Countdown ridiculed for discount error appearing to make spaghetti more expensive

A pricing faux pas at a Wellington supermarket has been widely criticised on social media after a bemused customer spotted a discounted product that appeared to be cheaper at full-price. 

The woman shared a photo of the blunder to Vic Deals - a popular Facebook community for Wellingtonians - early on Monday morning, captioning the snap: "Countdown at its finest."

The photo shows a can of Wattie's Spaghetti with Sausages on the shelf, with a sticker indicating the product is currently on special for $3.90 with a Countdown Onecard. The cards allow shoppers to access exclusive discounts and deals, known as the Onecard Club Price, for a number of products.

However, the label beneath the Club Price sticker states that the product is $3.70 when it's not on sale - making the 'discounted' price 20 cents more expensive than the original cost. 

The supermarket's slip up was panned in the community group, with many complaining that inflation has already made food prices almost unattainable.

"My gran would roll in her grave if she saw this price," one said.

"They'll crawl up to $5 soon. It's inevitable. Matching those petrol station and dairy prices," another added.

"Would it be okay if I paid full price instead of the special?" a third joked.

"No way is a tin of baked beans and sausages worth $3.70 on special," another wrote. 

However, one pointed out that the Club Price sticker indicates the product is $4.30 full-price, instead of $3.70 as per the shelving label. 

"Obviously they forgot to put the original price at $4.30," the man said.

In a statement to Newshub, a Countdown spokesperson confirmed that this was the case. 

"Due to cost increases for this product on the supply side, our retail price increased to $4.30 late last year. With this change, our promotional prices have changed as well," the spokesperson explained.

"We always aim to ensure that our prices are accurate for our customers, but in this case it looks like the store has been a bit slow in updating their on-shelf pricing - we'll be sure to let the Wellington area group manager know and make sure this ticket is corrected."

The spokesperson assured that anyone who has purchased a product for a higher price than that stated on the current label will be issued a refund.

"If there is ever a mistake with our shelf pricing in store, we'll always make it right for our customers. If any product is charged at a higher price than stated on the current shelf ticket/label and the transaction has been completed, we'll refund the price paid and the customer can keep the product free of charge."

And the mistake isn't the only supermarket slip-up to be shared on social media in the last 24 hours. New World was subjected to Reddit's wrath after a user shared a snap to the Auckland forum that appeared to show a beef sirloin steak on sale for $6.66 - despite the original label pricing it at $6.21.

"The Devil at it again," the user captioned the post, which was shared to the forum on Sunday evening.

"Personally, I love when places reduce the price by making it more than it was before. The best," one user joked.

But on a closer look, the 'Reduced Price' ticket appears to have been stuck on the wrong product, with the sticker labelled as a scotch fillet instead of a sirloin steak.

Emma Wooster, the corporate affairs manager at Foodstuffs NZ, acknowledged the mistake and said staff will work quickly to rectify it.

"We try not to make mistakes and when we do we work quickly to correct them," she told Newshub.

However, one Reddit user claimed that they'd benefited from a pricing blunder, snapping up a lobster tail incorrectly labelled as an orange for only $2.50.