price in a week or two.  I thought of another example but the phone rang (for the Sage, as it turned out) and, Coleridge-like, the distraction has made me forget.

I have not forgotten, however, that I meant to finish on a different subject entirely.  While writing this (and doing some cooking and answering the phone and emails) I have been listening to Pick of the Week,  chosen and presented by Graham Seed, late of The Archers.  He is as delightful to listen to as he was when playing Nigel.  And no, I don’t want to start listening to it any more.  It’s just a soap, whose producer doesn’t care about manipulating the audience.  So I opted out.  Bet I’m not the only one.

19 comments on “BOG OF (as an acronym of course)

  1. Dave

    I must admit the ‘buy one get two free’ offer on pizzas which ultimately ended up with 9 free bottles of fruit juice drink too, was a genuine bargain, from which nothing has been wasted.

  2. Z

    Yes indeed, and I do sometimes go for the offer myself – although in some instances there are regular special offers on an item, which makes me feel cheated if I have to buy at full price. I’d rather have a fair price all the time though, knowing that there are major supermarkets that make their suppliers bear the cost of special deals.

  3. Mike and Ann

    Hello Z. I think you infer that there’s a good bookshop in Ely. Where is it please? We quite often drive through Ely, and usually call at the Riverside Antique Centre, but I could always do with a visit to a decent bookshop.
    Thanks, Mike.
    P.s. Enjoying our scrabble. That was a good seven letter word of yours.

  4. Tim

    We feel under an obligation to accept it, because they pretend not to want our money. Maybe we should do a Henry Root: “Hello Tesco, really like your products. Don’t want them though. Here’s a pound.”

  5. Z

    Yes, I haven’t been to the Ely branch but the Bath one is wonderful. It’s Topping and Co, in the High Street in Ely. If you follow the link on the post it takes you to their website. They have a newsletter you can subscribe too. There is also a link to their Facebook page.

    One of those combination of letters plus a blank that gave lots of options, just a case of finding one that would fit. I’m enjoying it too, thank you.

    You’re right, Tim, one should be strong-minded enough to refuse the supposed freebie.

  6. PixieMum

    I do not know the name of the Ely bookshop but there was a brilliant one in a street to the left of the cathedral.
    That is left when standing facing the front of the cathedral. Think the bookshop was at the top of the street, furthest side from the cathedral. It has been a number of years since we were there but of course we came away with some good purchases.

    There is a fascinating secondhand bookshop in Eastbourne called Camilla’s. Worth a Google!

  7. georgie

    The chain drugstore often has items buy one, get the second for half price. Why? If you have never tried the product you wouldn’t buy a second bottle at that time; even for half price. Then again, I don’t understand Extreme Couponing either

  8. Blue Witch

    Latest tactic is ‘like’ a companyy on FB to get even more offers. No, no, no, no and no.

    There are certain items that I only ever buy when they are 3 for 2 or BOGOF. If you use a supermarket enough, you get to know the length of time between these offers, and can stock up sufficiently (provided yo have the storage space, which luckily I do). But, if you do this, and use Sainsbury’s, with a Nectar card, you don’t get the money-off vouchers (eg £10 of a £60 spend) in the post, because their system logs you as an ‘unprofitable’ customer.

    I just wish all shops would display one price, all the time, and stop messing us around. I don’t know when these BOGOF offers came in – sometime in the 90s I’d reckon.

  9. Blue Witch

    Aldi (and Lidl, although I don’t shop in Lidl because I don’t like the ‘feel’ of the place, and I prefer my assistants to speak English between themsleves, and English in a way customers can understand: the newish one near here has a Polish manager and only employs Eastern European staff – I’m still awaiting a reply to the letter I sent to their head office 3 weeks ago asking why, and pointing out that it was discrimination) don’t do BOGOF deals.

    Aldi near here is certainly twice as busy, all the time, as it was a year ago. Seems a lot of people have woken up to the exccellent quality goods they sell, at sensible prices. You’re not paying for plastic bags, customer toilets, use of credit cards, trolley collection from all around the town, or ‘loyalty’ schemes, because they don’t do any of those things.

    It’s amazing how many of my Nice Ladies used to look down their noses at me shopping in Aldi for basics (since 1997, when one opened quite locally)… and now are first in the queue for the Thursday specials.

  10. Z

    I really must get over to Ely again, thanks Madeleine.
    Can’t remember the last time I used a coupon either, Georgie.
    He wasn’t such a good bargain, Chris.
    I subscribe to the local train line, BW, because that’s convenient, and I get the Topping newsletter – they have really good literary evenings, my sister goes to them, although I haven’t yet – and so have ‘liked’ their FB page because I’m happy to get their info. Otherwise, no.

    I don’t have store cards. I keep off their systems as much as I can and often pay cash. In any case, I use independent stores for fresh food and sometimes for other things. I saw last week that a new independent wine merchant opened here in place of Threshers – that will be two in this little town, I’m going to have to up my capacity a bit to help them both out!

  11. Z

    Lidls are in Lowestoft or Norwich and I don’t know where a branch of Aldi is. I do go past Lidl once a month, but I’ve always got two elderly friends with me and can’t ask them to sit in the car while I shop. By shopping locally, I save the money I might spend on petrol and instead use it to help keep independent traders in business. Of course, if any major supermarket opened here, a lot of them would close anyway. They don’t have the profit margin that can afford more squeezing.

  12. Pat

    It’s worth checking the maths when tempted to buy quantities. Maybe they are genuine mistakes but the figures mean you are paying more – not less.

  13. allotmentqueen

    Like BW I tend to buy in bulk when special offers are on. I was asked a few months ago when I expected an outbreak of diarrhoea as there were 54 toilet rolls in the bathroom (well when you can get two packs of 9 for £1 more than one pack ….) and I also have a 6′ high freezer so a lot goes in there as well (not the toilet rolls, obviously).

  14. Z

    I am adept at mental arithmetic, Pat. They do make it difficult to compare prices sometimes – such as packs of 10 and packs of 24, it’s rarely simply double the number. And sometimes the unit price is intended to confuse – eg, price per item on one multipack and price per 100g on another.

    It is putting money on for the sake of a deceitful money off, like Threshers did, and like often happens in fruit and veg (I know what they should cost and often, in supermarkets, even the half-price offer was more than Alex charged, and he didn’t have the buying clout that a supermarket does) that I really dislike, along with making you buy more than you may want to get the discount.

  15. allotmentqueen

    Trouble is the poorest people can’t afford to take advantage of many of these offers because they’re literally counting the pennies already just to buy the first one. It’s the rich who can save money by bulk buying. It’s the same with car insurance – if you can afford to pay the annual premium you save a lot compared to paying it monthly, but you have to have enough money to do that at renewal.


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