Yes, we have recently witnessed some pretty hefty price increases across many product categories. Much higher than we reported last year. One product whose price has widely fluctuated since the start of COVID-19 — toilet paper. Hence, the title of today’s discussion: A post both serious and ironic.
Pricing in Action: A Post Both Serious and Ironic
For many readers, there is nothing more serious than our current high inflation rate. As highlighted below by Statista.
Now, let’s turn to an example of hidden pricing tactics to disguise price increases.
A Toilet Paper Price Calculator
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, toilet paper was a hot commodity: You could barely find it in stock. And when you did, you bought what you could. Even if it was the industrial, single-ply kind that practically disintegrated while still on the roll. Now that the panic has subsided and store shelves again burst with velvety-soft ribbons made of clouds and babies’ bottoms, shoppers fall into three camps. Those who grab whatever seems reasonably priced. Those who buy their favorite brand (regardless of cost). And those who obsessively attempt to cut through the marketing tactics of ply, sheets per roll, and rolls per pack to discern what’s an actual deal.
Toilet paper manufacturers often use confusing terms to describe the strength and efficacy of their products. Descriptors like “jumbo,” “super,” and “mega” are hard to quantify. Some companies claim that one roll of their toilet paper is now the equivalent of four. Or that their toilet paper is stronger or capable of cleaning better than the competition.
The mental whiplash resulting from such wording particularly irked Victor Ly, a social worker from San Francisco and a hobbyist deal hunter who goes by TofuVic online. He started a spreadsheet to break down the price per sheet. And the project ballooned into the Toilet Paper Value Calculator, which allows you to input the number of rolls per package, the number of sheets per roll, and the price before it spits out a value rating.
To use the simple calculator, click the image.