It isn't the season to be jolly. That's next month. But already, the Christmas bargains are coming thick and fast. As well as 20% off on clothing at Marks & Spencer, this week saw buy one get TWO deals at Morrisons, for example. And while no-one could say the Woolies valuation at a pound came early, it's certainly a big discount on the £50m Iceland's Malcolm Walker was tabling two months ago.

But this is the thing about valuations right now, whether it's products or companies. One minute you think you've got a bargain, the next you're worried you were ripped off. I'm sure Peter Marks at The C0-op must be wondering if he could have picked up Somerfield at a cheaper price. There are those who question the £1bn price tag Tesco paid for both the remaining stake in Tesco Personal Finance and the stores in South Korea. One minute you think you've bagged yourself a bargain; the next you're cursing your luck you didn't wait a couple of weeks.

And so it is for consumers. With an air of desperation setting in, deflation is a real fear and more than 30% of products are now on promotion at any one time. Even at Waitrose. So why does Which? pursue the supermarkets for alleged dodgy deals? "Supermarket shoppers 'are cheated by bogus offers'" screamed the Daily Mail in its coverage of the report.

Is Which? really suggesting the supermarkets are ripping off customers by running products at the sale price for longer than the original higher one? Does Which? want them to put prices back up? I also reckon the consumer is pretty good at seeing through the 'half-price blueberries', which is why shopping habits have changed so dramatically.

In this week's issue (see p5) we chart the depth and the nature of the price cuts and promotion offers. With supermarkets spurning branded supplier promotions to feature own-label and tertiary lines, anyone who doubts there's a serious price war going on is living in a Which?-shaped bubble.