"Have you ever dreamt of running through a supermarket, grabbing everything you want, and filling your basket 'til it overflows? Live that dream by playing along with today's contestants on Canada's hottest new game show, Supermarket Sweep! Grab a cup of your favorite blend of Nabob coffee, and test your shopping skills with our eager contestants as they try to win cash and other fabulous prizes on the one and only Supermarket Sweep!"
Three teams of two contestants (usually siblings, a parent & child, best friends, or spouses) played a game of answering questions and supermarket shopping. It was hosted by Tino Monte, the "host and games master extraordinaire," according to the opening, and Dave King was the announcer, who called for the items at the beginning of the show.
To start, the three teams were given one minute (1:00). Then the teams had a chance to add more time to their sweep times.
To start, host Monte reads a question with a rhyming couplet or a fact. The first player to buzz-in with a correct answer scored 10 seconds and gave his/her partner a chance to go on what's called a "Mini-Sweep" The running player ran through the aisles of the market to find the specially-marked product that answers the first question. If the partner can find it in 20 seconds or less, he/she won a cash bonus of $50 added to the team's sweep total. But, if the partner ran out of time to find the correct product, found the correct product with no sticker, or found the correct product when time is up, no bonus was awarded. On some episodes, if the question was a health food, a $75-dollar gift certificate from Naturally Yours Health Foods Limited was used. There were two Mini-Sweeps per show and they began each half of the question round.
The round was split into two halves. The first half was played with the first set of players and the second half was played with the second set. The players in control were asked a series of questions and each correct answer added 10 more seconds of sweep time.
Some games include:
- Filling in the blanks to reveal a product (backwards or random, or the starting and ending letters)
- Using clues to solve with products that you can find in a supermarket
- Telling about a product found in a supermarket
- Opposites: Giving a word or phrase that's the opposite or almost/close to the opposite of the name of a product that you will find in a supermarket (e.g. Hard Stupidity is the opposite of Soft Sense Lotion).
- Checkstand Headlines - Facts about a famous person or event that were read about in checkstand tabloids were given to the contestants, and the contestants were to guess what the fact referred to.
- Household Hints - Mentioning several unusual ways that you can do according to the experts. The results aren't guaranteed, but common sense might tell the contestants which items the host is talking about.
- Proverbs/Common Sayings - Facts about well-known expressions were given to the contestants, and the contestants were to guess by completing these popular expressions with items found or sold in the supermarket.
- Giving a song with one word missing
- Brief History of a Product
- Supermarket Trivia
- Mentioning several products and which one Monte is referring to (multiple choice)
The question round ended with a Round Robin game where all six players play. There were six questions in all at 10 seconds a pop, so 60 seconds/one minute was available. There were two version of the Round Robin game. One was the Scrambled Letters game where the teams were shown a scrambled-up word of a brand name, common food, or item, and three clues were given one at a time. The other version was where the teams were given five clues about a product and they must buzz-in to guess what it is. After each question, the players on teams switched places with each other.
The "Big Sweep" was the chance for the teams to run throughout the aisles and to grab whatever they could off of the supermarket shelves. The clock was set to the highest time that was earned by the three teams. The runner for that team was sent out into the market, with the other runners entering when their time had remained on the clock. During the Big Sweep, the show's announcer provided the "play-by-play."
The runner could bring their cart back to the team's register at any time, at which point it was exchanged for an empty cart. Any items in the runner's cart when the bell rang were included in their total.
The three main rules for the Big Sweep were:
- The teams could only take up to five of each item.
- Any items dropped and/or upset had to be returned to the shelf or in one's cart to avoid a $25-per-item penalty. Teams were also penalized for running into supermarket displays, cameramen, or any other personnel and for crushed products.
- 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.
Along the way, the shopper's would encounter some bonus specials.
- Shopping List - The only bonus feature to appear in every episode. Before the Sweep, Tino gave a list of three products in the market to be found. If all three items were found, the team received $250.
- Specially Marked Inflatables - Runners run to the deli and find a cheese inflatable worth $50-$100, but only one to a customer.
- Manager's Special - During the Sweep, Tino announced the "Manager's Special" of the day via the market's loudspeaker. The contestant had to run to a box at the front of the market to find that item which was marked. Finding that item won $200, but unmarked items are nothing at all, even if it was the correct product.
Once time was called, all products were scanned while the show took a final commercial break. Afterward, the grand totals of each team's takes were revealed. As of September 24th, 2013, the overall highest grand total is $1,390. The team with the highest grand total, including Mini-Sweep bonuses, won their Sweep total in cash and the right to play in the Bonus Sweep for a grand prize.
The winning team was given 60 seconds to find three products in the market one at a time. The products were marked by the show's logo or emblem (just like the Mini-Sweep), and were numbered 1-3. They were given a clue to the first product, after which the time started. The second clue was affixed to the first product, and the third clue was on the second product. If the team found the third product, they won a grand prize selected from one of the letters in the show's title, "Supermarket Sweep". It could be any prize whatsoever, like a matching pair of Bulova watches, Mini-Maid cleaning for a year, an electric reclining chair, a Nico Mini-System, a color television, a VCR, or a trip to Acapulco, Mexico or Cuba, or a cash prize of $500, $1,000 or the top prize of $5,000 (just like in America). The winning team had to find all three products and return with them to win the prize. If the team was unsuccessful, the team still won a consolation prize.
Originally, if the team found the correct product with no sticker, or if they found the correct product after the bell, they automatically forfeited the right to play in the Bonus Sweep for a grand prize, but they still won a consolation prize.
Clues had several formats in the series. Some clues were two-line rhymes describing the product, with its brand name as the final missing word in the rhyme. Other clues used a play on words of the product's title. Others had important words underlined. On occasion, clues led to a household item other than cleaners, a movie in the movie rack, a fruit or a vegetable in the produce section, a flower in a special kiosk located at the front of the market that was used only during the Bonus Sweep, or a greeting card near the magazine rack.
This program aired on Hamilton's CHCH-TV in southern Ontario (including the Toronto market), and was syndicated by several other local stations across Canada.
Repeats aired on the Global Television Network in the late 1990s; they can currently (as of 2014) be seen on GameTV on Channel 73 or Channel 288 for Rogers.
Based on the American game show of the same name that ran from 1965-1967 and again from 1990-2003.