Tale of the Sneaky Pringles
One of my many weaknesses is a good can of greasy, pre-processed, stack-able, potato chips. On the days that I allow myself said indulgence, Walmart is the place to go.
Walmart, being the 12th largest country in the world, GDP-wise, is really good at keeping prices low. Not all the time, but generally Walmart does the job.
The brunt of this low price obsession usually falls on the vendor. The employees are getting better treatment these days, but this is retail for crying out loud; if you don't have customers nobody would be working.
Let's face it, Walmart has created a lot of wealth for everyone. Bitching and whining aside, Walmart has done a spectacular job at providing millions of choices in a clean and safe environment. Ever been to Carnita? In Mexico? Case closed.
This one example has me fascinated though. Walmart's emphasis is always on keeping the margin razor thin. Even when it means getting tough with bigger vendors.
Enter Pringles vs Lays. Essentially the same, except that Pringles has raised their prices by 50%. What used to be a buck is now a buck-fiffdy. That is an outrage! Fiffdy cent? Damn!
Anyway, during my infrequent trips to the chip aisle, I've noticed something interesting:
Trick #1, Pringles started monkeying with their price. A buck, a buck & a quarter, back to a buck, up to one fifty, and back.
Trick #2, Pringles, now a solid $1.50, and Lays, holding strong at $1.00, used to be placed side by side. That created a huge advantage for Lays. Then they began to drift apart. It's always over money, isn't it?
Trick #3, Bulk pricing. Pringles featured a 3 pack for $3.00. You were again getting the product for a buck, you just had to buy three of 'em.
The Pringles display is now ensconced in the coveted center aisle. With its own big sign. Lays still flying off the shelves in the corner.
Trick #4, The imperceptible difference. Pringles sneakily made a can that by itself looks like a regular can. The above photograph proves that the devil in the handlebar mustache is even more devious than once thought.
Results: This 14.5 oz. can is now a buck individually vs. the steadfast 15.5 oz. can, for a buck, from Lays. All this wrangling and posturing over FIFTY CENTS?!
In the end, Lays will end up raising prices as well.
That's not what this story is about. The biggest story of this century will be: How private business always ends up being the responsible ones for insane government policy.
Did Pringles or Lays scream for a bailout? How much Stimulus did they get? Where were the Union blockades demanding that the people pay $5.00 a can, just like in Europe?
The fact is that despite the catastrophic policies via our current Socialist President, his Communist cabinet, and illegal ties with some of the worst people in the world; a hopelessly corrupt Congress (Democrat & Republican alike), U.N. pressure, special interest shills, and lobbying groups; private industry is still managing to keep this economy afloat. Barely. They've lost over 1.5 million productive jobs that were converted into 1 million non-productive government positions. Unemployment has been falsely reported for the last two years as being under 10%, when in fact it is close to 20%. Let's not even start with the regulations...
The tale of the Sneaky Pringles is more about compromise, restraint, dialogue, and strict financial responsibility.
Hell, I'd trade the entire political system for Pringles vs Lays.
"I'm a Pringle-o-crat!" vs. "I'm a Lays-publican!" Can you imagine what our world would be like if our political representatives had to work for a living?
We'd be fighting over FIFTY CENTS instead of FIFTY BILLION.