Australia's two largest supermarkets are copping a lot of heat right now as frustrated shoppers, many still struggling to pay bills, are slapped with increasing prices at the checkout.
Though the government recently announced the nation's cost-of-living crisis is its "top priority", little impact has been felt in the day to day lives of millions, and many fed-up shoppers have vowed to turn away from the major supermarkets for groceries.
Last week, it emerged Woolworths Everyday Rewards loyalty members would be entitled to a special set of prices for many pantry staples, angering those who do not participate in the program. Though the rewards system is free to sign up, some argued that shoppers shouldn't need to in order to receive the "discounted" prices.
Many cited privacy concerns as the reason they don't want to join the loyalty scheme, citing the track record of some Australian companies handling customers' data.
Woolworths shoppers back 'Member Prices'
Yet despite the backlash, a host of Woolies shoppers have hit back, saying they have saved big by taking advantage of being a Woolies member. Many said they expect to save further with 'Member Prices'.
"You're missing out. I've accrued around $600 this year in rewards points doing my regular shopping. I've used them to buy a robot vacuum at Big W and part of a PlayStation. Easy money when your already spending it," a savvy shopper said.
"I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I've been a member for years," another person said.
"This week we bought the dishwashing liquid we like, half the normal price for members, we bought five of them and won't need to again for ages. That's $23 saved.
One person said they saved $2,000 over a two-year period by being savvy. "It adds up over time," they pointed out, adding supermarkets are tracking shoppers with or without a sign up.
"At least this way we get something in return, even if it's only convenience, lower prices (basically extended "specials") and the odd $10-$20 voucher at checkout.
"It's good to keep privacy in mind when you shop, in life in general, but if only you knew how much you're being tracked in every aspect of everything. Just seems like such a strange hill to take a stand on."
Consumer expert praises member scheme
Consumer expert and professor at Queensland University of Technology Gary Mortimer told Yahoo last month there was no need to be worried about the scheme.
"Those customers who are up in arms about supermarkets holding their data have possibly been living in a cave for the last 30 years," he said. "Ever since Flybuys launched in 1994, every time you scan your rewards card with whichever retailer, you understand that they're going to capture who you are and what you just bought."
He said he believed the idea from Woolworths was a brilliant way to retain customers.
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