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When I Grocery Shop

My wife prefers that I don’t, but sometimes I find true enjoyment in food shopping. I’m the guy who goes down every isle and picks up much more than what’s on the list: Raisinets, donuts, sugar laden cereals and Matchbox cars just to name a few. My kids love when I go shopping.

Because I’m a value-oriented individual, my approach to shopping might be a bit different than the normal shopper. I never look at the price tag. You read that correct- I do not look at the price tag. So right now, you must be wondering how in the world can someone be concerned with value, but never look at the price.

What I do look at almost exclusively is the “unit price”. For the uninitiated, the unit price does not reside on the price tag stuck to the bag, box or package. You can find the unit price on the shelf, to the left of the shelf price. See the image below. The unit price is in orange.

The unit price allows you to compare apples to apples- or in the image above, chick peas to garbanzo beans. It allows you to compare items of different size or manufacturer to determine the most bang for your buck. So, if you were to compare chick pea prices to find the cheapest, you would not look for the cheapest can of chick peas, you would look for the one that had the lowest unit price per pound.

However, if value was only based on unit price, the decision would be easy. The other component to value is what you are receiving for the price.

The other day I was burdened with a significant decision: Do I buy a bag of Hershey Kisses, or do I splurge for Dove Chocolate Squares. Obviously, the Hershey’s had a lower unit price, but one might feel there is a significant difference in quality. I almost broke out in a sweat. I sat there deliberating over which to buy. I thought about what I needed to feed my chocolate craving- did need to eat about 20 Kisses immediately, or did I want to savor the flavor and enjoy the mouth-feel of a Dove square?

What I found interesting was the Dove package was the same price as the package of Hershey’s. I assumed that many people would instantly buy the Dove package because they felt it was an opportunity to buy a higher quality chocolate for the same price, but never realizing they were getting less.

So here lies the conundrum. Just because you are paying more, does it always mean you are getting more? Or put another way, just because its less expensive, does that mean it’s cheap? As you can see this can be a deeply personal decision.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment or pass my blog along. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at jim@mountainpassplanning.com.