29 Jan

Coke -- An inventory nightmare

So I'm crawling through the local Coborns store yesterday and guess what caught my eye? Of course you guessed it, after all, it's the title of this particular blog entry. Yes indeed, making Coke's (and grocery store managers) inventory lives a living hell -- we introduce, the Coke 20-pack!!!


Because the 24-pack was just too big to fit into your fridge, we had to come out with something that... well, still doesn't fit in your fridge. But it has a better chance now!

Marketing to the consumer: "We've made your favorite Coke container easier to carry and charged you for it." No, that's not it. Hey, since we're in a world of crappy politically-correct speak, how about "Ergonomically-correct packaging"? Nope, it's still the same look and wrist-straining feel of the 24-pack.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that it's all about sticker shock when one shops for food. Since everything costs more today (value of the dollar keeps decreasing, and corn prices keep rising), companies would rather leave prices the same and slightly shrink the package. For example (and these are only a few):

  1. Peanut Butter (check the "bubble" at the bottom of the container)
  2. Chips (slightly smaller bag)
  3. Milk (Kemps introduced the 3/4 gallon, because the gallon must have been bad for those with arthritis)
  4. Ice cream

Consumers have memorized prices of their favorite products by each package size, that companies are now forced to change the size of the packages.

Now, let's see... you're a Coke fan. Let's see how many different ways you can buy your addiction. There's the 12-pack, 20-pack, and 24-pack of 12oz cans. You can get a 20oz bottle, 6-pack of bottles, 6-pack of mini (8oz, I believe) cans, a 6-pack of cans with the irritating plastic ring holding the cans together, a 1-liter, 2-liter, and because choice just wasn't apparent at your local grocer... a 1.5 liter bottle. I'm sure there's more too, but that's beside the point. Also, it appears as though Coke has now introduced the 30-liter bottle.  

Anyway, the part that really bothers me is that grocery stores (and I'm not singling out Coborns... Cub, you're just as guilty) are charging the same price as a 24-pack used to be. Again, I understand inflation and all that, but I have a hard time justifying this kind of maneuver on something that provides nearly zero nutritional value.

So what do I do? I follow the Schoms pop-purchasing rule: If I can buy a 24-pack of cans for roughly 20 cents/can (another way of saying it... $5.00), I buy it. If not, I do without it. Sure I enjoy drinking it just like the rest of avid drinkers, but that doesn't mean I'm not price-conscious. I mean, just that you put that stupid yellow SALE sticker in front of the product doesn't mean that it's a good price. Hell, I thought those tactics were saved for places like:

  1. Kohl's (home of the "Every-Weekend-Is-A-Different-Sale" sale)
  2. Wally McCarthy's Auto Mart (where the SALE signs were up LITERALLY 100% of the time)
  3. Becker Furniture World (where normal prices are jacked up 100% and then they advertise a 40% off sale)

(mathematicians will have a good laugh at that last one)

So here are some tips I go by:

  1. Buy only with a coupon. While I don't exactly spend my time with a pair of scissors and a Sunday paper, when I do spot a decent pop coupon, I'll clip it out and purchase then, taking full-advantage of buying as much as I can. After all, pop has a shelf-life that rivals Twinkies (5,000 years).
  2. If you must pay full-price, do NOT buy a 12-pack. 12-packs ADVERTISED have been averaging nearly $4.00. You can get twice as much for roughly $2 more (regular price) by buying a 24-pack. It's like getting 6 cans free.
  3. Pop companies, for a long time, have had one of their best deals around late May/early June. Why? Easy. Graduation parties. This is nearly equivalent to "Black Friday" for them.
  4. Combine coupons. Occasionally, Coke gives coupons for "Save $1.00 on a 24-pack." Combine this with the store coupon (e.g. $4.99 for a 24-pack) to reduce the cost further.

Oh, and don't get me started with 20oz bottle pricing. The other day at the store, I heard someone mention "Cool, $1.39!" :::grinding teeth::: Keep in MIND, he was STANDING two steps from the 2-liter BOTTLES. The 2-liter bottles................... were only $1.29. :::/grinding teeth:::

I'll likely have a Gripe entry dealing with pop prices at your favorite restaurant in the very near future. In the meantime, I'll sit back and wait for the next pop sale while drinking my large cup of fair-trade Ethiopian Dark Roast coffee with a little soy milk and two natural-cane sugar packets, making sure the lid is tight.

Categories: Gripe