Award Winning Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The We’re Doing You a Favor Marketplace

             Countless vendors incessantly remind us how they must operate in “competitive marketplace,” with extraordinary challenges to price and availability of service.   Right now, they act like their doing us a big favor even by delivering a more expensive product, offering a substantially reduced value proposition.

            Have you noticed how many products have lower weights with decimal points?  Folgers now offers a coffee can with a massive 10.3 ounces.  P&G reduced the Crest tube from 6 ounces to 5.7 ounces.  My pet peeve: pretzel vendors reduced the standard pound bag to 14.25 ounces, and now have a vegetable fiber ingredient.  That’s code for sawdust, the use of which reduces the flour they have to include in their “artisan” product.

            How much money does a producer save when substituting high fructose corn syrup for sugar?  How much consumer rage does National Car ignore when the company does not honor a reservation, never responds to a complaint, doubles the daily rental rate, and offers no assurance that it will not ever again leave a frequent renter high and dry?

             At some point, one would think that the infallible marketplace would work through shortages and logistical headaches.  Apparently not this time.  Somehow chip fabricators just cannot get around to meeting increased demand.  U.S. port facilities never seem able to work through a backload, even with the extraordinary sacrifice of agreeing to work on weekends.

             I saw a poster in State College offering $48 an hour for carpenters.  I never earned that much as a university professor. 

             Oh that ruthlessly efficient marketplace.