I’m sure I could analyze my childhood to determine how my modern day spending habits developed, but long story short I somehow ended up living a life where it was important to always buy the most economical option, like, say, the giant jar of marinara sauce. Sure there’s more work to store the extra sauce, but economy of scale, yay! (Is that term is relevant here?)

I’ve since decided that this isn’t always best. Big jars of marinara sauce that go bad waste money. Tiny jars that get used up are perfect, even if they do cost more per ounce.

3 thoughts on “100 words day 16 – brief thoughts after grocery shopping

  1. The term “economy of scale” is indeed relevant, but the term “false economy” is perhaps more relevant.

    Getting the most economical outcome — over-all — is always desirable, but simplistic calculations may misidentify that outcome.

    Indeed, one of the things to consider is the cost of computation. Sometimes the implicit savings of not bothering to figure-out which of two options is least expensive are greater than those savings could be. Imperfect heuristics may be more cost-effective than careful consideration.

    1. I hadn’t heard of false economy before, that definitely makes sense in this scenario.

      And as far as cost of computation I can’t help but feel that Bounty and retailers (Target, I’m looking at you and your $5 gift card when you buy 2) use that to take advantage of paper towel buyers. I imagine one would be better off picking the roll size based on word preference than taking the time to calculate which is the best deal.

      1. In cases of routine purchases, the only product that comes to mind as offering a greater computational challenge than paper towels is bathroom tissue.

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