Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cheaper Prices at Japanese Supermarkets

Everyone wants to buy things at lower prices—especially we foreigners because we are the ones who tend to buy ingredients, like meat and cheese, that are more expensive in general. Luckily, most supermarkets in Japan have a "happy hour" right before closing time, and that's when they start labeling items with 半額 (half-price) stickers.

So if your supermarket closes at 8 p.m., your best bet would be to be there around 7:30 p.m. That time will be convenient for you, because you should have enough time to go through your shopping list, and you should also have the best selection of half-priced goods. The downside is that the store could be packed with people, and that some items could be sold out already.

You should mainly look for stickers on perishables such as meat and ready food (sandwiches, lunch boxes, rice balls, salads, etc.), because they are the ones that get labeled first. Don't expect to find discounted spices, rice, potatoes or seaweed on a daily basis. But if you consume a lot of beef, pork, chicken or ground meat, this strategy is for you.

And if you can't find discount labels on your desired items, you can always politely ask a salesperson if they could make something cheaper: "Sumimasen, chotto yasuku shite moraemasenka?" This phrase is even more effective when buying greater quantities.

You should also look for these labels:

2割OFF = 20% off
お得 = profitable

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