I don’t have many rules when it comes to my children. I prefer them to explore, make mistakes and gradually learn about themselves.

But, I do have some. At the time of writing, a few come to mind….

  1. If you ever get arrested, call me. Before your mother.
  2. Try to tell the truth. Even if it is uncomfortable.
  3. Make sure you get at least one haircut you’ll regret. I’ll get over it.
  4. Never, ever side against your brother in a fight.

It’s unsurprising that Iceland have chosen not to compare their prices with Marks and Spencer, Morrisons or Checkers. Given they are all under the same ownership locally, that would be like siding against your brother.

Or is there another reason? Would doing that draw unwanted attention to their spectacular price differentials for the exactly the same products across their various fascia?

You may have seen price check posters blocking out light from the windows of local Iceland stores recently. We have…

Now, we are all for a bit of competition, the market is characterized by it. But we prefer honest competition. And honesty involves telling the truth. The truth means you tell the whole story, not mischievously selecting a few convenient facts to evidence the story you want people to believe.

I have never really trusted price checks, because they are so easily manipulated. In my previous blog “What Answer Do You Want?” I said we could make any assertion true. You want Waitrose to be the cheapest? I’ll find the evidence to make that true. Same with Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s or even Checkers Express (although I concede this might be more challenging.)

And that logic follows if you want Iceland to be cheaper. Good price checks religiously compare like for like (Iceland’s didn’t). They compare identical products (Iceland’s didn’t). And they take account of promotions, quality or provenance. (Yup, Iceland’s didn’t.)

I don’t want to be anal about this…. But let’s look at toilets rolls. They claimed to be cheaper than us. Their toilet rolls (9 pack) have 145 sheets for £2.68, ours 220 sheets for £3.65. On face value, they are cheaper right? Wrong. Our price per sheet is less… I know, the anal bit wasn’t funny!

The point is, price checks, especially those conducted by Sandpiper, who have an agenda, should be taken with a huge pinch of salt. And maybe a knowing smile.

The Iceland price check deliberately ignores the fact that, unlike some others, your Co-operative offers the same low prices in all our stores. And always has. Then there’s dividend. Then there’s double dividend.

But, I guess illustrating the whole picture might not be convenient.

Oh, I’ve just remembered another rule…

  1. Don’t throw stones at people. It hurts when they start throwing them back.