Monday, November 10, 2008

A deal is a deal

Who else out there walks into a grocery store and without question buys the gigantic jar of mayonnaise, knowing well that you only need a small amount, because obviously it's a better deal?! I do. I always have. My wonderful mother taught me the beauty of a Sam's Club and a pantry at an early age. Even though I really don't like stockpiling food and such as home, I'll buy the extra-wholesale-super-big jar of pretzels to save 2 cents per every pound of pretzel, and then just eat nothing but pretzels for two weeks. Maybe that's my way of sticking it to the man.

So, I've always enjoyed watching prices of stuff, and anomalies amuse me. Take for instance, White Castle: Have you ever walked up and thought, "I really want 3 of those delectable delights with some fries and a drink... but the 'value meal' has 4 with fries and a drink. Oh well, it's a better deal. I'll take a #1 please!" Unless they've changed their menu in the last year, it's not a better deal! Add up the cost of 4 burgers, fries, and a drink, and you'll find the cost of the meal down to the penny. But we assume it's a 'value'. In their defense, White Castle calls them "Combo Meals" and not "Value Meals." Maybe genius on their part.

An example of how my patheticness helped humanity: One day in college, I was standing in the Long John Silvers line at the food court and I watched my friend Nick order a 2 chicken meal add a fish (his usual). I pointed out to him that if he would instead order a 1 chicken 1 fish meal, add a chicken, he would save 10 cents. I think if you ask him today, he will tell you I forever changed his life.

Anyhow, I've strayed. So we assume that bigger is [relatively] cheaper right? Why else would we buy the jumbo tub? Well, since I left home and moved to Tanzania, I've had to learn a whole new process of assumptions! It's not true here. My ethnocentricity wants me to believe that store managers here are missing something and have made a mistake. But I'm still not sure. Last week, we wanted some Orange Juice. Naturally, we grabbed the biggest one, a 1.5 liter jug for 3000 shillings. Then I noticed that the individual serving 250ml juices cost 450 shillings. That means we'd save 300 shillings by getting 6 little boxes instead of one big one!! A whole 23 cents (approx)! And you get lots of cool little straws! I then began to fill our cart with little boxes, but JJ removed them and tried to get more of the big ones, insisting on the convenience of having one big bottle to pour from. I kept adding the small ones until we came to a compromise to get both.

Is 23 cents worth the ease of one big bottle in the fridge? Help, save our marriage!!

[JJ the hippie wants to add in her thoughts that we are responsible to the environment and the 6 little boxes do much more damage than the 1 big one... juice for thought]

Watch the bottom line shoppers!

Swahili word for the day is hisabati which means 'mathematics'.


Nick said...

It could well be that the only bigger change in my life than realizing I could save $.10/ meal at LJS is to have pretty much stopped eating at LJS! =-P

Kevin Eby said...

Me thinks you might be making too big of a deal about deals. Is that possible?

I personally recall the time when I obsessed over Jackie spending way too much on plastic stuff at Wal*mart. In an effort to show her how much money we were burning I discovered she was closer to being right than I was.

I might have to go with Joe Joe and say that our environment is worth her investment of a few shillings.

The blog was a little long.. I thought I was reading a chapter from "Praise Habit"

David said...

For some reason I found this post very amusing (I snickered out loud in the lab while reading). Maybe it was from the memory of the large containers of condiments in the Lodge, or the great story telling you do Michael. Never-the-less I think I would side with Joe Joe on this one too.

The Westerfield Family said...

Every penny counts and well 23 pennys count 23 times! Profound?

I think I would side with the small ones. They are portable, leave no dirty dishes and they would be great for kids but I do not think that is an issue for you yet.

enjoyed the post, perfect length

Paul said...

Michael you lost your 23 cents anyway when you decided to waste electricity by writing a long blog entry, searching for a cool white castle logo on the internet, and uploading an pic of stacked orange juice. Wise, you are not.


Anonymous said...

Man, I feel your pain...Lensey has done this with bottled water, and bought filtered reuseable bottles to cut our waste, and my $10 a week water habit. The Wives are weird!

Josh and Lensey

Michael & Joe Joe said...

So many opinions, so little time!! Perhaps Nick is closest to the truth... why save 10 cents at LJS when you can stop eating at LJS altogether and save $6.49? I think perhaps I should start a life-long fast and never eat or drink again.

And I find it hard to believe that such a post was too long for an avid speed reader like Dr. Eby. But perhaps next time I'll stick to cool pictures of hundreds of Africans piled into a single truck. 1 picture=1000 words right? How's that for efficiency and wasted electricity paul?

Back to the dilemma I go.