Life Backed By Computers

When I got my first desktop computer back in the mid 1980’s, I thought life would be more accurate, because things like our bill at the grocery store was added up by computers. And that there would be less rip offs in general.

Looking back at it now, I think that was true for a few years, but as computer algorithms got more complex, they were turned to the consumer and then On the consumer. It seems to me that now we not only need to watch out for being ripped off by a salesperson, but also need to watch out that we are not being ripped off by a computer algorithm.

A Quick Price Doubling

I was searching for some one inch thick foam, and was on Amazon. I found some that was about $50. and thought I will be it. As I hit the buy button, it took me to another page and the price was not around $100. I could not seem to get back to where I was, and being that I wanted to order this material, I bought it at double the price.

I find out later that Amazon calls it “Dynamic Pricing”. I think it is a fancy term for rip off.

I think the open marketplace is dynamic in that, each supplier has the right to market what is legal. But most changes in the market take some time for new products and suppliers to get the consumers to see something that may be better.

Sometimes a new product is a quantum leap ahead of the old product, and it may catch on with consumers faster that a product that is just a little better than what they currently have.

Know Your Prices

Being retired allows us to spend more time shopping for groceries and other things. We shop at a few different stores, and find some price differences between stores. But you need to look for them.

An example, is plain yogurt. I had been buying it at one store, 3 units for $8.00. Then I found another store that sells for $2.50 per unit. So if I buy three for a total of $7.50, the cost is .50 cheaper than at store one.

Not a huge savings, but one that we all probably would take if we knew about it.

Milk Prices for Different Sizes

We have usually bought a 2 litre size of 2% partly skimmed milk in the waxed carton, for the last many years. At the time of writing it is priced at $4.47.

Then one day, I saw the large 4 litre plastic carton of the same milk, prices at $5.49. I had to check it again to make sure it was the correct price, and it was. What a huge difference ! And this is at the same store.

The cost per litre of the 2 litre size is $2.24 per litre.

The cost per litre of the 4 litre size is $1.38 per litre.

So the 4 litre size gives you a 61% lower cost on the milk, that if you buy the 2 litre size.

The inconvenience for us, is that the large plastic jug is hard to handle, so we pour it into a small 2 litre container to store in the fridge.

I suggest you do not use an empty 2 litre wax container, as the milk will grow mold, if now kept clean. 

Price of Convenience

For some people even pouring milk into another container to save 60%, would not be worth it, based on their time.

I have often wondered how much money do we spend for convenience in our life. It would be different for each one of us, but I’m sure all had days where it was just easier to order pizza for dinner, rather than cook. And then we just paid something for convenience.

What Price Do You Pay For Value ?

I heard the phrase that if Price was the most important thing – we would all be living in tents and riding bicycles !

I think that we all want value for our money. Ideally we would get good value for every purchase we make. But everyone idea of value is different. At least a little bit.

Here’s to you getting good value from all your purchases !