Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Buying catsup hurts my brain: a plea for standardized shelf tags

I should buy stock in Heinz because of the sheer amount of catsup that we buy each year.  With two kids who think it is a vegetable that must be served at every meal (even if we eat filet mignon for dinner), we go through a lot.  That and my son is in love with catsup sandwiches with nothing but catsup on the bread.

So, I find myself buying catsup frequently and being a frugalista, I know that the best deal is by unit price.  I review my catsup choices in various sizes and find my head spinning.  Some shelf tags list product price by the pound and some by the ounce.  I literally need a calculator to do the math to find out which is the best deal.

Why aren't grocery tags standardized?  I think it is meant to confuse consumers in all honesty.  Why else would two of the six choices for a specific brand be listed as by the pound versus by the ounce for everything else on the shelf?  If they can't decide whether or not a unit is a pound or ounce, then list both.  While I'm capable of multiplying 6.7 cents per ounce by 16 to figure out what the unit price per pound is to compare it to another choice, I really shouldn't have to.  You don't pull into a gas station needing to go from pump to pump trying to convert gallon prices to liters to find the best deal.  Everything should be standard --- and I'd love to see a grocery store step up to the plate and standardize all of their shelf tags.  It would come across as an honest attempt to making shopping a less taxing experience and make me want to shop there.

What do you think?  Do the shelf tags drive you nuts?  Do you have an app for that on your phone so you aren't standing in the aisle doing mental math to find the best deal?  Please share!  I want to know I'm not alone.
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