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TDG Off Topic: Supermarket Sweep is the best TV game show*

Who needs Netflix Originals when you’ve got 90’s hair and loads of hams?

Supermarket Sweep rules.

Wait, you’re not familiar with this classic TV game show?

  1. Who are you and where have you been?
  2. You need to get your head right, starting by reading this and agreeing with me that Supermarket Sweep rules.

Basically, Supermarket Sweep is a game that revolves around product placement and rampant consumerism. Also, giant hams. Giant hams are important. And it’s amazing and currently streaming on Netflix.


The game originally existed in the 1960’s. It was also rebooted in 2000. I don’t care about how those versions were played. I only care about the one I watched as a child, the 1990-1995 version that aired on Lifetime.

Here are the basics:

  • 3 teams of two are picked from the studio audience based on the product placement they were given when they walk in the door. How do they pick their teams? I assume it works like Price is Right where they want energetic people with a story of some kind. That really isn’t important.
  • There are 3 rounds: 1) The Question Round, 2) the Big Sweep, and 3) the Bonus Sweep.
  • The Question Round (explained by a fan Wikia): “At the beginning of the game, all three teams started with a base time of one minute and 30 seconds (1:30), the same amount of time provided in the original. Questions answered correctly added time to their clocks. The Question Round was divided into three segments. In the first two segments, one teammate from each team answered a variety of questions and/or played one of several Pricing Games that involved pricing everyday grocery items, with the teammates switching between segments. The third segment was the Round Robin game, in which the teammates rotated after each question.”
  • The Big Sweep is when all 3 teams run through the fake grocery store filling up their carts with items. Certain items are worth more money, and everyone wants those (/waves at the giant hams). You can also pick up giant inflatable bonus prizes. Think a giant bottle of Budweiser or a 3 foot tall “Sprout” (the Green Giant’s sidekick).
  • There are 3 key rules to the Big Sweep: 1) The teams could only take up to five of each item. 2) Any items dropped and/or upset had to be returned to the shelf or in one’s cart, or incur a $25-per-item penalty. Teams were also penalized $25 for running into supermarket displays, cameramen or any other personnel. 3) Only one member of each team could be in the store at a time; the other team member was required to remain at the checkout counter to unload the groceries (with the exception of the doing of some money makers [see below]).
  • What does that look like? Well, here you go.
  • The Bonus Sweep. This is where the winners of the Big Sweep (i.e. the people who collected the most $$$ worth of product) figure out puzzles while running through the store to find a mystery prize worth $5000.

Why is this awesome?

Did you miss the part where I said people were chasing each other with shopping carts while picking up giant inflatable things? You need more reasons? Ok.







Randee, Ricki, Cindy Sue, Cindy Lou (those last two were on the same team btw).

Best episode (so far)

The 4th in the Netflix list, Episode 1404. The young gun duo of Brandon and Kevin (undergrads at UCSB who apparently just decided one day to compete on Supermarket Sweep) who are absolutely devastating at word puzzles and (spoiler) build up a crazy time lead headed into the Big Sweep.

So get thee to Netflix! And remember, the next time you’re at the checkout and hear the beep, think of all the fun you could have on SUPERMARKET SWEEP!

*FINAL NOTE: When I say best game show I mean best supermarket related TV game show that I watched as a child. I reserve the right to call something the Best Game Show ever tomorrow.