Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Bit of Fuzzy Math

For someone who is not a "math person" I find myself spending an awful lot of time crunching the numbers lately. But some of the consumer math around today makes me scratch my head and go "What?"

Navel oranges in the stores are selling for 50 cents each to $1.00 each. And yet a half gallon of national brand orange juice with a hechsher, not from concentrate, sold for 2 for $5.00 today. I looked at that container and then I looked at even the largest of those oranges. In no way was there the juice of only five oranges in that container. Not even the juice of 10 oranges would fill it up. So just what is going on when the ingredients cost more than the finished product?

Lemons of a fairly decent size were going for 50 cents each. Brand name lemonade with a hechsher was going for $1.00 for a half gallon. Again, there are way more than two lemons in the lemonade. There are way more than 10 lemons. It was cheaper to buy the ready made lemonade then to buy lemons and make it from scratch. (Just a note: the regular price of that lemonade is $2.99 a half gallon.) Saved $6.00 and I have no idea how or why the store sold the merchandise this way.

This is the kind of fuzzy math that is making shopping so difficult today. 2+2 does not always equal 4.


Bas~Melech said...

Get me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the fruits used in juice are not the same as the ones you can buy fresh in the store. Either they're a different variety, or not as appealing or something.

Anonymous said...

Bas is right.

There are different varieties of oranges and lemons, as with other fruit.

Also, when buying fresh fruit, people go for the good looking and unbruised, like in shidduchim, which fetch higher prices, and those with superficial or minor defects are discriminated against. When it comes to making juice, however, the 'rejects' are not rejected if they are suitable for the job.

Also, it seems that the juice is on sale and the fresh fruit is not (or the juice is so to a greater degree than the fruit).

Anonymous said...

The juice manufacturer pays wholesale prices for the unsorted fruit in bulk. You are paying retail price for fruit that has been sorted selected to remove small, bruised and blemished pieces.

Anonymous said...

Interesting analogy to shidduchim. We're so hung up on the peel that we forget that it's the fruit inside that gets eaten. Know anyone who eats orange peels or lemon peels along with the fruit? Very bitter if you've ever tried them.

Stores used to sell the juice oranges and they were just fine for eating after you took off the "ugly" peel with a bruise on it. They got smrt lately and you don't see them around as much. The fruit market had them last week but they were the same price as the eating oranges. Store owners aren't stupid.

Pathmark for the lemonade right? I was almost afraid to buy it because the price was so low. First question was What's wrong with it that they are giving us this low price?

Anonymous said...

Like the commenter said, the stores aren't stupid. They use the fuzzy math on purpose and it changes every week. They don't want customers actually being able to figure out what things cost and what is a good buy and what is not.

Ookamikun said...

I worked for a warehouse that supplies a lot of store in Brooklyn. I also shop in those stores. You have no idea by how much they rip you off.
At one time, the company got their hands on some very cheap tissues, 250 count, and were selling them for under $.40. The store decide to mark them up not by their usual standards but by sheet count. They were charging $1 each!