Hidden price increase.

I want to go on record as thanking Little Debbie for their recent price increase.  The cost of goods is going up across the board, and all companies have to transfer their increased cost to us, the consumers, if they are going to stay in business.  Many companies, however, are trying to hide it from us instead of being straight up about it.

To many are WalMarting it.  Keeping the price the same, but shanking us with less product or quality for the same price.  If you don’t believe me, look around.  For the longest time, soda in the plastic bottle was 20 ounces, but if you check you can find 17 point something and 16 ounce bottles all over.  Or get out an old peanut butter jar and compare it’s actual size with a new jar that looks at first blush to be the same, and check out the new wine-bottle-like dimple in the bottom which occupies space that used to be occupied by product.

The companies say that we want this, that we don’t want prices to go up.  They are right that we don’t like higher prices, but it’s wrong for them to use tricks to prey on our fragile mental accounting systems. (Your brain is, SURPRISE, not logical and thorough all of the time.)  They are counting on us looking at price only.  We tend not to check the weight because it’s ‘always been the same, and while we comparison shop on price per ounce fairly well, we do not remember what the price per ounce was a week ago, much less last year.  And who keeps a log of how long their t-shirts last before they get cut up for rags. So they creep the price up without us knowing, and we wonder why we are shorter on money.

I called it WalMarting before, because they have done a good job of training us up to think in the ways that allow this.  They’ve got even the best of us tending to look at prices instead of price per unit of function.  If you had tried to sell some of that crap in the 50’s, you would have been laughed out of town.  Sure, the shoes cost half as much, but they only last a third as long, if that.

By the way-Our overfull landfills are a by-product of this mentality.  If you really want to ‘go green’, the easiest way is to buy furniture that you can leave to your children instead of stuff you have to throw away in 3 years. It costs less in the long run, and it will impress the heck out of the Joneses.

The old mantra of caveat emptor is still in effect.  It’s time to pay close attention to the business of life and make smart decisions, or the current economic problems will feel even worse than they are.