Online grocery shopping

A bit OT but grocers and F&V sell some products by ‘each’ and some by weight even in store. Eg. Asparagus, brocollini, and other F&V are commonly sold by a ‘bunch’ whatever that means, and cauliflower by each, only sometimes advertised as small, medium, or large.

A quick search on ‘what is a bunch of asparagus’ mostly returns image and individual experiences of a 25% or more weight disparity from bunch to bunch. I did not find an authoritative definition for ‘bunch’ among the weights and measures or even recipe sources.

I can understand weighing a single asparagus spear or brocollini would be problematic because of their light weight vs scale accuracies yet garlic cloves and other light weight items are sold by weight. One shop sells asparagus at $1.50 per bunch and another at $2.50. Are the bunches standardised? Are the prices comparable like for like?

We just accept it. Does anyone know the background?

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I don’t see scale accuracy an important factor as very small light items (rice) are not sold individually. Whether produce is sold by weight, by each or by bunch seems historical or arbitrary and there is no discernible relationship with the physical form.

Larger items (melons, pineapples, pumpkins etc) may be sold by each or by weight and may be cut and sold by weight or fraction (half, quarter). Smaller items my be sold by weight or by bunch or bag. Did anybody notice that when the larger brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower) were very expensive recently many more were sold cut?

For in-store sales, the assistant can put your bag of beans or knob of garlic on the scales and charge by weight they can surely do a single pineapple or a bunch of asparagus the same way. If there is any good real-world reason to not sell all produce by weight, either packaged or loose, I would like to hear it.

As we have mentioned before weighing out an arbitrary individual amount for online sales may be impractical so pre-packed bags or bunches by weight would be required but that doesn’t excuse the rubbery unknown bunch size.

At this point it looks to me that this issue is not addressed adequately by legislation which leads to manipulation.

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Yes, up to point Phil. It’s the Unit Pricing Code of Conduct. Lots of CHOICE articles here if you like deep dives and long reads:
The bottom line with Woolies is that they’re fully compliant with the code. It’s the retailers’ choice to dual-price (or not) on their websites. Coles chose to, Woolies did not, so we can only speculate as to “why?”
Indeed, you’ve cited some excellent examples of pricing/unit anomolies, and there’s lots lots more of them. I guess, though, provided all the retailers demonstrate consistency we can probably tolerate eccentricities. What I’ve highlighted in my posts is inconsistency between retailers. The fix for that is regular ACCC review and amendment of the code of conduct. In other words, force the retailers to do things.


You’re able to leave instructions for the personal shopper to indicate how ripe etc you want produce. Each variety has it’s own listing. for example pink lady apples may be a different price to royal gala etc. You can also choose if you want an item substituted or not.

If an item is out of stock it is often looked for by at least one other person at a later time, so it’s not just one person looking. Laziness gets noticed and weeded out.

Once you have been hired for the department you applied for, you can be asked to assist in another department if they need help. But they cant make you work in another department if you dont want to. In extreme cases people that work in other stores can be asked to fill in. They also cant be made to work if they dont want to come in.

There have been a couple of times they’ve given us the wrong thing and allowed us to keep it, often with a full refund too.

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I am a big believer in the convenience of grocery deliveries. I usually use Woolworths but are lately very frustrated at some items being restricted to “Available in-store only”. This to me means the store has stock but will not sell in to online delivery customers, they must be making too much money but this seems to be a strange business model.

This therefore is the situation
1 Items that I require are available in-store
2. Items are in-store but not available for delivery customers
3 This means I either have to part order for delivery & finish order by going into a store
4 Some items I require but flagged “available in-store only” are in the same aisle as items that I can order for delivery meaning the person picking the order is walking past the “available in-store only” items to pick I items I wish delivered
5 Why would anyone do this as it defeats the convenience of delivery?
6 I have checked stock of other stores & items are not flagged “available in-store only”
7 It appears that Woolies would rather leave stock on the shelf than sell to a delivery customer.
8 Woolies does not provide me the option of having my delivery from another store, it delegates the store for delivery
9 When I contacted Woolies the comment was “As these items are quite popular the system has pulled them from online so the store doesn’t end up with empty spots on shelf” This to me means either
A. In-Store customers are more important than delivery customers
B. Woolies are willing to forgo selling an item to a delivery customer rather than not having the shelf be empty
C. It is better to have an item on the shelf than sell it
D. Store is incompetent at keeping its stock levels to suit its customers

In my experience once a particular store has a monopoly on a service its level of customer service drops with an either take it or leave it mentality

Heres another new issue. I ordered a pack of 4 make up pads but when I went to the checkout it showed they were to be sent from a BigW store with a seperate $10.00 delivery fee even though I selected them within the Woolies online store & have unlimited delivery service. Check everything

Is anyone else finding the same issues?


Hi @Steve1959, your post has been moved to an existing discussion. There are others in the community raising various issues with online grocery shopping. Woolworths and Coles included with examples of how both respond to supplying items not in stock or substitution.

Your shared experiences and observations add to the conversation.

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From time to time, and its just frustrating. I find generally that Coles supplies are better, but Woolies has some things I want. Mostly what I hate is when I spend $50 because theres somethng I need and the rest could be delayed a week or two… and the one item I need is the one thats n/a when the packing is done.

I still mostly do online shopping but if I am compis mentis at 6am, I’ll shop then to avoid the covid crowds.

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I don’t online shop.
However what really gets my bristles up is when Coles or Woolworths offer $10.00 off with an online shop, or specials only for online shopping.
Our nearest town has Coles and Woolworths, both have online shopping, and collection area, no home delivery. However Woolworths drive 80km from their nearest town to my nearest town in a pantech truck to deliver ONE online shop to a customer. After seeing the truck a few times on the highway, and in town saw the truck go down a side street. I went and ask how many order he had to deliver and told me ONE. How do you like that for appalling environmental vandalism.

Here’s something I have noticed with the last three Coles delivered shops… when there is some kind of adjustment in pricing, it always favours Coles. Woolworths is the opposite. I’ve often had refunds from them, never from Coles. So today’s shop, due in an hour or so, has cost me $1 more (I know not a huge amount, but it all adds up) and that is in spite of them not having any tomatoes for me. They probably went over on the cold meats. Woolies tends to go under.

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