MSE News: The 91% motorway service station mark-up

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
60 replies 5.6K views
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  • esuhlesuhl Forumite
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    Shops choosing their own prices in an essentially capitalist free-market?! Whatever next?!

    If certain motorway service station shops charge 91% more for bottled water than on the High Street... I wonder what proportion of profit the High Street shop makes on a bottle of water. A bottle of tap water would cost a few pence, and it's hard to see how mineral water could cost tens (or hundreds) that.

    Does anyone use the website 5MinutesAway.co.uk? You can search for local shops, pubs, restaurants & hotels within five minutes of a motorway junction. Not only do you save money, you get to see a bit of local culture and spend a few minutes in much nicer surroundings than a motorway service station!
  • Andy_LAndy_L Forumite
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    pmm1981 wrote: »
    Where do they get these figures from, article is dated today so should be upto date
    when was national average for unleaded 123.9, i can't get it for under 125.9 in Yorkshire which is usually cheaper.
    £1.43 for a bottle of coke on the high street, only a mug would pay that, boots are doing 2 for £1.40 (on train stations too), is it just a case of going round and putting the worst case figures on??

    Looking at the hugh difference between the 2 still waters it seems likely that Buxton Water was on a special offer when they compared prices
  • liam8282liam8282 Forumite
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    esuhl wrote: »
    Shops choosing their own prices in an essentially capitalist free-market?! Whatever next?!

    If certain motorway service station shops charge 91% more for bottled water than on the High Street... I wonder what proportion of profit the High Street shop makes on a bottle of water. A bottle of tap water would cost a few pence, and it's hard to see how mineral water could cost tens (or hundreds) that.

    You have just spoiled tomorrows MSE News story about the mark up on bottled water. ;)

  • tacotacotacotaco Forumite
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    This game is, of course, far larger than just charging more on the motorway for the same thing in high street shops. It is part of a system designed to milk as much from the consumer as the market will bear.

    The selection of products differs by location: Enter and Tesco Express in Covent Garden and find a remarkable absence of Tesco's cheaper own-brand products. Burger King does not offer the "King Deal" value meals at motorways as the audience is somewhat captive: if you want a burger you will just have to buy a more expensive one.

    Even the location of a motorway stop matters, as the profile of the average customer differs there and affects pricing strategies. At one motorway stop I visited they were offering 99p extra sides (eg. chicken bites) to any meal purchaser, and probably a good % of their customers would be swayed by it. However, at another, less busy motorway, at Burger King the sides were free with the meal.

    Some locations will charge different amounts for the same thing, depending on the class of store: Tesco Express and Sainsbury Local sometimes charge higher than regular sized Tesco and Sainsburys in a different location but also on a high street. And these again can be costlier than shopping at huge Supercentre versions of the supermarkets.

    There are plenty of incentives around that are to get you to get you to spend more - retailers hike up the price of a single product, then reduce it if you buy 2 of them : 2 for 1. And it works, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

    Some retailers match prices on a handful of products with a cheaper competitor, hoping the consumer will draw a conclusion that everything in the store must be an equally good buy.

    Stapes like milk and eggs are placed at the back of the store so you are forced to have more products and temptations paraded past you as you attempt to buy them. Doorways are bottlenecks, where the flow of customers often must stop to allow others pass, while display racks are causing the constriction. Exiting airport customs and being forced to walk through the duty-free shops.

    I'm sure most of us savvy forum users are well aware of these tactics. And are also aware that Which? (and MSE) are for-profit organisations, which ignite consumer outrage to their own advantage - this is article surely no exception.
  • jefereyjeferey Forumite
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    movilogo wrote: »
    PS: Buying fuel in motorways, inspite of higher costs, sometimes unavoidable if you car is running low on fuel.
    .........................|
    Not if you Plan Ahe|
    ......................ad|
    .........................| :rotfl: I've not filled up at one in at least the last 10 years.
    Definitely agree with you on the 2 types of customers.
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try - oh bu99er that just cheat :D
  • Stephen_LeakStephen_Leak
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    Niksan wrote: »
    I don't buy this at all, surely motorways being main arteries to everywhere'ville, surely many service stations are passed en-route to cities to supply the stores there. :huh:

    My thoughts exactly. I don't think this argument holds water, Coca-Cola, petrol, diesel oil or whatever any more these days.
    The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in my life. :)
  • liam8282liam8282 Forumite
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    Even if you had to stop for fuel, you don't have to fill the tank up, put £5 in and drive off the motorway to the nearest petrol station.

    Or if you don't want to do that, pay the extra for the convenience.

  • millermiller Forumite
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    If you are in the AA your Burger King can be 20% cheaper at Moto

    http://www.theaa.com/membersclub/benefits/moto.html

    Mmm. That is a tasty burger.
  • Retro_BunnyRetro_Bunny Forumite
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    MarkSG wrote: »
    It's certainly true that prices are higher at service stations, but that's more to do with the way they're regulated than with the operators. MSAs have to be open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, so they need to be staffed round the clock as well even though they don't sell much in the middle of the night. They also have to provide free parking and facilities such as toilets, which also have to be available round the clock. And they have to pay the full cost of constructing and maintaining the facilities, even the ones which don't earn money. So when the operators say that their prices are higher because their costs are higher, they do have a point.

    Some people have stated the stupidity of other users for not knowing that Service Stations charged more (see early posts).

    Well if that's the spirit of MSE, then I mock their stupidity for not knowing about the rules, as you've clearly posted.
    I've known these regulations for years, and have always accepted that Service Stations charged more to pay for the free facilities that they are legally obliged to provide.

    Real MSEs would plan their journeys so they never use the services anyway: making sure they've got enough fuel in the tank to complete their journey, packing food and drink for the journey etc.
    The reality is that most don't, just jump in their car and drive, and love the convenience of stopping when they need, and without service stations, you'd be up the creek without a paddle.

    I bet the same people moan at the price of pies at the football, drinks at a concert and food in amusement parks. It's all choice.
    --- Warning: Grumpy Old Man in Training ---
  • fozmcfcfozmcfc Forumite
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    Whatever next, maybe we'll see the same state the obvious observations about cinemas.

    On products they both sell such as bottles of coke the cinema is even more expensive, £2 the last time I seem to remember looking at a machine for a 500ml bottle.
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