Off their trolleys!

It’s that time of the month again – no, don’t worry, gentlemen, I’m only talking about checking prices, although the stories I have been hearing recently are enough to send anyone into a severe attack of PMT! Interestingly, several regular ‘Price Watchers’ have reported prices coming down on several items on our list! Can we claim the credit for this? I have no idea, but I for one am not complaining!

Thank you to Dorothy who is now back in Canada and following us on-line. She kept an eye on AliSuper in Praia da Rocha, the shop that wins the prize for having most items out of stock at any one time. Our standard 100gm jar of Nescafé had gone up from an already pricey 4.24 euros in February to an outrageous 4.90 at the end of March. A bottle of Monte Velho, which was a very silly 6.37 euros in February, is now out of stock – I wonder why? Water, on the other hand, has come down from 1.30 euros for five litres to 1.21. Interestingly, Dorothy reports that at the end of March they were selling eggs in boxes of 10 rather than 12 – watch out for that!

Another Price Watcher, Patricia, is heading to England for the summer. She checked out prices at Loja Fresca, Cabánas. There has not been much change in the prices here, except that the coffee has come down from the monster price of 5.15 euros to 4.67 – still twice the price of some of our other stores!

Modelo in Faro has shown some interesting changes. Hellmann’s mayonnaise is up almost a euro to 3.69, sugar is down to 85 cents for a kilo and coffee is up to 3.29 from its January level of 2.79 euros. Sugar has tumbled in price at Intermarché at São Bras, too, from 1.06 euros in mid-January to 85 cents just before Easter – and Kellogg’s Cornflakes have dropped 30 cents, perhaps in sympathy, to 2.54 euros! The same Cornflakes at Apolónia were 3.15 euros on that same day, and the sugar was 1.15 euros – with Nescafé 3.95 euros there, against 2.69 euros at Intermarché – Easter breakfast was definitely more expensive at Apolónia!

The price of Monte Velho red wine seems to vary a lot too. In the latest round of prices we have 3.75 euros at Intermarché, 3.99 at Pingo Doce in Loulé, and 4.99 euros at Apolónia: several other places were out of stock. A friend of mine, a regular imbiber of this very drinkable wine, told me of an argument she had with Continente at Algarve Shopping about the price. It was over two euros a bottle more expensive there than in her local Modelo – bear in mind that Continente and Modelo are the same chain. She complained, and filled in an official complaints slip. Next week, same thing happened again, with different excuses. Third week – prices were down to the level of Modelo. Moral of the story – it pays to complain, and to complain loudly! And if the shops won’t listen – take the case to the official bodies who are there to protect your rights, such as DECO.

Finally on this subject of prices, another friend of mine has told me of a very underhand – and ongoing -practise at his local supermarket in Vale do Lobo. He cited the case of tins of ham, where there are two brands side by side, and a ticket offering a price of, say, 2.95 euros. He bought a tin of what he thought was the special offer ham, but was charged far more than 2.95 at the checkout. When he queried it, he was told the promotional price referred to a smaller size. When he asked for the smaller size, he was told they did not have any in stock that day. Fine – but that sign, and that same stock, has been in place for several weeks! He noticed it only second time round and, as he says, how many tourists will notice that when they do a big “stock up” shop at the start of their holiday? The same shop is apparently naughty with its water prices, too. There was a big pallet full of bottles of water and an attractive price. Again, he took a bottle of water, and was charged a totally different price at the checkout. When he queried it, he was told that, even though the label was displayed on the pallet, the price referred to a different brand of water! When he went back to double check, he said it was true – but the brand name was written in such a tiny typeface that it was hardly legible, and certainly tourists would not grasp the subtlety of this ploy. Is this good business, trading on the innocence of your customers? Is it being a bit naughty? Or is it downright illegal? That, too, is a question for DECO.

But on to other things. I asked the question, “Where are all the nice men?” the other week, and it seems that the subject is ripe for another airing. I have had calls from a couple of ‘nice men’ who spend all their time or part of their time here and would love to have a bit more of a social life. I have had conversations with ladies saying, “well if you can’t find them, what chance have we got?” (not true – with my lifestyle, I am either glued to the computer or off on my travels, but that’s another story!). So I reckon it’s up to the men to put their side of the story – watch this space…