Monday, November 03, 2008

Pricing of "The Same Thing"

Wow, a post that's not focused on Sophia!

This post may be something that my B-school friends can help me understand....

We were in Target yesterday getting various sundries and I went to grab some toothpaste. Lately, I've been picking up this Crest toothpaste with Scope. Not because I think it cleans my teeth any better, but simply because it tastes better. In my hunt to find that specific tube, I realized that there was a really wide variation in pricing even amongst the same brand.

I'm not talking about a different "kind" of toothpaste, I'm talking about the same paste that's in a tube. There's that gel stuff which comes in a little clear plastic container which stands up on its own. But I'm talking about the basic toothpaste.

So here's what I noticed...the really basic "no name" Crest & Colgate cost much less than all the other stuff. That's not surprising since those basic types have been around forever. But what about all those variations of whitening and mouthwash/minty fresh types? I figured they'd cost a bit more than the plain jane stuff, but all basically be in the same range.

But it turns out they all cost different amounts. The Crest with Scope costs a dollar more than Crest minty whitening stuff which looks and tastes almost the same. Why is that?

A dollar isn't really all that much in the grand scheme of things, but think of it this way...the Crest with Scope costs 33% more than Crest Whitening and 100% more than the plain-jane Crest!

Looking at it that way, I realized I didn't care enough about the Scope-i-ness so I just picked up the minty whitening version and I'm perfectly happy with that. I'd rather spend that buck on fries or coffee.

So B-school peeps...please explain to me how American consumers are put into this position? I doubt most people even realize there's this huge range in pricing for something as simple as toothpaste. I have my own thoughts and it pretty much revolves about marketing, shiny/new packaging, and general failure on the consumer's part to check prices, but man, what a surprise to see this wide range.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... just wanted to let you know that the whitening over time as used may scrape away at your enamel making your teeth more sensitive. This is what I've heard. Also, we buy crest toothpaste, the best bet is at Costco and you can use their coupon too. Its a better value. :-) ~nandhini