The Price is NOT Right

I used to think basic pricing strategies were common sense. For example, if there are multiple sizes of a particular product, say 100g and 200g of Haribo Happy Cola candy, you'd expect the 200g bag to cost relatively less than the 100g bag. First, companies like to reward customers who shop big, hence the slight discount for the larger product; and second, convenience costs money. A small bag is more desirable to an individual shopper, so pricing it at a premium is an infallible tactic retailers use to make an easy penny.

This was not the case at TSC Signature store in the downtown Beirut Souks, where I found myself yesterday afternoon wiling away in the candy aisle. The 100g bag of Haribo Happy Cola is priced at 1,450LL ($0.97), whereas double the size will set you back 3,150LL ($2.10). It may be a mere 16-cent mark up, but I think they meant to reverse the sign: -0.16, not +0.16. Go figure.

Another rule that almost goes without saying is that store brands are cheaper than name brands. Stores try to cash in on the profit of popular products by creating similar ones at reduced prices. And often, these imitations are nearly identical to the original in shape, composition, and appearance. Leave it to the Lebanese to break the mold, as TSC brand Cola Bottle candy rang up at 1,490LL versus the famous Haribo variety at 1,450LL. At the very least, we should thank TSC for sparing us the agony of deciding between name and savings. Clearly they too prefer competitor brands.


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