The "Big Sweep" was the chance for the teams to run throughout the supermarket and take products from the shelves with the seconds they had earned in the front game. One player for each team was designated as the "runner," with the job of collecting items in a shopping cart, and the teams were assigned numbers based on their accumulated time: 1 for the most, 2 for the second-most, 3 for the least. The clock was set to the highest time that was earned by the three teams. David would say: "On your mark, get set, GO!", and the runner for the team with the most time was sent out into the market. The other runners took off when the time they acquired remained on the clock, and David would count off: "3... 2... 1... And GO!". If any of the teams were tied, they were sent into the market at the same time. While the runners were in the market, the show's announcer offered commentary on the proceedings.
At any time, runners could bring full carts back to their teams' cash registers and exchange them for empty ones. When time ran out, only items in the runners' carts were included in the team totals. While the runners were in the market, the show's announcer offered commentary on the proceedings.
The three main rules for the Big Sweep were:
- The teams could only take up to five (5) of each item.
- If an item was knocked off a shelf or otherwise upset or damaged, the runner who did so either had to replace the item on the shelf or put it in his/her cart, or take a $25 penalty for each item. Teams were also penalized for running into supermarket displays, cameramen or any other personnel.
- Only the runners could be in the market; their partners were required to remain at the checkout counter and unload the groceries.
The product limit, which was absent in the original ABC version of the show, was added to prevent teams from overloading their carts with expensive items, such as poultry, laundry detergent, or over-the-counter drugs.
Original (ABC version)
In the second part of the game, one contestant from each team, generally referred to as a "runner", went on a shopping spree through the market using the time accumulated in the first half of the game. Several bonus prizes, coming in the form of pennants with dollar values ranging from $10 to $100 printed on them, would be spread throughout the store. After each contestant ran their sweep, the total value of groceries and bonus prizes in each player's cart was determined. The team with the highest total won not only the groceries they accumulated and the bonuses they picked up, but they also earn the right to return to the show and play in the next game.