Humorous Consumerism Today

I come across hilarious consumer behavior every day. Once in a while I like to drop a quick post showing off some of this ridiculousness. Like this previous post, and this post today.

Irrational Pizza Delivery Guy

photo (9)A couple months ago we were driving to a Strawberry Festival when I pulled up behind this Papa Johns pizza delivery guy. Several dudes I know delivered pizzas for years–it’s a decent job and can easily accompany other full time employment or schooling. But, one thing is certain: it is going to be really hard to make decent money delivering pizzas when those pizzas are being protected by 2.5 tons of Detroit steel (plus the weight of the pizzas) and maybe getting 11 mpg in the city.

Something tells me that this Yukon is precisely the cause of this gentleman’s need to be delivering pizzas in the first place.

Corn Cob Crazy

I was walking through the grocery store and had the sudden urge to grill some corn. So, I picked up the first pack of corn I saw. When my wife saw it, she asked how much it was. I assumed it was just normal corn prices–which is normally something between “free” and “dirt cheap.”

So, you can imagine my surprise when I went back to verify and I saw this:

photo (8)

Yah, a cool $1.20-a-cob. I was even more embarassed when I noticed the real corn right next to it:

photo (7)

They almost got me. Yep, almost got me to pay 5-times the cost just for the privilege of not having to husk the stuff myself. Except for those making a gross oversight, who on earth is buying the styrofoam and plastic pre-husked version? Some idiot, no doubt.

Save $10 A Day. And Not A Penny More.

I still find myself clicking on various “money” lists on the internet. You’ve seen them. 10 Ways to Save Money Today. Or, 6 Items To Buy at The Dollar Store. Or, 91 Ways To Pay 10% Less For Things You 100% Don’t Need.

Yah, you’ve all seen that nonsense. Well, today I clicked on a list on MSN that read, Save $10-a-day, or $3,650 a year!

I bit, and this was the first item…

photo (9)

Really? So, if you want to save a bunch of money, buy two lunches at the restaurant by the office and save one for dinner. This reminds me of Uncle Buck’s way to quit smoking:

Buck: Hey, I stopped smoking cigarettes.

Cindy Russell: Oh, good.

Buck: Isn’t that something? I’m on to cigars now. I’m on to a five-year plan. I eliminated cigarettes, then I go to cigars, then I go to pipes, then I go to chewing tobacco, then I’m on to that nicotine gum.

I mean, isn’t this a list designed to get people to spend less? If somebody is willing enough to click on the list and show a desire to save some money, why are we slow-rollin’ them this ridiculous half-step of buying take-out at lunch and reheating it at dinner? I mean, why not just say, “Cook Dinner at Home.” Or, if you want to get really crazy, “Cook dinner at home and bring leftovers for lunch the next day.” Gasp! Surely that couldn’t be a reasonable recommendation.

This Is A Small?

I tend to think fast food gets a pretty bad rap in this country. It’s a cheap, convenient, predictable, and relatively good meal on-the-go. In moderation, I don’t really see a problem with it. What’s more, by using gift cards or coupons, prices are almost on par with home cooking. Yah, it’s not an every day thing, but once a week or less? Not a big deal.

Anyway, one day last week I had to work late. I knew we needed to do some grocery shopping and the pantry was a tad bare, so I went into “good husband” mode and decided to finally use this Burger King survey receipt thing I had stuffed in the center console. (To redeem myself to my readers, I completed the online survey while I was jumpstarting a stranded motorist at the gas station).

Anyway, I had to pay for a small fry and small drink to get a free Whopper. Because my wife loves them, I also got some chicken fries (here for a limited time…)

I figured…small fry, small drink, chicken fry…must be about $5—tops. You can imagine my shock when the cashier said, “alright homie, that’ll be $7.07.” I had him read it back to me, sure enough he was right. That’s Janet Yellen inflation for ya.

But, that’s not what I’m most worried about. My biggest worry was when he handed me the soda…

photo (10)Yes, this is a small. A 21 oz. SMALL drink.

My wife and I both worked at McDonalds as teenagers, and today we rarely, if ever, order a drink when we get fast food. So, this was rather alarming. When we worked at McDonalds, there were three drink sizes.

Small (Kid’s Size) – 12 oz.
Medium – 16 oz.
Large – 21 oz.

So here I am thinking prices have gone up a lot, when the only thing inflating faster than the prices is the sizes. Twenty-one ounces of sugary beverage is now what a parent gets for the youngster in the backseat to keep them pacified for the trip home from soccer practice.

I’m generally against sin regulation and nanny-state government schemes. So, when Michael Bloomberg tried to limit sugary drinks in NYC to no more than 16 ounces a couple years ago, I was first to cry out “What is this, 1984?” However, after seeing this first hand, I’d at least like a little corporate social responsibility to take over. When I order small, I expect something that is small enough to sneak into the movie theater.

This…yah….this is just ridiculous.

Thanks for reading Retire29.

Oh, and if you’d rather just get these ~2/week posts directly to your e-mail address, drop it right here. I wouldn’t even know how to spam you if I tried, and I’d never sell your e-mail address; your smiles are payment enough

Much Love,



  1. The corn example shows how much people value doing the least amount of work possible because you know people are buying the corn pre-husked, otherwise there wouldn’t be any available. I also love how all of these “save money” type articles normally require spending money anyways. They never go with the items that don’t require you to consume. It is unfortunately very telling of the world we currently live in where consumption drives everything that if we aren’t consuming everyone (including the gov’t) thinks something is wrong.
    Thias @It Pays Dividends recently posted…The Weekly Dividend Payout #1- Signs You Are Financially StableMy Profile

  2. Doing most of the groceries shopping for the household, I fully understand what you mean with the corn. There are numerous examples in how they try to trick you into buying expensive stuff.
    Over the years, I have developed an opposite eye – I try to spot the good deals. There are regularly promos like buy 2 and get 1 free., buy 2 and get 25pct discount. If this is for an item that keeps long time (like toothpaste, cleaning product, sodas,…) I then do not hesitate and buy more than we need for the month.
    It will not get us rich, but it keeps me sharp when shopping.
    Amber Tree recently posted…Automated saving for the mid term expensesMy Profile

    • Amber Tree,
      Thanks for commenting and for being a devoted reader! I totally get you on the “Sharp Shopping” mentality. My wife is a lot better than me in that regard. She can somehow find expiration dates, and cost-per-ounce much faster than I can, and she knows which items are cheapest at which stores.

      My brain just doesn’t have that function, I guess.

      Retire29 recently posted…My Retirement Roadmap: First Mile MarkerMy Profile

  3. It always surprises me so much when I’m at the grocery store and see things like the corn you saw. For instance a tiny thing of mash potatoes that you can put in the microwave if you get them on sale its going to cost you around 3 dollars and it feeds maybe 3 people. Or I can go buy a 5 pound bag of potatoes and make my own mash potatoes that taste better and took me about 10 minutes longer to make and I have enough to feed around 20 people. We have truly become a lazy people and those of us trying to save money well we are definitely in the minority.

    • Accepting just minor inconveniences can be extremely lucrative. Human nature is to always look for the least resistant path, so when we see a convenience, and because we are so detached from the value of our money, we value the convenience much more highly than we value the money needed for that convenience.

      Obviously, some of these things are good (washing machines, calculators, milk, lol), but as a society we’ve gone overboard in a lot of these.

      Retire29 recently posted…My Retirement Roadmap: First Mile MarkerMy Profile

  4. These are all hilarious but with an aftertaste of sad when you realize this is normal for a lot of people. What are we doing:

    to our wallets (“Right, you’ll never believe it, Ann! I’m saving so much money every day! I do have to reheat cold food though. Actually, I think I’m going to order a fresh dinner tomorrow. I deserve it. I’ve been so good for two whole days!”)

    to our kids (“Drink your small soda honey, no you can’t have a medium. Fine, quit whining, I’ll get you a large. You deserve it. You did such a good job standing out on the field today.”)

    to our earth (“I don’t want to toss the husks, I’d much rather toss this Styrofoam and plastic. It’s so much extra work to get those husks off. I deserve some shortcuts at the end of the day.”)

    to our environment (*deep rumble, zoom to the next light, brake hard and wait impatiently because you need to get the pizza there before it’s cold* “Aww man, a funeral procession! I don’t deserve this. Can’t they see my car? I’m big enough to see everything so I deserve to go first!”)

    This is the world we live in. *Hangs head in shame.* We’re soon going to get what we deserve.

    • Absolutely agree Mrs. WW. The more steps we create being creation and consumption, the more waste we create. One of the crazier elements to the corn thing was that not thirty feet away from the corn were bags of corn husks on sale. So, if I get this right, I can buy cheap corn and keep the husks, for whatever reason, for free. Or…I can buy expensive corn and then buy the husks separately…

      Tough choice

      Thanks for commenting!

      Retire29 recently posted…Analyze any Stock in 12 Minutes or LessMy Profile

  5. This shows how much pricing and marketing can have an effect on consumer behaviors. This is part science and part art for the retail industry to price in ways that confuse those that don’t do the math. Buy 3 for $5 or $1.75 each. An 8 once package for $3.50 or 1 lb for $6.

    The key is to break pricing down into the lowest unit of measure, i.e. ounces, each, per unit, etc. Then do a comparison between similar items to see which truly costs less. We leverage the loss leaders our three grocery stores offer each week in our area to load up on the lowest cost items.

    As a result, we tend to eat what is on sale. 🙂
    Bryan@Just One More Year recently posted…Should you rent or buy your home?My Profile

    • And, for the marketer, to break pricing down into less easily-calculable factors. I’m starting to see a lot of odd-numbered ounces and container sizes. Could it be that manufacturers understand that people like to price compare, so they so, “hey, let’s make this container like 11.9 ounces, so nobody can run the math in their head?”

      Maybe not, but I wouldn’t put it past them. These are smart folks that make us Proctor & Gamble shareholders a lot of money.

      Retire29 recently posted…June 2015 Financial ReportsMy Profile

  6. Any time a step is saved, the price goes up! Even when veggies are grouped together it is sometime more expensive than just putting them in a bag yourself. I don’t always understand it and probably look crazy when in that part of the grocery store.

    Companies are big into the incremental margin these days. Airlines are the worst about it and probably the most obvious. Even at the movie theater, the “upgrade to a large for $.25 more” line is probably $.23 extra profit for them as a few more ounces of syrup for the coke only costs pennies.
    Vawt recently posted…Obsessing Over Travel Reward PointsMy Profile

    • The corn example is just a microcosm of the whole “convenience” movement. Eventually the average American won’t have to move, from morning until night.

      You should see some of the office chairs around my work. Headrests, wrist rests, foot stools, back supports, ergonomic cushioning. They look like high-end wheelchairs for Stephen Hawking, but they’re actually just for people who want to sit down at work and barely move the whole day.
      Retire29 recently posted…Humorous Consumerism TodayMy Profile

  7. Eric,

    The world’s a crazy and funny place. Many people across the world are starving and yet some of us can’t be bothered to husk corn.

    Delivering pizza in a Yukon? I wonder if that guy is even breaking even. It’s a shame that people don’t value their time a bit higher, because that’s mostly just a waste.


    Thanks for sharing.

    Dividend Mantra recently posted…Five Reasons Why Florida Might Be The Best State To Seek Out And Achieve Early RetirementMy Profile

    • Jason,
      Wow! I’m honored to see you here. Thanks for commenting on my post. I feel like I just met Brad Pitt.

      The Yukon dude is almost certainly not breaking even. Let’s assume each mile he drives is costing him $1.25 in gas, depreciation, insurance (don’t you need to tell your insurance company if you are using the car for business), and maintenance. If the delivery area is a 5 mile radius, call the average delivery ~ 6 miles. So, each delivery is costing him $7.50. The delivery fee is about $1.5. You might get a $3 tip. And your hourly net wage for that 15 minute trip might be $2. Total = $6.50, so he loses $1 for every delivery he makes.

      Retire29 recently posted…Humorous Consumerism TodayMy Profile

  8. Haha… you have to laugh really or I guess you might just cry!!

    Good list, I’ll keep an eye out for things over here and compile a top 10 after a few months, I like the idea. We should see who can make the craziest/most humorous consumer spot!
    theFIREstarter recently posted…Mustachian Spotting UKMy Profile

    • I wasn’t even out looking for these things, they just come your way. I could fill up a 100-item list with just an hour or so in a shopping mall. But, I don’t often go to shopping malls.


  9. The corn scenario reminds me of the most of the groceries that we buy form most of these supermarkets. They have their prices inflated yet we can buy them from grocery stores. With respect to buying of two lunches, one for lunch and another for dinner, that’s crazy! I would better cook my dinner.
    Chella recently posted…When Non Conservative Investments HelpMy Profile

    • The crazy part is not so much the suggestion, but the forum where it was proposed. If I’m trying to save money, the last thing I’m thinking is to double my dining out.

      We are going more and more to Aldi nowadays. No shopper clubs or coupons, just ridiculously low prices every day. Where else can you get a gallon of milk to $1.69?


  10. Reminds me of how my mom makes us tea. Corn silk -the fine yellow thread that you get after opening the husk, is actually very good for health and could be used as a kind of tea (like adding lemon into plain water). So it’s totally recommended to get corn with husk!

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