Iniard Watch

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Dannon Yogurt - shame on you.

Last year, Dannon yogurt joined the ranks of many companies that decided to start gouging consumers through drastic price hikes in order to boost company profits. They do not do it through raising prices, they do it through reducing packaging sizes.

They came out with a new yogurt cup that has extra room built into the container for you to add fruit, granola, or whatever you want! They went out of their way to design a new package just for your benefit. What they did, is they took a 8 oz yogurt cup with retail price of 79 cents, and switched it out with a 6 oz yogurt cup that costs the same. By doing this, they increased the price per ounce of yogurt by 33%, and then had the nerve to act they did it because their customers wanted more room in the cup for toppings.

If you compare the actual cup, there is now a false bottom, and there is a little bit more of an angle on the side of the container. Both of these do nothing more than create the illusion that you are getting about the same amount of yogurt as before.

If they really wanted to do people a favor by leaving room in the cup for customized toppings, then they could have put less yogurt in the old style cup and charged less for it.

Many people probably don’t even realize stuff like this, which is why I feel the need to point it out. I still buy it when it is on sale, which seems to be more frequently now that they get a pretty good profit margin, but it chaps my ass every time I think about it. Just about any time a company changes it’s packaging, pay close attention to how the price per unit ounce is affected.

By the way, if you call Dannon to complain about it, they claim that they do not dictate what the grocery stores charge, and that some grocers have lowered the price. (then they will give a couple of coupons.)

Parties for the ladies…

I have no problem with the ladies getting together on their own to have a get together for no apparent reason. I do however, have some problems with the companies that market through in home party demonstrations. As we speak, my wife is hosting a party for stampin up. She was a guest at a party a couple of weeks ago, and agreed to having a party at our house today.

The whole business model for these companies is very similar to a pyramid scheme type company like Amway. You find people that want to have a party, they get all their friends together, and they get discount and free merchandise depending on how much crap their friends buy. If you get someone else to have a party you get even more free stuff.

The reason why it is successful is because everyone who comes to your party feels obligated to buy at least something. The hosts spend a lot of money usually on stuff for themselves so that they get to the next bonus level of discounts and freebies. The host also usually spends a bit of money on food and drinks. In the end, everybody spends a lot of money as a result of the party.

I have no problem with spending money on a get together with friends. But, if you do not have to pad the profits of these in home marketing companies in order to have a party. If you want to have a part, just have a party. More people will come and enjoy themselves if they do not have to feel obligated to buy crap they really don’t want. If you wanted to have a hobby/craft party, have everyone bring their own stuff to share, and everyone can learn something new, make a new craft, without breaking the bank. As a host, you may not get anything free, but is it really free if consider that for hosting a party you get a $75 value gift (which you could get on ebay for $20) and you spend $50 on food in addition to whatever marked up merchandise you buy?
If you want to have party, but feel like you need to waste some money to do it, just send me a check!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

NO MORE LATE FEES!!!

I am sure that you all have seen the new advertising campaign from Blockbuster video claiming the end of late fees. No more late fees, wow. No wonder all the people in the ads are dancing in the streets and worshiping their local blockbuster video store. Personally I try to buy DVD's of the movies I want to watch, because when I do rent them, I end up paying late fees that would amount to almost what a DVD cost anyway. Anyway, curious got the best of me so I thought I would read the fine print on the "NO MORE LATE FEES" claim, which by the way, was very difficult to even find the fine print published anywhere.

The truth is that you can turn the movies in a few days late and not pay a late fee. If however, you are a week late in turning the movies back in, they conveniently charge your credit card the full retail price of the movie. You can still bring the movie back within 30 days, and they will refund the credit card less a $1.75 per movie restocking fee. (Note: it is not a "late" fee, it is a "restocking" fee. I guess it costs them more to put a late video back on the shelf than it does normally, and they are simply passing those extra costs on to the consumer?)
I do not see the glory in their policy and bet that they will not be losing any money with the new "no more late fees" procedures. They are banking on the fact that half the people that get charged the price of the movie will not try to get a refund, and that they will also be making a fair amount off of restocking fees. They are using clever marketing to try to make people think that the world has changed and is much better now.

What this really illustrates, is how companies like Netflix are really putting pressure on the brick and mortar rental places, and now block buster is getting desperate. I give it a few more years until there really are no more late fees from blockbuster because they will be out of business.

Down with Echeck!!

Yippee, it is truly exciting times as the Director of the Ohio EPA has recommended that the Echeck vehicle emmission program be discontinued after this year. Reserve your celebrations, however, because the State General Assembly needs to vote on his recommendation before it is official.
The Echeck program has been a waste of time and money since it started. The iniard politicians in Columbus decided that it was a good idea for the rest of the state to have to do this testing. (There has never been a requirement to do Echeck in Columbus). Last year, they decided that any car with the check engine light on would automatically fail the test. They must have financial interests in the Chrysler Service centers! My chysler has passed the emmissions test with flying colors years ago when the check engine light was on. Last year, I had to spend hundreds of dollars to get the check engine light problem fixed so I could "pass" the test. The problem I fixed had nothing to do with emmissions, and did not help the air quality at all.
I am glad to see it will be done away with, but I do have one question left... if it has already been decided that the test is no longer needed, why wait until the end of the year. They claim the state has a contract with the testing company, but even still, why make people do the test. Have the people who are supposed to be tested this year just pay the testing fee, without having to get the car tested. Although still a waste of money, it would not be a waste of time and would not make people waste hard earned money on needless repairs.

Monday, February 21, 2005

$35 a week computer

I am surprised this is even legal... Have you seen the late night commercials advertising the computer system that anyone can qualify for credit to get? They show a variety of clean cut people representing every ethnic background saying “I got mine!” with a real excited look on their face. For $35 a week for 12 months, you can get yours too! If you can’t afford a computer, don’t worry, we will give you the credit you deserve. What kind of an iniard would pay $1820 for a computer system? What kind of a company would think that people that could otherwise not afford a $399 dell computer, would be able to over the next 12 months pay $1820 for a computer system? Even the shopping channels that try to sell the $1500 computer systems at least give you a camera and other stuff. These $35 a week people sink to an even lower level.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Less Sugar, More Hype

I am at the grocery store and I see all of the general mills cereals now have WHOLE GRAIN plastered across the front of the box. Wow, are they making them more healthy now? Does General Mills have genuine concern about the nutritional health of my children? Also, I see all of the new "REDUCED SUGAR - 75% LESS ADDED SUGAR". Wow, they are making the cereal with whole grain now and using less sugar.

The fact is, they have always been made with overprocessed whole grains, and their marketing department thought they could create the illusion that they are suddenly more "good for you" than they used to be. No different, just hype. And for the reduced sugar cereal, if there is 75% less sugar added, shouldn't there be fewer calories for the same serving size? Let's see... the calories are the same, the total carbs are the same, and the sugars are about the same. What? How could this be, with 75% less sugar? Well, they take the sugar out and substitute it with corn syrup solids. What are corn syrup solids? Corn syrup solids are sugars. They are not quite as sweet as sugar, but they are sugars. To make up for the sweetness, they put in some artificial sweetener, which may have it's own set of concerns. If you take out the sugar, and replace it with any of the -oses (fructose, glucose, sucrose, dextrose) or syrups, you are only changing what you call your sugars. Nutritionally, the reduced sugar cereals are not any better for your kids than the regular version.

The Iniards at General Mills are really blowing smoke out of their ass trying to capitalize on the new wave of people trying to be "a little less unhealthy" than before.

Monday, February 14, 2005

here we go....

o.k., so now I am signed up with my own blog site. Now I can dedicate myself to making infrequent and random comments about my infrequent and random thoughts. More to come...