Scoring an entire weekly shop for under $15 sounds impossible, but for one lucky shopper it was a reality this week.
Heading to her local Coles supermarket in Springfield, the Queensland woman was taken aback when she spotted a markdown bonanza across meat, fruit and veg, deli items, yoghurt and cake.
Claiming the shop would see her through the entire week, the woman shared her incredible fortune with fellow bargain hunters on Facebook. "I paid $13 instead of $127 for all of this... food sorted this week," she wrote alongside a photo of her haul, which included gravy beef for $1.22, pork spare ribs for 38 cents, two packs of one-pot Mexican beef for $2.60, and organic beef eye fillet for $3.86.
Other items in the woman's haul included two tubs of shredded chicken for under a dollar each, two tuna sushi rolls for 10 cents, Chinese cabbage for 46 cents, two 700-gram tubs of lactose-free yoghurt for 10 cents, chopped pineapple for 10 cents, falafel pieces for $1.50 and a pack of vanilla slice for 50 cents.
Markdown process revealed
So how do supermarkets determine markdown prices? A former Woolworths employee recently laid bare the process, explaining in a Reddit post how the "quick sale" discounts work for items nearing their best-before dates. "We had a guide to follow that started at five per cent off, then every hour we were meant to reduce by a further five per cent till it was 50 per cent off," the insider said. "Then if it didn't sell after the next hour, throw it out."
The staffer went on to say they often didn't adhere to the policy and just "went a standard 50 per cent off straight off the bat and if we needed to clear something, went up to 90 per cent off" even though any discounts beyond 50 per cent required permission from management.
Best time to score discounts
The Queensland shopper's post prompted others to ask how they could score similar markdowns. The woman claimed it was the time of day she visited Coles that made the difference. "I went Friday night. I think they do markdowns every night, you just have to be lucky to get there," she said.
Another Woolies employee seemed to confirm this in the previously mentioned Reddit thread, saying team members are given more discretion to mark things down at night. "Current Woolies worker here: Chilled and meat 2pm to 4pm: first markdown for one and two days out. Percentage off is generated by stock on hand and how many days out," he explained. "Usually from 6pm onward for same-day sale, a further markdown can be applied, at our discretion, up to 80 per cent."
However, a Coles spokesperson previously told Yahoo News Australia that there's no set time that markdowns occur across all stores. "There are many things that can impact when this takes place including stock on hand, delivery schedules and team member rostering," the spokesperson said. "We know our customers love good value so when a product is near its best-before date we often mark it down so it can be enjoyed for a cheaper price, instead of being wasted."
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