On supermarket tricks and greedy, careless grownups

Funny enough, before my cheespedition to hunt some wild cheese, I happened to have read an -as usual- interesting article by Tim Harford on his March 15 Dear Economist column on the Weekend supplement of the FT: Sweet Justice. An enjoyable short read that let me apply some field work to my cheese obsession.

While I was absentmindedly making mental calculations on raises in the price of Edam cheese, I realised that the Tesco Medium Cheddar (500gr) was marked at £2.76 (£5.52/kg). Interestingly enough, Tesco Medium Cheddar (1kg) was priced at £5.78.

As Mr Harford says in his article, Tesco’s Medium Cheddar had ‘an unexpected mark-up.’ He discusses Kendrick Curtis’ concerns about seemingly random prices on Milky Way confectionery. ‘A single Milky Way costs 20p in my local corner shop. A twin pack costs 47p.’ But I guess that the same applies to my leader in weekly fat intake:

If I am right, the mark-up on [cheese] is likely to be aimed with pinpoint accuracy at greedy, careless grownups. The children will find the cheaper deal – if they want two [cheese], they can buy two [500gr]. Adults, their wallets overstuffed and the days of saving for penny chews long forgotten, will grab for a [1kg] pack and pay more.

A degree in Market Research should have helped me see it coming, but thanks to Tim Harford and my monotonous shopping list, I managed to hunt the hunter, and this time I learnt the lesson and walked away with two 500gr Medium Cheddar packs.

More and more, everyday life is turning into those green screens of The Matrix, nothing is what it seems, and in every price and every behaviour, there is a message, reason or threat to be aware of. These days, having your wits about doesn’t seem good enough.

Life is a jungle, but yesterday I managed to save 26p on cheese (a whooping 4.71% off!). A good start for trying to control my personal inflation. I will be all the wiser next time.

Until tomorrow,

.Calvin

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