Unit Comparison

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Here’s the price of Flax Oil at our local Wegmans:

Is that too hard to read?  The bottle on the far left is 16 fluid ounces for $15.49, and the bottle next to it is 8 fluid ounces for $8.49.  As it happens, even though the bottles are different sizes it’s pretty easy to compare the prices for this particular example:  the large bottle is just under $1/ounce and the small bottle just over, so the prices are similar but the large bottle is the better deal.

In general, though, it can be difficult to compare different sizes of the same product so the store provides a unit comparison to the left of the price.  In theory this gives the price per ounce/pound/quart or whatever makes sense.     The most important part of this is that you use the same unit for the different brands/sizes — that’s what makes for the comparison.  Yet if you look at this picture [which is a little grainy, because Wegmans doesn’t like people taking photos so this was done on the sly with a cell phone] you can see that the small bottle is $33.96 per quart, while the larger bottle is only $15.49 per… pint.    Every other bottle on that shelf has the price per quart except for that bottle of Flax Oil, which happens to be the Store’s Name Brand.

What makes it worse is that when TwoPi first noticed this a couple weeks earlier, Wegmans Flax Oil was more expensive and so the large bottle was not the better deal.  That make the sneaky “per pint” price even worse, because it hid the truth.

Wegmans, we love your store but in this particular regard, you blew it.

2 Responses to “Unit Comparison”

  1. Kate Nowak Says:

    Whoa…I had noticed at times at Wegman’s that the unit price for the same items used varying units…but never such a pernicious example where the store brand was the only different one and mislead you to think it was cheaper. I’ll be on the lookout for that. Good catch.

  2. Brandon Dilbeck Says:

    I noticed this at my Safeway with toothpaste, as I wrote in my blog: http://brandonnotices.blogspot.com/2009/02/unit-price-perplexity.html.

    They had the price per ounce on some and the price per pound on others. But—here’s the crazy bit—they also had the price “per 100.” That’s it, per hundred, with no units. I had to figure out that it actually meant “per 100 ounces,” which seemed like a silly unit of measurement.

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