Disclaimer: I am in no way connected to S&R or any of its subsidiaries. I have not been paid by anyone to write this. Like all entries in this blog, its is an honest record of what I have experienced. Mostly this blog is about computer or tech related stuff so this is one of the few non-tech related posts.
So, from the picture above, you know that S&R's sale is going on. I am going to explain what S&R is, why shopping in S&R is worth it and how you can save money in S&R. In part 2, you will see an list of some interesting good buys that I saw during this sale. I wrote them down on my smartphone as I was perusing the merchandise.
This is S&R's website. This is their Facebook page.
OK, S&R, unlike other supermarkets is not open to the general public. You need to apply for membership before you can buy anything. Membership usually costs < 1000 pesos a year. If you apply within the store, you immediately get a temporary card so you can immediately go shopping. You pick up your official card after a few days.
Why does S&R require membership? Well one reason is psychologically, you feel that you have sunk several hundred pesos into the membership, you might as well shop there to make it worth it. Another reason is, presumably, the cards are used to statistically analyze shopping behavior. I have no proof as to whether or not this is done but all the big retailers do it. It might sound like a creepy invasion of privacy but AFAIK its not illegal and you have the choice to shop somewhere else. Also, I heard somewhere before that due to a loophole in taxes, if you sell to the public, you are taxed so and so but if you sell to only members, they are not considered the "public", i.e., its not a retail store. So you get taxed less. I have no idea if this is true or not or whether it applies to Philippine laws or not.
So, what makes S&R potentially cheaper? First of all, its not an ordinary supermarket, it's a warehouse club.
A warehouse club is a retail store, usually selling a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers are required to buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low due to the no-frills format of the stores. In addition, customers may be required to pay annual membership fees in order to shop.wiki
You can see it in the way the building is laid out. In S&R a large number of items are available in large quantities like 50 items or more per bundle. So you do save sometimes due to buying in bulk. Warehouse clubs save money by not having 2 buildings, a warehouse and a retail store. They just have one big warehouse. The shelves may be 2-4 stories high and the bottom shelves are the retail store. The top shelves are where the items are stored. So they don't have to pay for 2 buildings. And they pass the savings on to you.
I read one article once in the inquirer where a financial analyst gave advice on what to invest in if you had some extra money. One minimal risk investment is to buy in bulk stuff that doesn't fluctuate in price much (or only goes up in price) and can be stored for a long time. Its hoarding essentially and yes it usually works.You buy stuff at a discount, how can you lose?
These are all theoretical but do I see them in practice? Well, sometimes. Personally, yes there are a few items that are cheaper than in other supermarkets because they are in bulk, specially during sales. But I decided to get an S&R membership for other reasons. The main reason is S&R stocks a lot of brands and items not found anywhere else. Another reason is their great reasonably priced pizza which can be bought from their in house cafeteria style restauraunt. I figure that by shopping a few times specially during sales and carefully choosing what I buy, I can recoup the cost of the yearly membership fee. Unfortunately, sometimes I find myself buying more expensive bu tastier brands, lolz.
OK, end of part 1. Go to part 2 for a list of interesting items that I found during the sale.