31 January, 2006

That's not what I would call a rollback!

While in Wal-Mart a few days ago, I noticed the following sign above the white grapes:

Was: $1.97 for 1 lb
Now: $6 for 2 lb

I did a double-take. That's a rollback? When did they start hiring the mathematically illiterate to work at Wal-Mart? Okay, stupid question.

I am not making this up, honest! I think what happened is that the second sign was supposed to read, $3 for 2 lb. That would be a rollback, of course. Something, however, was lost in transmission...

My wife compares prices at different stores assiduously. (Russians understand capitalism quite well, and don't let anyone tell you differently.) She likes Harris Teeter for the atmosphere, and even more for certain quality items like bread, and some bizarre olive mash that I can't pronounce. Harris Teeter also sells Sharon Fruit, which she loves.

She often chooses to shop at Wal-Mart because of the prices. However, lately she's done a lot of this: while perusing the aisles at Wal-Mart a day or two after we've shopped at Harris Teeter, she will comment proudly that something cost more at Wal-Mart than at Harris Teeter.

This happens more often than you might think! Wal-Mart's "Low, low prices" are not always the best deal on certain items — and sometimes they're amazingly worse.

Witness the, ah, "rollback" above. :-)

1 comment:

Alessandra said...

I wonder how many people bought it exactly because they didn't do the math, thinking they were saving some money!! I remember seeing an experiment like this done somewhere and it showed a lot more people than you think do not do any math whatsoever and just grab happily whatever has a SALE sign on it.