I’m an ex-supermarket worker, there are secret Black Friday codes they don’t want you to know about – here’s the lowdown | The Sun

A former supermarket worker has lifted the lid on what shops don’t tell us ahead of the Black Friday sales.

Al Baker, 48, from Aldershot, Hampshire, previously shared his secrets for getting more bang for your buck in your weekly shop.

Now, the dad-of-two – who previously worked in his local supermarket for more than two years – has revealed all the “secrets” a shop assistant won’t tell you as the discounts pour in.

“On the whole, you can grab some great deals, but we've all heard the stories about how retailers actually charge more for goods on Black Friday deals than they have done previously, and some of these stories are indeed true – though obviously, this isn't every store and every deal,” Al, who shares money-saving tips on his blog, The Penny Pincher, said.

The former shop assistant has shared some of his inside knowledge ahead of Black Friday – and what we should be on the lookout for…


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Al claims that, rather than just offering discounts off the standard price, some retailers hike up the RRP weeks before the sales begin.

He explained: “I used to work for a well-known retailer back before Black Friday sales were a thing in the UK, and the big deals were usually the Boxing Day sales and a summer discount event.

“These were when you would see the save £500 on this and save £250 on this type of offer, which would always be a crowd pleaser, but I saw on many occasions products being brought in just for the sales that had never been sold in-store before, but were being offered at jaw-dropping discounts.

“These were the big screen TVs from brands you'd never heard of before, or the £50 microwave reduced from £250 and similar type deals, but only 10 per store, hence why you had people standing outside the store from 4 am to make sure they got the deal.

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“This is the problem that can affect Black Friday purchases as well. A retailer must have offered the product at a higher price for a minimum of 28 days in the previous 6 months to offer/advertise the product at a reduced price.

“This is why you might see a TV in a shop advertised at £500 for a few weeks, which then magically gets half priced for a sale event – it's a bit of a ruse to get the customer excited about a deal and spend their money.

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“I used to see the same products shoot up in price in November, to magically be hugely discounted down at the end of December… it happens every time!”


Al claims there is also a furtive code hidden on the price tag which can give you a hint as to whether or not you should hold out for a better deal.

He said: “One of the biggest pieces of handy information can be the price itself – look at the last two digits of a price.

“If the price ends at 97p, this means that the product is discontinued and that the store is clearing out all remaining stock at a discount.

“If the product's price ends in 98p, it can mean that the product is clearance and likely to be discontinued shortly, meaning that it's worth hanging on for a bit longer if you can, as it's likely that the price will reduce soon and move to a lower discontinued price.

“Not all shops use this system, but [for those that do] it’s usually a guide for the staff so they can look at a product and immediately know its stock status, and if a customer asks if you are getting more stock in soon, you can give an informed guess as to how likely that is.

“In the case of stores who still pay staff commission, it helps the salesperson to switch sell you to something that's still a current line, and likely to be in stock, plus if they happen to be given bonuses on the margin they make for the store, it gives them a guide as to how profitable the product is – as normally a 97p ending item will be much lower margin as its reduced to clear.

“Have a look for any dates on the ticket as well. If the date is in the past, that's the last date the ticket was printed and the last time the product's price was likely to have been changed.  If it was a long time ago, it's likely that the price might change soon.

“If the date is in the future, that's when the advertised price is likely to end, so it will help you decide between buying right now or waiting to think about it – which for expensive purchases, is always worth sleeping on.

“If the date is still a good few days away, you have time to think, while if it's dated tomorrow, you need to decide quickly.”


Al has also shared a few sneaky ways you can cheat the system during the promotional weekend, even after you’ve purchased something.

He said: “Don't open the product immediately – wait and should you buy today and the price goes down tomorrow, then you can always speak to the store about a price match or, in the case of bigger items like sofas or white goods, cancel the order if they won't honour the new price.

“For an item you already have, return it and then buy it again at a lower price.

I guarantee that the staff members will try to coerce you into purchasing a green-rated product and will do whatever they can to stop you from buying a red-rated product

"Knowing the price of the ticket end date gives you that extra advantage of knowing when the price might change so you might be able to grab it cheaper or equally gain the reassurance that if the price went up, you knew to buy when the price was lowest.”


With some staff working on commission, Al has revealed the code on products that help you decide if the salesman is being truthful before you make a hefty purchase.

He said: “Check if the ticket has the letters R, A or G printed on it, especially in higher-priced item stores.

"Normally you will find this in stores where staff are paid a margin-related bonus on their sales: R = Red, A = Amber, G = Green.

“This is a margin indicator; Red means low margin, Amber means it's middle of the road, and G means it's a good margin.

“I guarantee that the staff members will try to coerce you into purchasing a green-rated product and will do whatever they can to stop you from buying a red-rated product, as their paycheck will be more significant when they sell more green.

“It's worth knowing, and a good reason to ask a member of staff if they earn commission before asking their opinion on which product they would recommend because it's going to be the green one every time if they do.”

Finally, Al urges shoppers to remain savvy with purchases.

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He said: “In these harder times, it's worth remembering that a discount is only a discount if you actually intended to buy the item in the first place.

“If you didn't, you haven't saved money – you've spent more money than intended, and right now that is not the most sensible of things to do.”

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