Just a few days ago we were talking about how Simbisa Brands’ chips and sausage order was popular. The order was being sold at US$1 per serving of chips and sausage. Yesterday social media was awash with pictures of two receipts showing that the order was going for $200 ZWL and US$1 implying that Simbisa was using an exchange rate of $200 ZWL: 1 USD. This did not go down well with a lot of people.

In response to this Simbisa Brands have now decided to scrap the USD promotional pricing of this order. Currently, Bakers Inn is asking people to pay about US$1.20 for the order in their shops. This means that they are now using the official exchange rate of about $87 ZWL: 1 USD. This led to outroar and complaints as people were pointing out the order had essentially doubled in USD terms.

“We have stopped the Bakers’ Inn promotion with immediate effect. The price of that Bakers Inn meal is $1, 25. It had been discounted to $1, 00 when paying in US$. The US$ receipt is clearly marked promotion and discount. I don’t know why this has been blown out of proportion. The original price $1, 25 people can do the maths.

The promotion (which has been in place for over a year) was premised on the issue of unavailability of US$ change

Warren Meares Simbisa’s Managing Director

While the company’s MD might want to justify this as a promotion the truth is even if that were the case the promotion would still fall afoul of the controversial SI 127 of 2021 which expressly forbids such promotions which are clearly meant to induce direct payment in USD. The MD did not even reference the law in his comment choosing instead to imply the fact that the price predates the promulgation of the SI by talking about how long they have had the promotional pricing in place.

In an early article, we also pointed out the fact that Simbisa is by no mean the only one using black market rates when it comes to setting prices for their goods. Nor are they the only ones that offer USD discounts. This is because the government keeps forcing people to use the official rate when doing calculations even though there is no valid reason for them to.