Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some Things Are Still Cheap

Once in a while at work I am taken aback at how cheap some things are. I find myself on occasion wondering how a certain item could be made in China, shipped over here, marked up, then marked up by me and still cost what is a relative pittance.

I have always been amazed at how cheaply you could eat if you needed to. I am not talking about USDA prime cuts here. If you were down and totally out and needed to resort to cheap food just to sustain, you can get by on just a few bucks a day. Mac and cheese is .59. A loaf of bread is still under a buck. Fruit and veggies are still relatively cheap compared to other foods.

Back about 15 years ago I attended a seminar put on by Honeywell. The presenter arrived with several loaves of bread and brought the receipt from the store for them. This initiated a discussion of the whys and hows of choice, and marketing. Some people want more expensive bread because of the ingredients, some want a healthier fortified bread for the nutrition, and some people just want the cheapest thing they can find, any quality perceptions or realities be damned. I don't remember what the point of the seminar was, but I always remembered the bread demo. I recently ran into this gentleman at a convention and he was happy that I recalled him as "the bread guy".

Shaving is one of those things that I hate to do. It takes valuable time out of my day, and I still get cut on occasion. I have been shaving for approximately 20 years now, every day for six days a week. Sometimes I must shave twice a day if the wife and I are going out to a formal gathering late at night since I now have a pretty decent 5 o'clock shadow. That means that I have shaved my face a staggering 6,240 times as of now (approximately). About 15 years ago I declared Sundays as "universal shaving amnesty day", at least in my house. Hey, I am just following instructions. It is in the Bible, you know:

Genesis 1:31: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 1:32: And God was most pleased with what he hath made, and declared the seventh day to be without shaving. And the angels on high did sing and rejoice: "Hallelujah, we rejoice in the celebration of shaving amnesty day". And God did then create the holiest sport of American football which didst occupy all of man for most weekends between the holy months of August and January. And the angels did celebrate once again.

Since I have been shaving my face for so long (I don't know how women can stand shaving their legs, btw) I have had the opportunity to try just about every product on the market ever made to help a guy get through his morning misery of shaving. I have settled upon the traditional shaving cream and razor. At Walgreens the other day I was blown away by this:

I decided to try a can, just to see the quality of the stuff. This is great shaving cream, somewhat similar to my usual shaving cream of choice, Barbasol. It is very foamy, which I like. There is a LOT of shaving cream here, enough for several months of shaving. I went back a day later and bought six cans (only $1 each!) and have enough for several years of shaving now. I could see that others didn't have the same opinion of the stuff, because the more expensive shaving creams seemed to be picked over more (remember the bread demo?) than this brand on the bottom shelf.

I guess getting back to the main theme of this rambling post, I can't believe that a manufacturer in Canada can make this stuff, ship it to a Walgreens distribution center somewhere, then they can send it to Madison, stock it, charge me one thin dollar, and still make money. I suppose it could be a loss leader, but I can think of lots of products that would be better than this one for a loss leader.

Cross posted at ChicagoBoyz.

11 comments:

Annie said...

With the money you saved, now you can afford one of these bad boys:
http://www.amazon.com/Conair-HGL1-Combination-Lather-Machine/dp/B000BD4T94/ref=tag_tdp_sv_edpp_i

Dan from Madison said...

Looks good, but by the time I use up all of this shaving cream it will be 2010 and I will have long forgotten about your comment.

Annie said...

Dan, Dan, Dan...

*shakes head in pity*

Listen, Los Pantalones Caliente...
You put the can *in* the machine and it heats up the foam that comes out.

*sigh*

Dan from Madison said...

Damn I am a dunce at times...

Snakeye said...

ha! Now at least I know I have bread and shaving as a backup for tight situations... BTW, what about the old college big-hitter: Ramen noodles?

Annie said...

Still 19 cents a pack around here. If you're elitist and you want them in the cup dealie, then it's 27 cents.:p

Dan from Madison said...

Damn .09 for the cup are they crazy?

I just looked at my instant oatmeal that I eat every morning in the handy packet - .17 per packet! Good deal.

Dan from Madison said...

Whoops I meant .08 for the cup.

Annie said...

Instant? Real oatmeal takes 3 or 4 minutes to make. You don't have that kind of time? I think you're taking too long shaving. :p

Gerry from Valpo said...

When it comes to cheap, do not forget pork, the other white meat.

My summer BBQ's depend on it.

It costs more to buy fuel to go buy pork than it does to buy the pork.

Life is still good.

Dan from Madison said...

Yea these oatmeal packets are the best thing ever - dump the stuff in a bowl, add water, nuke for 2 minutes, consume. As an added bonus they pass my wife's commie health food test.

I hear you on the pork Gerry.