I'm a guy who doesn't pay much attention to prices, and it isn't because
I'm wealthy, it's just that I don't really care much about saving little
pennies here and there, and also because I tend to buy on quality rather
than price. So what I did today was actually very out of character.
I've been buying 6-packs of heavy-duty paper towels (the blue ones) at
HD. Today as I was grabbing one I noticed they also had 3-packs, and I
got curious about how much I was "saving" by buying the larger pack.
Turns out the 6-pack was 10.98, and the 3-pack was 5.48. Hell, I can do
arithmetic in my head, so I bought two 3-packs, and saved two cents.
One place you have to be very careful about quantity purchases is Wal
Mart. Some of their jumbo sizes of everything from paper towels to a
lot of food its is more expensive as package size gets larger.
Sometimes a lot more expensive.
Yes... which always seems a bit surprising given that it uses less
packaging and printing (on a per-item basis) to wrap larger quantities.
Do they just charge more for larger because they can get away with it
(people automatically assume the larger quantities are a better deal) ior
is it all down to the risk of ending up with more unsold product with
On Wed, 18 May 2011 13:00:52 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson
When stores went to computer inventory, the software figures in a sort
of 'rent for the shelf space'. If something turns over slower, it
pays a 'higher rent'.
Reason tells us that if you have an equal number of folks who use the
same amount of Mayo, and 1/2 buy quarts, and 1/2 buy gallons. Those
folks who buy gallons won't be buying mayo as often. If we don't
buy as often, we're not in the store as often, and the store can't get
us to pick up those high profit items at the counter.
And the gallons turn over slower, because they are bigger.
So the unit price for the gallons goes up a little. Then everyone
who notices it is the same price per ounce starts buying 4 quarts--
driving the 'rent' even higher on the gallons.. . . and so on, until
the store stops carrying the gallons because it just isn't profitable.
[and sending the real bargain hunters to the big box store to buy the
3 gallon jug.]
Ah yes, a rational explanation. The price per unit is a myth in many
places. One product will be quoted in $/oz, another product right
next to it will be quoted in $/pound. I can multiply in my head so I
can do a rough conversion, but I often wonder why the $/unit is not in
the same units, especially when the two adjacent products are the same
type of merchandise.
You would think that should be part of the law. I can usually do the
math-- but a couple months ago I was having a hard time at Samsclub
deciding which jar of honey was cheaper. On the unit price, one was
in ounces and one was in pounds.
Just as I figured it out, I noticed that the jar that was unit priced
in ounces, was a one pound jar. Duh.
Interesting that you guys are seeing this difference in how
unit pricing is shown. Here in NJ I don't think I've ever
seen a case where the units were different for the same
type of product. It's always very easy to compare
the unit pricing. Could be the law here is different.
re: "Could be the law here is different"
...or it could be the products you/we are looking at.
I'll be going to Wegman's later today. I'll see if I can find a few
products where the units used for pricing are inconsistent and post
Do you have Wegman's in your part of Jersey? I understand that they've
built a few properties in Jersey over the past few years.
It would be interesting to do an apples-to-apples comparison, although
I don't think the unit pricing for apples will be different between
your stores and mine. ;-)
Yes, I have two Wegmans not too far from me. Go to one
of them occasionally, but it's not my main store. I have
a Shoprite nearby that is excellent and my main place.
If you come up with some products to compare, let
me know and I'll check them out at Wegmans.
Must be enforcement. I am [and I think derbydad is] from NY & it is
pretty clear to me that it is a violation.
see 345.4 Price per measure on p4.
(a) Price per dozen . . . . provided that the same unit of measure is
used for the same commodity in all sizes.
(b) Price per 100 square feet, . . . provided that the same unit
measure is used for the same commodity in all sizes.
(c) Price per gallon . . . provided that the same unit of measure is
used for the same commodity in all sizes.
Might be fun to ask a couple store managers about their interpretation
with a copy of the law in hand.<g>
As I said, I'll try to check out a few things tonight, so this is just
a speculative example...
I seem to recall situations like this...and this is not a verified,
true-to-life example, disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer...
Ice Cream sold in (what used to be) half gallons might be unit priced
"per oz" or "per quart".
Ice Cream sold in individual serving containers, maybe a dozen per
box, might be unit priced "per dozen" or "per 100 count".
It's still Ice Cream, but there's no way to easily compare the cost of
the 2 items without doing some math.
What's the commodity? Is it simply "Ice Cream" or is it "Individual
servings of a frozen dairy product"?
I think they might have wiggle room there. I would consider
1/2gallons and individual cups to be different 'commodities'.
2 brands, side by side, each 1/2 gallons, or each individual servings,
need to use the same unit. IMO- and IANAL.
The last one I ran across that I remember was at Samsclub. Plastic
jars of honey. One unit priced in ounces, one in pounds. Different
Another I remember was a real help-- toilet paper. One listed 'per
sheet' one listed 'per foot' [or 100 feet?]
That's a perfect example - and I'm pretty sure that was something I've
run into before.
That, and paper towels, specifically the "select a sheet size" where
you can tear off a ~1/2 sheet instead of a full sheet.
If one is priced per sheet and the other is priced by the foot, then
it takes math to determine a comparable unit pricing.
Is there wiggle room there too? "Full sized sheets" being one
commodity and "select a size" being another?
Seems like an awfully grey area to me.
If that's what you're talking about, I see that too. I thought you
talking about say a pint of ice cream, vs a quart, half gallon, etc.
when it's still all in one package. If they put it into little
servings, or make it into bars, etc then I would not be surprised
to see it called out differently. I think the main intent of the law
is to allow you to compare the same product from different
companies, ie all the individual ice cream servings should be
spec'd out using the same increments.
Great reply, Jim.... I never thought of that......
Thanks for the heads up....
BTW, I've seen this all over in things. As a retired engineer, I seem
to automatically do the math in my head , and I wax in wonderment at
why anyone would buy five gallons of beans at a higher price than
25 cans.... but, hey, lots of things don't make sense... and God works
in mysterious ways.... so I just figure out whether I need five
of beans or not..... Sometimes, the can would be a useful item to have
in the workshoop.... but, then, I have to keep the windows open for
a month.......Go figure...
So, thanks for the enlightenment..
Andy in Eureka, Texas
Eureka, where old men take Viagara so they are able to have
sex with old women....
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