Sally (atreic) wrote,

The economics of bulk buying

Tesco's have an interesting price scheme going with their orange juice at the moment. One carton is, I believe*, 68p. However, for the budget conscious** you can buy a 6 pack***, in which one carton is 61p.

Tesco's also do a 4 pack of orange juice. One carton in the 4 pack is 54p.

Is it just me, or is this completely insane? I have internalised "if you buy lots it gets cheaper" as a Fundamental Rule of Life, and suddenly these cartons of orange juice are sitting there, mocking my lack of understanding of the world!

I was sufficiently confused I went to speak to the customer services man. He gave me a neat "we don't have anything to do with the pricing, guv" speal, and was generally disinterested in my anguish, but also made the curious comment that it "probably that the 6 packs are more expensive because they're more popular"

How odd. It's not a supply and demand thing, because Tesco's could package its orange juice in whatever n-packs it liked. There's no shortage of orange juice, at least at this level. All I can think of is that the rest of the world has also internalised "it's better to buy the biggest packs because that's cheaper" and now only check the size of the pack and not the actual price.

*OK, it's 1am, and I'm going to misremember all the numbers. But I'm not going to misremember the point, and I promise you it's true.

**That is, the people with cars to transport heavy stuff in, and really large houses to store stuff in. So, err, the people who are rich already. Vimes' boots, innit?

*** Just to clear this up, all the n-packs are n cartons, all completely and utterly identical to one carton.
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