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Sep 18, 2013 10:06 AM

Prices of food items sold by weight

Maybe it's just me but I get very annoyed by stores who post prices by quarter pound or half pound. I understand that prices for certain items are high..which might deter buyers from actually purchasing it after the sticker shock but as a consumer, it annoyes me and it's confusing especially if one store has different ways of displaying prices. For example, at some smoke fish houses, they post their prices like $14.99 and underneath it, in a tiny print, says, 1/4 lb. At a local lunch buffet, price says $7.75 and it has tiny print that says, 1/2 lb.
I wish they'd all post prices by one pound.

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  1. It's a total and obvious marketing ploy that apparently works. Posting Lox at $39.99 a pound is a real reality check.
    Ever look at the price per pound for spices at the supermarket? Some of them push $100.
    You won't see 2014 Honda Accord $30,000 either. $29,999 sounds sooooo much cheaper.
    Actually, for cars you will see the cost per month: "Only $239 per month" with the actual cost of the car in tiny print.
    The psychology of selling!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      Totally agree, and the practice (as Motosport noted) is everywhere, whether it be in drugstores where a product is 50% off (but in fine print, you must buy two), or at home improvement chains where the prices on paints by the gallon/quart are not always clear.

      1. re: Motosport

        I was recently working for a friend for a few days, at a job where we were selling games/playing time. I had this great discussion/lesson with this smart ten-year-old who asked me why three games were only $10 while one game was $5. I gave him a little lesson on marketing. Then he asked me about the opposite way (i.e., the customer bargaining), and THEN he brought up liabilility insurance.... maybe his parents are lawyers...? Anyway, it was actually kind of fun to think of ways to explain the whole pricing strategy to him.

      2. Wow, I've never had a problem with this but it sounds quite awful particularly as they are usually higher price items. The buffet for $15.50/lb better be the best darn buffet ever.

        1. Having been on both sides of this I can sympathize, but don't necessarily find an issue so long as the retailer posts tfe specific measure in an obvious way.

          I find this most often with quality cheeses that can be $30+ per pound. When we owned our wine/food shop we posted all cheese prices in 1/4 pound format for three reasons: 1) sticker shock with. pound price; 2) hardly anyone bought a full pound of this quality cheese; and 3) all our competitors did the same. Most people who enjoy high quality artisanal cheese understand that it's pricey and are aware enough of the math to not be put off. We DID have an occasional customer complain, but not about the 1/4 pound pricing ...... about the price in general. Interesting because our prices were very competitive with the few alternatives in our area.

          1. Yah, it's a marketing gimmick, trying to fool us by posting prices by the ounce or 1/4 and 1/2 pound etc. When possible, I look for the unit price.

            13 Replies
            1. re: treb

              I always shop by unit price, makes it easier although it's not listed on everything like cheese for example

              1. re: treb

                Umm....... I obviously don't agree that words like "ploy" and "gimmick" universally appropriate here. They assume a devious intent and not a simple pricing strategy. I'd agree if the unit of measure is not easily visible, but otherwise think it's kindof unfair to characterize it that way.

                1. re: Midlife

                  Isn't "pricing strategy" just a euphemism for a "gimmick" after all????

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Like so many other things, I think it depends........ To me 'gimmick' and 'ploy' imply something devious. 'Strategy' could cover both, but has a much more benign connotation in general. IMHO anyway.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Leaving aside the clearly rhetorical nature of the question, I simply submit, that when "pricing" involves a "strategy", it becomes a "gimmick". But, then again, by nature, I'd rather provide advantage than take advantage.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            A pricing strategy -- like movie matinees or happy hour prices -- is identifying a market inefficiency and taking advantage of it.

                            That's not a gimmick.

                            A gimmick is like selling a donut made with pastry dough, giving it an agglutinated name like "cronut," making it in limited quantities, and then charging a Starbucks cappuccino and a half for them.

                            That's a gimmick. But if you can pull it off, more power to you.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I'm way beyond the point of seeking power. I'd rather fight it or bestow it.

                              Moreover, "taking advantage" is a thing of the past for me.

                        2. re: MGZ

                          No, it isn't. "Gimmick" is pejorative.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              MGZ, It certainly sounds as if you've somehow developed a very cynical view of what business is about. I really doubt that you'd find any biz school profs who'd agree that strategy and gimmick are the same thing. But I guess that's just me. A gimmick can certainly be a strategy, and a strategy can be a gimmick, but a strategy is certainly not ALWAYS a gimmick.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                Exactly. A business without a strategy is probably a failing business.

                    1. Saffron, for example, is about $1000 a pound.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Motosport

                        That would be a real bargain! Your post led me to do some research. The going price for high quality saffron seems to be about $10-12/gram. At 454 grams to the pound, this adds up to ~ $4,500-5,500/pound. I'd bet if you were in the market for a pound of saffron you could probably work out a deal for $3,000 or so! I think you could make paella 3x/day for the rest of your life and still have considerable left over if you bought a pound!

                        1. re: josephnl

                          A few years back, I bought an ounce of Spanish saffron threads for $75 wholesale. At the time, I rationalized it as I would be taking it to the grave with me: Luckily I don't use it 3Xday.

                          1. re: coll

                            That was indeed a bargain. Out of curiosity, does saffron deteriorate over time as do most spices? Hmmm...another question, is saffron an herb, a spice (I don't think so), or something else?

                            1. re: josephnl

                              Not very quickly. I noticed the date on my tin says it expires in 2019. It's the pistons from a flower, that's all I know.

                              OK I looked it up, they call it a spice but not sure it's technically correct.


                              1. re: coll

                                I think that saffron is made from the stigmas (the female part)s) of the saffron crocus. It is apparently quite easy to grow.

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  I know regular crocus are (croci?) so I would think so. But me, I'm stocked up for the rest of my life!

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    easy to grow, but the dickens to pick.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      Just finished up cleaning a batch of rose hips for jam, so I know what you mean right now.