What I like about grocery stores now-a-days is that on most products they tell you how much it costs "per each." You know, you can look at a two liter bottle of pop and see that it costs $.02 per ounce, then you can look at the canned pop and see that it costs $.04 per ounce. Well then you know that it's a better deal to get the two liter.

It didn't always used to be this way, as you may remember, and in fact you may still find yourself doing some mental math. Like what if the two liter says it costs $.75 per liter and the pop is $.04 per ounce? Ah yes, metric conversion. Don't forget 34 ounces per liter. Yeah, I had to look it up too.

The nice thing about all this is that it makes it easier to spot "Value Pack Ripoff." That's what I'm calling it when the value pack is actually more expensive per each than the smaller size. I don't doubt many an unsuspecting shopper has been ripped off by this. Makes you wonder about shopping at Costco, eh?

I was at an unnamed grocery store the other day shopping for some cotton swabs, and comparing prices like a good shopper, when I found the perfect example of this phenomenon. For both q-tips and Johnson and Johnson, value pack was a worse deal than the regular smaller pack. Granted your got a "free" package of band-aids with a dispenser in the q-tip value pack, but it isn't really free now is it?

I'm not here to bash the cotton swab companies; I see this all over the place. I just want you to beware. So, beware of the value pack ripoff!

Still had to do some mental math on the q-tips, but it's not too hard to divide by 100.


** said...

wow. woo! too much information for a saturday. haha


El Padrino said...

Amazing....Lance reading your blog always brings me joy. I am sensing a weekly consumer report blog coming soon!

lance said...

There are three reasons I can think of as to why this happens.

1. The wholesaler charges more for the value pack, and so the retailer must too.

2. The retailer marks up the value pack more than the regular pack just to rip people off.

3. It is unintentional. The packages come out at a different time, and so the value pack is newer with a higher price per each, meanwhile the old stock of regular packs are still selling at the older, cheaper price.

ed said...

I'm gonna be an optimist and say it's reason #3. I bet 9 out of 10 consumers go for the value pack, so they probably need to restock those more often. Those smaller packs are probably pretty dusty.

Did you factor in the expense of gas and time spent when you have to replenish your supply of small-pack q-tips?? :]

I LOVE the mental image of you going through the store taking pictures of prices. Next time maybe you could conduct a random interview of a fellow q-tip shopper.

Lance, as always, thanks for the tips...q and otherwise!

lafalda said...

keep special watch, also, when looking to purchase pecans at super wal mart. (i can already hear the comments on that one...)