To follow on from my article about the existential voter, I have decided to look at how shops and businesses target the existential shopper.

However, thanks to consumer watchdog body Which? it is going to get harder for supermarkets to tap into shoppers existential angst. So, pity the poor shopper who may not be able to get conned by the supermarket, in return for a bit of temporary alleviating of existential angst.

Which? are upset because of "confusing and misleading" supermarket prices. So, they've called in the regulator, launching a "super-complaint", a legal move which means the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) must respond within 90 days.

The main focus seems to be things like "special offers", and other things that make consumers think they are getting a good deal.

Hang on, what happens to the poor shopper who likes to feel they have bagged a bargain. It gives life a sense of meaning, and allows the consumer to feel a positive buzz of euphoria, feel they have achieved something, and pulled one over on the shops. In other words, the consumer likes to be conned, it feels like a victory when you get a "good deal" for instance getting 2 items for £1 - it doesn't matter that last week, you could buy 1 item for 50p. If shoppers go round feeling they have had to pay the right price for something, they are going to feel more miserable, and be more easily confronted by the pointlessness of their existence, rather than getting a temporary relief from existential despair.

The super-complaint received by the CMA from Which?, in summary, is in respect of perceived concerns about misleading and opaque pricing practices in the grocery market. Which? has identified 3 potential areas of concern that it would like the (CMA) to investigate: confusing and misleading special offers; a lack of easily comparable prices due to the way unit pricing is being done, and shrinking pack sizes without any corresponding price reduction. Which? is also concerned about the impact of supermarket 'price match' schemes on consumer decision-making.

If Which? gets its way Britain is going to end up a much more depressed and miserable place. Personally, I applaud the little tricks the supermarkets pull to allow consumers to pay for a quick fix for existential angst. Alternatively, if you don't want to get sucked-in by supermarkets, and pay for your existential angst, you can always try to deal with it with the kind of irony that has punctuated this article. #Finance #Society