Thursday, June 12, 2008

Individually wrapped everything, PS3

Despite many good efforts to reduce waste, it seems like everything I buy comes individually wrapped. Usually there are packages within packages within packages. For example, when I bought yogurt the other day, it came in a three pack. So, the three little yogurt containers were supported by a cardboard base, which was then again wrapped in plastic. When I purchased the yogurt, it was put into a bag, and the ice cream I purchased along with the yogurt was put into a separate, smaller bag, which was then inserted into the yogurt bag, which was then taped.

I didn't really need a bag at all. But if you don't say it quick enough, you can be triple bagged before you know it.

Also US economic intuition doesn't work here. For example, it's cheaper to buy five individually wrapped ice cream cones than a box of five ice cream cones-- of the same brand, in the same store. It's cheaper to buy several regular chocolate bars than a single large one. (Why all my examples are desserts I don't know...)

Second, it's cheaper to buy things out of vending machines than convenience stores. This one gets me every time. I'll go into the convenience store, buy a bottled drink for $1.50, and then walk right outside the convenience store and in the vending machine right outside the same drink is selling for only $1, and it's colder.

But it's not just the little stuff. I bought a PlayStation 3 the other day, because I wanted to play Metal Gear 4. Well, for Metal Gear 4, there is a special bundle that includes the PS3, the game, and a special controller. There is also a special edition bundle that's very expensive, but the regular bundle is intended for the mass market and is supposed to be a value (it's not a limited run). However, it was still cheaper for me to buy the game, the system, and the controller separately.

Buying individual parts instead of packages is hard to get used to, and my fear is that as soon as I become accustomed to it, I'll go back to the US and get confused all over again.

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