It’s our general tendency to *assume* that when things are sold in bulk, they should be cheaper. Here is what we discovered about bulk prices at our local grocery shop the other day:
Some of you may remember that last Sunday I ranted about onions getting horribly expensive (see that “was $1.99” in the upper left hand corner of the image? - that’s the price we paid last last time). As anticipated, we were done with those onions in 5 days and were back to get some more, when I took the above picture.
In the current situation as depicted by the photograph, the 2 lb onion bag comes to around $2.50 per pound, whereas if you just buy loose onions on per pound basis, you will get the same onions at $1.49 per pound - that’s ridiculous. Now, 2 pounds is not really as *bulk* as one would expect, but it’s still bulk when compared to loose onions.
On last Sunday, I am pretty certain that the price per pound was slightly lower for the 2 lb bag than for the loose onions (makes sense); however, that time, we went with the loose ones because they looked and felt much better than the ones bagged together. Anyways, what makes it all the more confusing is the constant raising and lowering of prices - on one given day bulk prices will be cheaper and then suddenly, the next day they will be more than the non-bulk prices. Perhaps, retailers do it deliberately, I am not sure. Also, I noticed this with onions, but it must be happening with other commodities as well.
Bottom line: look at the prices before you jump for the bulk - bulk may not always be cheaper.
The story behind the photograph
The first time we went to the store, we didn’t carry a camera - obviously. Then, I noticed the weird onion pricing. Initially, I thought there is some mistake with the pricing, so I weighed a couple of those onion bags and they were really 2 lb bags. Before I weighed them, I suspected that perhaps they were 3 lb bags marked wrongly as 2 lb bags - although, even with that, the price per pound would have been $1.66 which is more than the loose onions at $1.49.
Once I realized that there was something genuinely stupid about the prices, I drove back home to get the camera while my wife continued with the shopping - man you can’t loose these priceless moments.
Last Sunday, there wasn’t much motivation to carry the camera in the store, so I just took a photograph of the receipt - shown below (didn’t have a scanner handy).