Wiener FAIL

So, I go into Save On Foods1 and they have this little kiosk thing that says that if you swipe your “Save On More” card2 they will print out your very own “personalized” coupons based on your shopping habits.  Being the curious type that I am, I had to swipe.  Now, mind you, I haven’t done much shopping at Save On, as there weren’t any Save Ons close to my place in Vancouver.  I’ve really only shopped at the Save On near my office to buy food for lunch on days when I’ve forgotten my lunch at home/not had time to prepare a lunch3. So basically the only things I’ve ever bought at Save On are carrots, avocadoes, apples, hummus and these delicious flax seed buns you can get at their bakery.  Oh yeah, and diet Pepsi.  So, it shouldn’t be hard to tell what I’d like based on my “shopping habits.”  Here’s what my “personalized” coupons were:

Wieners? All beef OR chicken?  Wow!  I can’t think of anything this vegetarian-of-more-than-a-decade would want more! I have never, ever bought a wiener anywhere in this *entire province*. EVER!

As you can see at the bottom of that photo, the second coupon is for hot dog buns. To go with the wieners that I will never, ever buy.

The next coupon – Purdy’s Ice Cream – is the only thing I might even possibly buy, but I have absolutely never bought ice cream at Save On, so this definitely wasn’t based on my shopping habits.  And then there’s Nestle Chocolate Bars.  Sure, I’m a total chocolate snob who won’t even look at chocolate if it’s doesn’t have at least 70% cocoa and who believes that “milk” and “chocolate” have no business being anywhere near each other.  But yeah, give me that coupon for cheap crappy milk chocolate candy bars.

Tod assures me that they never had any intent to *actually* give me coupons based on the stuff I actually buy4, but rather they are just trying to sell me things I wasn’t going to buy, but I say “bollocks!”5  If they just want to give away coupons, why not have a bunch of coupons on the wall, a la Superstore, so you can just grab the ones you *actually* want instead of printing out a bunch o’ crap that I don’t want!


  1. a grocery store we have here in BC []
  2. it’s their discount card they use so they can Big Brother your shopping []
  3. so much cheaper and healthier than buying take out! []
  4. as I may or may not have been ranting about this to him []
  5. that “bollocks,” by the way, is in honour of Sir Kalev, who became a British citizen today! []

Comments |15|

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  • Reply

  • Hee hee… Sir Kalev here. It's obviously a brainwashing technique where they're trying to convince you you actually want wieners. Which is a perfect opening for sexual innuendo that I'm too lazy to think up.

    But what I mean is, some people really are that gullible.


  • Coupons like that come in a variety of "classes". There's the "switch" … you usually buy Coke so you get a Pepsi coupon. There's the "frequent buyer" … you buy ice cream all the time so buy some more for a small discount. There's the "complete the order" … you bought A, B C and D; this goes well with E so you get a coupon for e so you'll buy it on your next trip.

    In your case, it's likely something along the lines of "customer buys veggies here but no meat; probably buys meat at a specialty butcher … let's get this person as meat customer here, too."

    As for the vegetarian slant … don't sweat it. Vegetarians are such a small minority (and they break themselves down into even smaller categories) that they aren't worth the effort to program for.

    Or, maybe, the program knows more than you think it does. It looked at your purchases, realized how little protein you're getting and provided you with a coupon for a protein dense item. Had an anemia test recently?


    • Reply

    • For the love of FSM, veggies do NOT have a lack of protein (unless they're completely stupid about their diets).

      Also, isn't anemia a lack of iron, not protein?


      • You are correct, anemia results from iron deficiency (or B vitamin deficiency, depending on the type of anemia), not protein deficiency.

        And vegetarians don’t have trouble getting protein. Even in the limited amount of stuff I’ve bought at Save On, the hummus is a great source of protein!


        • @Kalev … neither of us actually *knows* what Beth has been buying — it's quite easy to buy truckloads of veggies and still end up with a protein deficient diet.

          @DrBethSnow … I need a little slack here (late, long day, tired) and cited anemia when I should not have. Hummus isn't a great source of protein (it *is* a source but only a middling one). I'm sure Google will provide you with a list of much better protein sources (peanuts and most other nuts are likely to be much denser protein sources).

          I'm an omnivore … my species fought long and hard to get to the top of the food chain and I'm not giving back an inch. Besides, the greatest vegetarian meal (and I've had *so* *many* of them) doesn't compare to venison, buffalo. Or bacon. Especially bacon. 😉


          • I'm not at home so I don't have my textbooks, so I 'm trusting the Internet for these numbers, but:

            100 g hummus = 8 g protein
            100 g hot dog = 12 g protein

            I'd say that's comparable. And besides, hummus is pig snout-free!

            Seriously, though, I think Kalev was more vexed by the assumption that people (and coupon-generating computers, apparently) make that it's hard to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet – as vegetarians, we get asked/told about this all the time and it's just not true. Sure, consuming a vegetarian diet doesn't guarantee that you are getting a healthy diet, but neither does consuming an omnivorous one.

  • Don't want to beat this topic to death … but …

    The hummus has the added advantage of garlic! Pig-snout free – yup … as they say in the trade, they use everything except the squeal.

    [healthy] omnivorous diet … true, but it's easier (assuming reasonable variety) to be assured of a healthy diet. Vegetarian diet … disagree slightly … probably *more* likely to have a healthy diet (for a variety of reasons) plus vegetarians are more likely to be carefully monitoring everything they swallow.

    The intertubes tell me that a physically active woman, 60kg, should get 30-50g protein daily. That's 3-4 hot dogs … ugh! Or nearly half a kg of hummus … bloated tummy.

    On the other hand, 100 gm of back bacon is 30g of protein <lip smacking grin>. So a single slice gives about half the daily minimum. (But, sadly, there is the salt content which is astronomical.)

    Final comment … your blog keeps showing the flickr images as "this photo is unavailable". Clicking on the image, however, takes one through to the displayable image. You might want to look into this.


    • Yeah, I know about the Flickr photo thing. I have no idea why it's happening and haven't had time to look into it. But you aren't the first person to have mentioned it, so I think I better put it up on the priority list of things to do!


  • They're not customized for you. They coupons are a set of generic ones, but (as far as I know) you can only get one set per week, since they're keyed to your Save On card, and they expire within the week. It may not even be possible for someone with a different Save On card to use your coupons, though I'm not sure about that. In other words, it's about the advantage to Save On Foods, not about any advantage to you or any algorithmic insight into what you want to or should eat.


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