Sensitivity and Potato Chips

These are two divergent topics, yet sensitivity and potato chips are indelibly related in my mind, in my life and in my perspective – all based on price. Price sensitivity affects a retailer or a manufacturer’s ability to gain momentum in the marketplace, leading to sales and the profit margin that they have hoped to earn. Without needing to get into the technical definition of this concept, I am sure that most can relate to this – or maybe not (if not, you’ll have to let me know.)

I am just using potato chips as an example; a scapegoat if I may call them that, but when I thought of this topic, they were the first to come to mind.

As you may recall, I used to be a buyer – a manager of the snack category. I know what the margin is on potato chips – believe it or not, it is fairly low – especially for most smaller retailers: delis, sandwich shops, pizza places and cafes, verses the big box and grocery chains who have much better buying power and leverage over the manufacturer.

As a consumer, I hesitate, and I hate, to buy a “family” sized bag of chips paying the pre-printed price. I shop at the market, the grocery and big box too often – enabling me to take advantage of 2/$5 or 2/$6 or even BOGOs available there. Plus, we feed 7 – routinely – so we need the big bag to share.

Keep this in mind and then be amazed, shocked or whatever, by the fact that I have indeed paid $4 for a 1.3oz container of Pringles┬« on a plane… NOTE: a normal lunch-sized “single serve” bag of regular chips is 1.5 and can typically be found for $0.99 each. Sure, Pringles retail at a higher price point – but still. Four bucks!

I feel like I have cheated my standards when I do it; but, stuck on a four-hour flight, I want the salt, the crunch, the savory satisfaction of processed potato powder that has been transformed into those curved, uniformly sized “potato chips”. What’s more (and worse) I don’t care if I have to pay even up to 5 smackers for that indulgent privilege. Terrible isn’t it?

Price sensitivity and potato chips will likely never be included in my blog ever again, but there I was – trapped on a flight that was bringing me home and forgive me, but I couldn’t help myself.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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