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Hedonic Adjustment



September 04, 2009 – Comments (8)

Well, we've decided to downshift our lifestyle a bit as prices keep rising on stuff we actually buy. (While the jury might still be out on inflation/deflation over the whole basket, it is decidedly inflation on stuff I actually buy regularly.)

We're switching to store brand toilet paper and facial tissues.

Comprehensive testing was done and the store brand (Kroger) was judged to be Acceptable and much cheaper than the Scott and Kleenex it replaced. The store brand canned soups were also tried and were found Not Acceptable, so Campbell's is still it.

While this is actually pretty funny, it is a very real point. I wonder how many brands that were thought to be recession-proof will start slipping as people adjust to cheaper goods.

Chris - no position in any companies mentioned here

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 04, 2009 at 12:39 PM, madcowmonkey (< 20) wrote:

I watched a show back in the day and I guy said he would buy two ply toilet paper and then sit at home seperating them. I didn't follow the logic, but I did catch on to the fact that the guy probably didn't work if he has that type of time on his hand.

I just re-use an old sock instead of kleenex. 

One switch my wife did do was buy cloth napkins instead of paper. Not sure if washing them gives us a break on money, but I guess it helps in some shape or form. plus they last through the week:)

Not sure about brands that were thought to be recession proof, but as long as schools are in operation, Kleenex and Scott will still be there. 

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#2) On September 04, 2009 at 12:49 PM, lemoneater (56.81) wrote:

From experience I have found, that it doesn't work to buy cheap bread or ketchup (My husband refuses to eat any brand but Heinz. I have stock in the company). Also I really dislike made-from concentrate lemonade or any other juice dried and then rehydrated. Simply Lemon has the most delicious storebought lemonade I've tasted. (The company is a co-op as far as I'm aware.)

However, I buy cheaper cuts of meat out of necessity. If your meat is tough, cut it into strips (easily to cut when it partly frozen not rock hard or floppy)  and tenderize it by cooking it in a little organic apple cider vinegar. The organic cider has the best flavor and a little vinegar goes a long way. Use your improved meat for stirfry or any recipe where tartness enhances the effect.

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#3) On September 04, 2009 at 1:33 PM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

The rule we follow on store brands and generics is that if we can really tell the difference, the cheap one is probably not acceptable, but if we can't tell much difference it is fine.

Turns out that with pickle relish the cheap brands really aren't as good.

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#4) On September 04, 2009 at 2:08 PM, darroj (28.11) wrote:

I once made the mistake of buying the cheaper tissues which I thought we be fine.  My girlfriend did not approve though because the box was not "pretty" (actually, I think the word "ugly" was used.) Since then, I've been buying the 3 packs of kleenex brand from Target/Ralphs.  Target store brand of TP is ok as well.

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#5) On September 04, 2009 at 2:57 PM, madcowmonkey (< 20) wrote:

darroj- I would have saved a kleenex box and switched out the store brand into the kleenex box, problem solved.

chk- if it's in front of me....I will eat it is the basic understanding my wife has for me and food. Keeps it pretty simple.

lemoneater- I used the apple cider vinegar last night on sweet and sour pork. I actually could tell a big difference from the white vinegar that I was out of (so use sparingly everybody). Can your husband realize the difference when a restaurant fills the heinz bottle with the different brand that comes in a 3 gallon bag. I worked at a restaurant that did that. I would be curious. 

from an article somewhere on the internet: 

Research firm Mintel International predicts that the U.S. cigarette-and-tobacco market will grow 28% to $132 billion from this year to 2011.

from another article somewhere on the internet;

The U.S. sandwich spread market - ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise - has been stagnant from 2001 and 2005. Retail market sales for sandwich spreads in 2005 stood at $3 billion, down two percent from 2004 sales. 

from another;

In recent months, we have been faced with escalating prices for pulp and rapidly changing energy costs. Similar to other manufacturers, we cannot absorb these increased costs indefinitely without making an adjustment. While one of our competitors recently increased their price by six percent, we chose to maintain our existing price but decreased the number of sheets in some cartons. This direction allows us to offer lower promotional prices.

Also, we recently adjusted the sheet to a size equal to other tissues currently on the market, standardizing the sheet size in the facial tissue category. –Kimberly-Clark Customer Service


Growth in PM or cutting costs in KMB and scaled down customer base in the ketchup world. Why does it always seem like the cig companies can never lose?


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#6) On September 30, 2009 at 1:03 PM, A6EIntruder (< 20) wrote:

I think it's good to look at the little things that wind up adding up, liked branded consumer goods. Some are definitely better than others, and then there are those that you just can't tell the difference between..

It's also instructive to look at bigger item purchases. We no longer buy organic at the nearby Whole Foods, we schlep to Trader Joe's for same. When it comes to meat, we no longer buy chicken parts--we buy the whole chicken. It is less expensive by a lot, and we can balance the nutritional difference by changing portion size and ratios of white/dark meat. Plus you get leftovers which make for great soup stock, etc.

We no longer use the microwave for cooking. (Our rent includes gas.) So we steam everything up, and then do a quick sautee if we want to add some flavour--which I now make, rather than buy prepared. 

Now on to more sybaritic expenses (which is what your post title reminded me of): the big-screen plasma that Someone Wanted Desperately Because Without it, Civilisation Would Collapse--has been put on 2 year hold. (Our 27" Sony CRT is still doing a credible job.) We ditched the Blu-Ray purchase. The full-frame Nikon DSLR is on, in effect, long term layaway. (Someone is putting $75/month away, in, I kid you not, a shoebox, to keep from spending it out from our joint account!)

These are all things that, years ago, we would not have blinked at purchasing. But you'll have to pry my Puffs Plus from my cold, dead hands. 






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#7) On October 01, 2009 at 5:25 PM, KamranatUCLA (29.44) wrote:

Dear chk999

first I gave you arec for this post and I haven't even read it. So i am not as cheap as you.

Second you asked why I won stocks. It's a hobby. I am not in it to be a millionare or to have some income, or anything.

It's a hobby for me and I only have like 30-40 stocks. It's no secret that 1 of them is BLTI. I love that company because they make tooth drilling painless!!! I had bad experience as a kid when I got a tooth filled without any local the money I "invetsed" in them I view it as donation.

Unlike some people who are here to make money and waste all their time and energy to guess what a stock does...i just come here when I have time and it's entertaining for me.

I used to have my own clothing company from 1995-2001. I think one of my biggest mistakes was not to go public. Uggghhh..only if I knew how stupid people are when it comes to "investing" in stocks...hahahahahaha

But thanks for your post in anycase. I appreciate that you took the time to read it and even quote me from my other posts.

Thank you.

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#8) On October 06, 2009 at 7:54 PM, KamranatUCLA (29.44) wrote:

fast train from LA to NY is a damn good idea.

it creates good jobs. it creates an infra structure than can be used for 300 years. it is more fuel efficient than planes (0.3miles/gallon vs 300 miles/gallon if electric). it helps with interstate commerce.

people would actually see what's between LA and NY. it helps local businesses all across the U.S.

Many hate flying on planes, even I hate it evethough I am an airplane mechanic. more people traveling means more economic activities.

if you want to travel from LA to NY now by train you have to go to Chicago first. this is a joke!

Even a train from LA to Florida is a good idea. Any direct path from coast to coast.

Environmenatl impact would be minimum compares to planes/airports/airport traffic/noise/airpollution.

15 hour is not bad if it is a nice fast planes like ICE from Germany. You still have the option to fly if you want to be there in 5 hours.

spending on infrastructure is always good idea. with uncertainity over gasoline prices a train is a damn good idea. Making more roads than no one can ride on them makes no sense.

and, there would be less traffic on highways. less trucks, less cars on the road.

if we were a real capitalist country that had to be done years ago. it's 2009 and we still dont have it. it's sad!

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