“To blow or not to blow, that is the question.” At least it was for Supershoppers (C4, 8.30pm, 1 February), upbeat investigators Anna Richardson and Andi Osho as they smashed up pricey hairdryers to expose their ridiculous claims of in-built ‘diamond technology’.
But while we might’ve suspected the ‘ionic conditioning’ in our daily blow dry was a load of hot air, the allegation that we pay huge premiums for equally dubious health claims on our food came as more of a shock.
Supermarkets can charge up to 200% more for groceries labelled gluten free, the show claimed, with rice cakes and soups the worst offenders. That might be easier to stomach if it weren’t for the fact that many of those products don’t naturally contain gluten in the first place. Richardson and Osho didn’t give the supermarkets a chance to respond, but their findings will set tongues wagging.
Bad news for those who’ve splashed out on expensive walking kit, too. Aldi’s £19.99 anorak beat a £155 equivalent from Mountain Warehouse.
Finally, the presenters switched their attentions to an online retailer’s favourite trick, dynamic pricing. Those logging in on the latest Apple laptop in an affluent London suburb might find themselves paying far more online than their mate with a decade-old Dell in Clacton, the show claimed.
It’s clear consumers may be less cash-strapped but they’re no less determined to find a bargain. With primetime slots for these shows that expose tricks of the trade, all industries should be prepared for far more informed customers.