Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tesco falling for basic maths error

TV advert:-
"20% deducted at the till - equivalent to the VAT"

So annoying people have no bloody clue on the most basic of maths.

OK, a note for the hard of thinking, and I really should not have to do this.
  • Imagine something is priced at £1.00, plus 20% VAT
  • That makes it £1.20 in the shops, at the till. The price you normally pay is £1.20
  • Of that £1.20, the VAT element is clearly 20p
  • Now, take 20% off the £1.20 at the till. 20% of £1.20 is 24p.
  • That means you are paying 96p at the till, not £1.00
  • Not equivalent to the VAT at all, in fact a better deal


  1. Was on an advert on TV I caught at the end of Primeval.

  2. It's also on their homepage (which I won't link to because they're not worthy)

  3. It's not even like it's difficult to advertise without confusing the customer (which if you put e.g. 16.67% discount you would!) - you just say something like "No VAT!" as the headline bit, then somewhere else put "Discount equivalent to 20% VAT, VAT still payable"

  4. haha... nice also.. are they trying to bring the effective vat rate of all products down to 0 like most of the food items already..

  5. They probably know this perfectly well but got sick of explaining to people at the tills why they weren't knocking 20% off the price..

  6. Considering the VAT on products is approximately 16.6% they technically are VAT free, and then some. I suspect they knew this but thought people would get confused if they put the actual percentage in the advert. Working in retail I've come to take it as a given that the general public are, largely full of stupid questions.