Monday, September 7, 2015
I’ve written before about the word “sale,” how it is one of those trigger words designed to turn people’s thinking off and get them acting right away. JC Penney nearly went out of business betting on the assumption that Americans are smarter than to fall for such an obvious ploy. Well, as Labor Day is upon us, you can count on the sales on items for picnics, grilling out and relaxing. Among these are soft drinks.
I was shopping a couple of days ago at the local grocery, and as I walked down the aisle I noticed that, not surprisingly, both Coke and Pepsi products were on sale. The puzzle though was the sale prices. You could buy a 24-pack of either for $4.99, whereas the 12-packs were all on sale at 3 for $13.
You don’t have to be a math wizard to figure this one out. A 24-pack has the same number of cans as two 12-packs. Other than the packaging, the choice then comes down to 2 for $5 or 3 for $13. That would be $2.50 each for the first two sets of 12 cans and $8 for the third one. Yikes! (How crazy it is can be determined with only addition and subtraction without even requiring division of 13 by 3, which can easily be done on most cell phones anyway.)
If your family was not big on soft drinks, you might only want 12 cans and not worry about the less than two-dollar difference. But except that they might fit better into the refrigerator packaged twelve at a time, what would motivate anyone buy two or three 12-packs at that price? It could be that this was the size they always bought and when they saw the sign for the sale the shopping cart was loaded moving along without another thought.
This kind of stuff is happening everyday right under our noses. Of course, if anyone points out the ways we are taken advantage of with these tricks and trigger words, the blame is always placed on big business and their greedy executives. Few think about the advantages of slowing down for some thoughtful consideration whenever we encounter one of these trigger words. Therein lies the problem.