The last time I bought a gallon of mineral spirits (about 18 months ago,
I believe) it cost $2.50. That was very high I thought at the time.
Yesterday in Lowe's, I noticed the cheapest brand was selling for $8.00!
Is there any reason for this other than plain greed and price gouging?
Paul in San Francisco
There may be a bit of gouging, but that 70% applies to the cost of
everything involved in making and transporting the mineral sprits also. Add
fuel surcharges, heat, lighting, year end bonus for the CEO of Lowes, it all
Have you price other materials? Take a look at the cost of copper tubing
and steel pipe. I'm paying $48 a foot for 12" pipe right now, 4" is about
I deal with shipping grocery products as part of my job. Cases of liquids
like cooking oil can't be stacked as high in the truck as stuff like cereal
or paper towels, to use two examples at the other extreme. So,
across-the-board shipping cost increases have a greater affect on products
that don't occupy the space in the trailer to its fullest capacity.
It's simple math, really. If freight from point A to point B costs $1000.00
and you have 1000 cases on the truck, freight per case is a buck. Halve the
number of cases, and now the freight is two bucks per case. Obviously, this
doesn't explain the huge price jump that Paul mentioned. But, it explains
some of it. Fuel costs also impact the delivery of raw materials to the
manufacturer, as well as Home Despot's cost to bring product from warehouse
The selling price of a product is essentially unrelated to the cost of the
product. All selling prices are set by the free market system, by the law of
supply and demand, by what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
You paid $ 8 because that is the best price you can get anywhere. You cannot
buy it cheaper.
If you have a garage sale, do you base your selling prices on your cost, or
on what you think a buyer may pay for it?
True, unless plain greed, price gouging or illegal price fixing enter
into the picture. I plan to follow JoeSpareBedroom's suggestion and see
what spin the manufacturer tries to make me believe.
Paul in San Francisco
I agree with you 99%, except that the government can impose price
fixing, and institute monopoly powers, like in the case of the USPS.
Of course, technically it's not illegal since it's got the
government's stamp of approval.
It is not sane to believe a national chain - Lowes or Home Depot - would
"gouge" or collude to fix prices on a gallon of paint thinner! Millions of
dollars in fines, legal expenses, depositions, and possible jail terms would
simply not be worth the profit.
Greed, on the other hand, is good.
I think that is true only in the short term. If paint thinner could
be sold for $4.00 a gallon at a reasonable profit and the law of
supply and demand made it sell for $8.00 a gallon, new companies
would start making it and the companies that already make it would
make more because they could make big profits on it. Soon the
supply would increase until the price was around $4.00 a gallon.
If the makers of paint thinner were losing money on each gallon of
paint thinner, they would decrease production or stop making it
altogether until the price came up to where they could make a
I don't understand why they make gourmet cat foods. I have
known many cats in my life and none of them were gourmets.
They were all gourmands!
First off, define "reasonable profit".
How is what you're saying any different from Walter? As he stated,
the price is determined by supply and demand. If the supply increases
in your example without any more demand, the price will go down, as
you noted. None of that has anything to do with the cost to make the
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