Literally cheaper by the dozen

It’s that time of year when I get to feed and tend to the various needs of chickens and they give me nothing back at all, not even eggs. So now I’m paying attention to the local price of commercially-produced eggs.

So tell me: What’s wrong with these pictures?



I eat a lot of eggs, they’re a major part of my diet. I came into that store with the intention of buying three dozen eggs. I appreciate being offered a choice as to how much I want to pay for the three dozen, I guess…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to Literally cheaper by the dozen

  1. Mark Matis says:

    The ones in the second photo are for your new neighbors from the city.

  2. Ben says:

    Isn’t it nice to be able to do the math in your head? It really does pay to shop, and that’s no joke.

  3. Norman says:

    No surprise there. It’s called “Target pricing” because Target stores frequently charge a higher per-unit price on larger sizes of almost anything. My local grocery does, too – I’ve often seen the 18-pack of eggs priced at 1.8X of the dozen egg price. No clue if it’s deliberate, accidental, or the supplier(s) charge more per egg for the 18-pack, but my money’s on “deliberate” because un-mathed people brainlessly assume a bigger size of anything should be cheaper per unit than a smaller size, and as long as people are unwilling to think it through it’s an easy way to make a few more percent profit. (I’ll acknowledge that the filling process for 18 may be different and more involved than 12, the dozen containers are more common than the 18s, processing and handling cost for something that sells less may be higher, etc. but the number of times I’ve watched someone buy an 18-pack when buying 2X dozen packs and throwing 6 eggs away would still come out ahead tells me it ain’t coincidence.).

    Sometimes the per-unit price discrepancy is obvious – your example – and sometimes it’s quite subtle (Ex: $1.98 for 16 oz, $3.99 for 32 oz).

  4. Bill S. says:

    Beside the price they aren’t as fresh and organic like the ones you get from your homegrown birds.

  5. terrapod says:

    Math? The label has per unit pricing, literally no brainer if one READS things 😉

  6. gojuplyr says:

    Norman.
    The price difference likely has more to do with product turnover. The longer an item sits on the shelf the lower its profit margin. Eggs sell by the dozen faster than by 18. To make up for the difference, the 18x needs to charge more.

    The dozen price could also be a loss leader. Its designed to get people who would buy eggs by the dozen into the store in the expectation they will also buy other items in the store. Have you ever noticed that in almost every store, the dairy dept is the farthest away from the entrance? Dairy and eggs are the 2 most common sales, so placing them in the back of the store results in customers having to travel thru the store and be exposed to sales and impulse buying displays.

  7. Norman says:

    @gojuplyr – I acknowledge all that (or at least I tried to in my comment). Still doesn’t change the mathlessness (stupidity? gullibility?) of shoppers who buy 1X 18 when 2X 12 discard 6 would be cheaper. Every time I’ve pointed that out to someone buying eggs they put the 18 back and get 2X 12s. (And, somehow, I don’t think they do the “discard 6” thing when they get home….) In other news, Target still makes money, cell phones all come with a calculator app and money still fails to grow on trees.

  8. Robert says:

    The date on the dozen sticker is a year ago while the 18-er is current. I wonder if that is significant.

  9. jon spencer says:

    Walmart does the same quite often with ammo too.
    100 round box of WWB 9mm was nearly a buck more than two 50 round boxes of WWB the other day.

  10. Eric Wilner says:

    I’d noticed some time ago that a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce cost a bit more than two 8-ounce cans at the local bargain-mart. I’ve subsequently seen this to be consistent: any brand, any store, you’re better off buying two small cans than one not-quite-twice-the-size one, unless there’s a special on the larger cans.
    There is much in this world that doesn’t appear to make sense. (Really, why have the 15oz cans at all? Unless people come in with recipes that call for “one 15oz can of tomato sauce” and they can’t cope with using two 8oz cans and optionally wasting a little?)

To the stake with the heretic!