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Old gameshow that used to air on CHCH, in Ontario. Three Contestants answer trivia dealing mainly with food or other grocery items. The set was a supermarket. I'm not sure if it was an actual grocery store, or just made to look like one.

The final challenge of the show was for the contestants to go on a supermarket sweep, in which they are given a dollar value and a time limit, and they have to sprint around the store with their carts and collect groceries which will add up to the appropriate amount. This is much fun to watch, as they madly throw massive amounts of meat and detergent into their carts, knocking everything off the shelves in the process.

The carts are sent through the checkout when the time limit is up, and whoever is closest to the given dollar amount, wins! How exciting!

Supermarket Sweep is no longer on the air. Don't look so shocked.

There's a program in the UK called "Dale's Supermarket Sweep" with exactly the same format, which is (surprisingly) still on the air. The name comes from the fact it's presented by ITV's king of camp, Dale Winton.

If you're looking for daytime TV quiz shows, I recommend that you watch Countdown, 15 To 1, or The Weakest Link instead.

Further to Orange_Julius's writeup, the UK show's format is so similar it's scary. The only thing you didn't mention is the premium rate number that the flash across the entire screen during the trolley dash round for people who want to be contestants to ring, with the annoying commentator (it's about as bad as the guy in Robot Wars) talking over the top.

This also reminds me of a sketch that appeared on Trigger Happy TV, a hidden camera show that had a fairly successful run on Channel 4 and is now on E4. The crew and presenter set up a collapsible stand outside a supermarket, informed someone they were the store's millionth customer (or something similar) and handed them a trolley to go on a one minute free dash round the supermarket. While the guy ran off to do this, the crew packed up their stand and legged it as fast as they could, leaving the poor shopper abandoned with a trolley full of goods he didn't really want and no idea quite what just happened. It was probably funnier if you watched it. :)

Oh, Supermarket Sweep is VERY MUCH on the air in the United States. Check out the PAX TV network, which is Ch. 68 in Boston (airs daily at six and seven!). Perhaps the format is a little different, though. Three teams of two competed in a number of different rounds.

In the first round, contestants would unscramble the names of food items or answer questions about those food items. In exchange for correct answers, they were given time that they could use in the next round.

During the second part of the game where the three contestants go apeshit through the store stocking as many high priced items into their carts during the alloted time, the only stipulation being that they can only take five of any given item. There are also strange items like large inflatable Chiquita bananas that are worth bonus dollars. But the contestants always go after large slabs of meat or packages of diapers. I've yet to see anyone go after OTC drugs, which would by far be worth more money, and take up less space in the cart. But, as you can probably guess... if these people were smart, they'd be on Jeopardy! and not Supermarket Sweep.

Once all of the totals are tallied, the team with the highest dollar value goes onto the final round for $5,000. They are given a rhyming clue to a food item in the supermarket. If they find the food item, they get another clue. If they get three food items in 60 seconds, they win the grand prize.

The show also has an extremely irritating host (David Ruprecht, who was radio voice in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan) with a perpetual smile. He talks to the contestants to find out a little bit about their pathetic lives. He's always shouting things lik "OH, THAT SOUNDS EXCITING!!!" and "IT'S TIME FOR THE ROUND ROBIN GAME!!!" On top of that, the contestants are always yelling, too. They're hyperexcited... like someone's pumping nitrous oxide into the studio.

By far the best part of the show is listening to the announcer give the play-by-play of the second round mad-dash...

Mary Ann is heading over to the snack aisle, and she's filling up on Rold Gold Pretzels. They're low on fat, but not on dollar values! Meanwhile, Jeff is going after the Foster Farms Turkeys... he's got his alloted five... and he's off again! And now Mary Ann's found one of our bonus items... it's the giant Spam can! She'd better get that back before time runs out!
And, just to punctuate the cheese factor of this show (if you didn't catch on already), at the end of the show, the host and the final contestants all chime in...

The next time you're at the checkout counter,
and you hear that beep...
Think of all the fun you could have,
on Supermarket Sweep!

The original version of "Supermarket Sweep" premiered in beautiful black and white on ABC on December 20, 1965, at 11:00 A.M. Eastern time.

The rules were more or less the same as described above. The major difference was that, instead of taking place in a TV studio disguised as a supermarket, it was taped in actual supermarkets in various cities around the United States, many of them belonging to Food Fair. The promotion didn't seem to help; that chain has been out of business for years. Maybe they lost too much money having to close down their stores so the contestants could run around unimpeded by actual shoppers.

In addition to the actual game, host Bill Malone would also take time out to interview a local celebrity, such as a restaurant owner or a beauty queen.

Still in monochrome and therefore unable to show off product labels to full advantage, the last episode aired Friday, July 14, 1967. On Monday the 17th, Bill Malone was back in the same time slot with a very similar game show called "Honeymoon Race," so it looked like it was all over for "Supermarket Sweep" until it reappeared on the Lifetime channel with host David Ruprecht on February 5, 1990, and the rest is history.

For some reason, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago has a bunch of episodes of the original "Supermarket Sweep" available for viewing. So if you ever run out of tourist attractions while in the Windy City, you can go and see what the inside of a supermarket in your hometown looked like in the 1960s.

Further to the coverage of the Canadian version by Karla and stewacide...

Prior to the start of the show, members of the studio audience would each be given a grocery item (always a product of one of the show's limited number of sponsors). There may be fifty people in the audience for any given taping, but it appears to the untrained eye to be hundreds (a la The Price Is Right). Look for the mirrored walls. If the announcer called the name of your particular product, or that of your friend (as potential contestants were always chosen in pairs), you got to play the game and meet Tino Monte. Usually, the contestant had Sugar Twin or Bounce fabric softener, but there was the one famed instance of... "Who has the Vaseline Petroleum Jelly?!?". (The person jumped up screaming, briefly realized the fact that they're on syndicated television holding an economy size tub of lube, paused, then jumped up and down again. Good times.)

You could tell Tino was just marking time until something better came along. He read the trivia questions with such thinly-veiled contempt that it was hard not to pity him. Hosting a third rate Canadian game show is bad enough (a notch above Talk About! but beneath Definition and The Mad Dash), but to do so while wearing hula dancer novelty ties is inhumane.

The questions and riddles would be answered by the three teams of suburban Toronto chattel to accumulate points. These points would be exchanged for extra time in the "Big Sweep" (or whatever it was called).

Ah, the Big Sweep. This is the crowning moment of any shopping spree-genre program... crowds of overweight people sprinting through narrow aisles pushing barely-controllable carts stuffed with hundreds of pounds of groceries over freshly-waxed floors. How the producers weren't sued into destitution baffles me. The team that amassed the most points got a head start on their opponents and, more importantly, first crack at the Primo ProscuittosTM. Well, it isn't real proscuitto, just plastic props painted to look like a real proscuitto. After stuffing six or seven plastic pig legs into the cart, it was on to the olive oil and laundry detergent. Usually, one of the partners splits off to the discount bin to search out the bonus items, worth an extra $100 or $200. After the time expires, the team with the highest dollar value in groceries moves onto the bonus round. Did I mention the color coordinated sweatshirts?

The bonus round consisted of a solo shopping spree (sans cart this time) much like the one in the American version described by Orange Julius. The team would be given a riddle identifying an product from the show's limited roster of sponsors. The team would hunt for the item (with the big-assed numbered sticker) which would have another riddle pointing to a second product. That product would lead the team to a third and final product. If that can of soup or box of breakfast cereal was in their greasy little fingers before the clock wound down, it'd be "Adios Mississauga, hola Habana!"

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