This Item is on Sale Scam

I was reading a customer complaining over at Consumerist about her recent experience at Target.

She was picking up some diapers for her son when she noticed that the 54 count of Huggies Size 4 overnights were on sale for $18.99. “Nice!” She thought, until she looked on the second shelf and saw that the 64 count was sold at the same price – $18.99.

I see this all the time. All a company has to do is slap the word sale and boom, a certain segment of the population will buy it without actually comparing it to other items on the shelf.

To all of you students out there who think you’ll never use calculus or advanced algebra once you graduate, boy are you wrong.

In some cases it’s impossible to tell if you are being scammed at all. For example, which is a better deal:

a) a dozen small eggs for 1.49
b) 18 large eggs for 2.69
c) 8 jumbo eggs for 2.50

If you answered at all, you are wrong. It’s impossible to tell without knowing what the eggs weigh.

To make cheating on eggs and similar products less likely the European Union bans the selling of eggs and ­other products such as oranges and bread rolls by the unit; instead they must be sold by weight.

Until now, Britain has been exempt from EU regulations that forbid the selling of goods by number. But last week the EU voted to end Britain’s deal despite objections from UK members [Daily Mail].

In fact, grocers are not permitted to put the number of units alongside the weight. That will make it difficult for shoppers who need exactly a dozen hamburger buns but will now have to estimate how many are in the package.

I myself am in favor of the weight versus the unit count, although I do not see the problem with having the unit count alongside the weight as well. I’ve tried for years to figure out which eggs are actually cheaper. But unless you carry a gram scale into the supermarket – it is really a difficult proposition.

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