A discount on a popular brand of beer at one Big C outlet in Ho Chi Minh City last weekend turned out to benefit only the dealers rather than the retail customers.
333 Beer, a product of Vietnam’s largest brewery Sabeco, was available at VND204,000 (US$9) for a 24-can cardboard box at Big C Truong Chinh on Sunday morning, a VND22,900 ($1) discount from the usual price of VND226,900 ($10).
A number of beer dealers were seen jostling to collect as many boxes as possible, leaving little chance for ordinary consumers.
Dealers normally distribute 333 Beer to outlets at wholesale prices of VND216,000 ($9.6) and VND220,000 ($9.8) a box, so sourcing the product at VND204,000 apiece meant additional profits ranging from VND12,000 to VND16,000.
As observed by a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter at the supermarket, the area where the discounted 333 Beer was stored had been repeatedly cleared by excited distributors.
As soon as new stock was brought in, the dealers would begin elbowing each other and take the beer to their carts.
After two to three successful attempts, each distributor was able to collect between 40 and 60 cardboard boxes.
Individual shoppers found it impossible to ‘compete’ with the dealers to take advantage of the discounted beer.
“They were collecting the beer very fast,” one shopper named Dinh said. “Just one second and all the available beer was gone.”
Ho Quoc Nguyen, a media representative with Big C, said the 333 Beer discount was part of the supermarket’s weekend promotion program.
Nguyen said each customer was only allowed to buy two boxes at the discounted price, but the dealers had defied the rule by asking others to collect the beer for them. “Those are cases we cannot handle,” he said.
However, as observed by Tuoi Tre, many dealers were waiting at the checkout with their carts full of 333 Beer.
If a distributor managed to collect 60 cardboard boxes of the discounted beer, at a maximum profit of VND16,000 per box, this would amount to an additional gain of VND960,000 ($43).