Sunday, July 15, 2018

How much is that doggie food in the window?



     The deal the Costcos of the world make with their customers is pretty straightforward: you buy in bulk, we give you a discount.
     So instead of selling a box of cereal for $4, it sells three boxes for $9. You save a buck a box, 25 percent. More or less. Costco makes less on each box but sells more. Everybody wins. Sure, you have to store more stuff. But heck, we've been building these McMansions for years now. We've got the room.
     That said, you still have to do the math.
     I brought Kitty by Petsmart a couple weeks back to be groomed so she'll be beautiful — or, in dogtalk, gwoomed so she'll be bootiful.
     While there, I thought I would pick up more of the Nutro soft food she eats every day for breakfast, but not dinner.
     It costs $1.59 for one package—sometimes they have have sales, and charge as little as $1, when I celebrate the occasion by buying 40, 60 packages. It isn't as if the stuff goes bad. But no sales lately. It makes more sense to buy a four-pack for $5.59. Then you're spending $1.40 a package, a 15 percent savings.

    That's usually the choice. Singles or the four pack.
    But this time, something new, the "12 Variety Pack," for $17.49. My hand automatically moved toward it. Ooo, savings!
    Then I froze.

    Wait a minute...
    My rough math skills multiplied $5.59 for a four pack by three, and I got about $16.50 for 12 packs—really $16.77— or 75 cents less than the price of $17.49. It was cheaper to buy three 4-packs than one 12-pack.

     That's strange.
     I thought it might be a labelling problem, but the Petsmart clerk told me no, they don't price products. They just put them on the shelves. 
    Moving online, I stumbled onto There I could get a Variety Pack case of 36 for $44.49, or $1.23 per package.  Even less if I sign up for automatic shipping. I never need think about this again. I assume I could have a new crate shipped out every 36 days. 
    Why am I not leaping to this offer? Maybe it isn't enough savings. Kitty likes going to Petsmart; I take her on a tour of the place before delivering her to the careful ministrations of Igor in the grooming department. If I help drive Petsmart out of business by going for rock bargain by accepting the Devil's Deal of, I won't have a fun place to take her, and I'll have to find another groomer. Plus I'll drive by the empty shell and feel culpable, in some tiny way, for rending the social and commercial fabric of American life. That's a lot to risk to knock a few pennies off the price of dog food. No, there's economical, and then there self-destructive. Let's not to confuse the two. 


  1. Bulk-buying can be an obsession that turns your home into a warehouse. Plus, you don't want Kitty to be perceived as a a whacked-out hoarder survivalist, preparing for eschaton.

  2. We would buy a gallon of milk every two weeks so - price-wise, it's the best deal going. But, it's hard for me to use a gallon of milk every two weeks, and I finally just started getting a half-gallon, or, occasionally just a quart. GASP - it's much more expensive by the ounce. But who cares? Why pay for ounces I might have to pour down the drain. And, everything fits better in our tiny refrigerator, too. Win, win, win,

    1. Try Fairlife milk -- it costs a bit more, but is specially pasteurized, with the lactose removed, and lasts far longer than ordinary milk while tasting about the same.

  3. Sometimes they lower the price on a smaller quantity packaging just because they want to clear the shelves.


  4. I was going to join Sam's Club but looked at prices and often found them to be the same as other retailers. You can buy brand-name toilet paper for the same price (on sale) as the regular price at Sam's with the added benefit that I don't have to find a place the stash 30 rolls of toiler paper in my little house. Also find that it's not always best to buy the bigger size of cereal/sugar/baking soda/whatever because the per-ounce price is often higher. If you really care/need to save wherever you can, always check the per-ounce price. It's a tricky world out there.

  5. You named your dog Kitty?


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