Dear Whole Foods:
Bah to you and your loss leader business model. You and your lavender shampoo that you sell at 32 ounces for $3.79 that I must have. Bah!
I go to you for shampoo. If I were a bigger person I would just take $4 in cash to pay for your wonderful shampoo and exit quietly, but I am not. I am weak.
One use of a loss leader is to draw customers into a store where they are likely to buy other goods. The vendor expects that the typical customer will purchase other items at the same time as the loss leader and that the profit made on these items will be such that an overall profit is generated for the vendor.
Do I just buy your wonderful shampoo? Nooooooooooooooooooooo. There's also the bulk orzo I MIGHT AS WELL stock up on WHILE I'M HERE, the chlorine-free diapers I MIGHT AS WELL try. And look! A sale on mangoes! Practically local, from Mexico. It would be a crime NOT to take advantage. Lo and behold, 15 items later--
A loss leader item is usually a product that customers purchase frequently—thus they are aware of the usual price and that the offered price is a bargain.
But I'm onto you, Whole Foods. $67 seems high, even for you and your eerily colorful produce displays. For once in five years, I pause to look at my receipt. I'm the savvy shopper, me. I stop the nice customer service lady, who if I had to guess is working for THE MAN to fund her rock band. I'm all, excuse me! I have been overcharged! Look! (And when I say that I said I have been overcharged, I mean that I said it's probably me, not you, could you possibly take a moment to check yourself to tell me of my idiotic mistake because I am a BAD person). I continue all, I'm pretty sure I didn't buy $11 worth of raisins. In fact I am quite sure, but maybe I did because I am an idiot like that. And thank you, lady, for taking time out of your busy day in which you are PAID to do exactly what you are doing by helping me. THANK YOU.
And she's all, yes! I will help you! You have come to the right place! Oh, you didn't buy $11 worth of raisins? Let's see here.
And I'm all, I love you. You will make it all okay because I didn't just spend $67 on shampoo. I didn't.
And she's all looking at the receipt and my stuff and I'm whimpering all, you're welcome to look to see if I have raisins here. Sorry sorry sorry sorry.
And then she's all AHA! I see it! I think the guy keyed in the wrong code for your bulk orzo. Oh yes, you should save some money for sure. Let's see that credit card again. We'll take care of you.
And I'm all, I still have no raisins, but THANK HEAVENS for that and surely my bill will now be the $4 it should have been. THANK HEAVENS for you, rock band Whole Foods lady. You are on MY SIDE.
And she takes her authoritative Whole Foods manager pen and makes initials (INITIALS!) and circles the flagrant error with the coding of bulk raisins instead of bulk orzo. I sigh with relief and a feeling of great safety in her initials.
A loss leader may be placed at the back of a store, so that purchasers must walk past racks of other displayed goods which have higher profit margins.
Then she weighs my bulk orzo and makes some tip-tapping on her calculator, scratches her head a bit. And she's all, right! We have saved you some money here. $3.68! Would you like that back in cash or on your card?
And I'm all, WHAT? That's it? The rest of it is stuff that I really bought? So it's $64 shampoo instead of $67 shampoo? Crap! (And when I say I said WHAT? I mean that I said thank you, you've been a great help, right, thanks, great. Bye!)
Bah to you, Whole Foods. Bah. Bah. Bah.
And, party at my house because I am the proud owner of 3.68 pounds of orzo. Dude.