Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I know the sales, advertising, and manufacturing industry does all kinds of things to empty our wallets. It’s a constant vigil to keep ahead of the tricks of the trade that are not always visible on the surface. The food industry is always coming up with something new to slip in on us that gives them an extra profit. Tricks like the dimples in the bottom of jars or the same size box with half the stuff inside. A few weeks ago I noticed a roast straight from the package had been cut on the bottom side. Why was this done?
It was done like that to make the roast appear larger that it actually was. That’s a “fool the eye” trick for meat. It works just like boxes of cereal that are only half full. Your eye sees a big box and doesn’t notice the actual weight. The weight is often very tiny type on the box.
In that photo above notice the size of the roast next to the ruler? Now look at it again. This is the actual size of the roast.
And the actual cost? It would have been $12,08 but I got it from the discount bin for $6.90. Or is it?
Was the actual price really $12.08? Could this be a trick to make us believe we are getting really good bargains? What if what we think is a bargain is really the normal price? Let me explain my thinking and why.
A very long time ago I worked in a big box store. A couple times a year the store would advertise they were closing the doors to work over night to “reduce the price of everything in the store.” Yes, we did work all night but what we really did was put new “sucker” stickers on the merchandise. I didn’t call them that, the boss did. In those days we didn’t have scanners. Everything had a sticker on it and the cashier had to push numbers on the cash register. Everything had to have a price sticker stuck on it or the cashier would have to call for “a price check”. Bosses didn’t like price checks.
Anyway, the stickers we worked to put on stuff all night had really inflated prices and then an added markdown sticker that brought it down to the normal everyday price. If the boss wanted to rid the store of an item he made the discount seem like a much greater bargain. He really inflated the price then marked it to the normal price with a bigger difference. The next day, when the doors were opened, hoards of people came into the store to grab the bargains. I felt sorry for those who were tricked into believing they got great bargains. I didn’t work there long because I hated fooling people. Well, it didn’t take long for word to get around about their sales tactics. The store went out of business quickly after that.
A few days ago, November 1, I needed some canning jar lids. I really didn’t want to go to the grocery but I sure did need those lids. All government checks of every kind had come out and also many people had gotten their food stamps. It was Friday so people had gotten paychecks too. It was the first of the month so those who get paid twice a month would have gotten paychecks. Just about everyone had money and were spending it. Needless to say, the grocery store was a mad house of activity with people filling up carts with Thanksgiving foods and Halloween markdowns. I was in the store around six thirty in the evening. I happen to notice all over the store there were lots and lots of marked down stickers on stuff. Not just foods.
There were mark downs on meat, dairy, produce, bakery, candy, etc. Everywhere I look there were mark down stickers. This is AFTER a whole day with hoards of people have been shopping. How can that be? How could there be so many bargains at that time of day and with so many shelves half empty already? Something is not right. I noticed several store workers walking around with those gadgets that spit out discount price stickers. No sooner did the items with red stickers get picked up by shoppers the guys put more stickers on items.
Well that has me really curious! Are the bargains I believed I was getting over the last few years really bargains or just a marketing ploy? Have I been duped? Have we all? Further research is needed before I can say for sure. How about you? Have you found any previously unknown (hidden from sight) short sizing or marketing schemes?