The Answer Guy Online

Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Lost In The Supermarket

Sometimes I wish I'd studied marketing in college. It's the sort of thing they didn't really have classes in at Dartmouth, because there was a feeling there that colleges like that are supposed to breed real thinkers and not just employees-in-training.

I owe most of my perceived intellect to an almost excessive curiosity, even about the most mundane things.

I usually opt for relatively "healthy" breakfast cereals. I don't normally go whole hog and eat All-Bran or anything, I just tend to prefer cereal that's not too sweet. (The usual rotation at my house consists of any 4-5 of Cheerios, Special K, Crispix, Shredded Wheat, Rice Chex, Corn Flakes, and Rice Krispies at any given time; the slightly sweeter Cinnamon Life sometimes makes an appearance.) Every so often I indulge myself and get some sugary kid cereal (generally either Froot Loops or Frosted Flakes) because I really do have a sweet tooth that's tough to ignore entirely.

So I'm going through the cereal aisle and on sale are all the sugary cereals I'm trying to avoid since I'm trying to slim down a bit with the new year.

I hate when nothing I want to buy is on sale.

Then it occurs to me that perhaps all the "healthier" options are full price this week because lots of other people are taking the same approach to the coming of the new year, and that the store thinks it may need lower prices to boost sales of the sugary stuff (there's relatively few children in the neighborhood served by this store) during this time period.

It occurred to me while pondering this notion that maybe this is the sort of thing people study when they take classes in marketing.

Oh, well, I know a lot more about the history of the Middle East than most of the general public. OK, maybe not more than this guy.


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