Corn rationing

I went to grab a sandwich at the Loeb grocery store down the street from work at lunch today, and they had a sign up on the door which got me thinking about economics and the practical matters of selling produce. The sign said, roughly:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we must limit corn purchases to 8 corns on the cob per family.

Things that have gone through my mind since then include:

  • “Corns on the cob”?
  • Presumably the circumstances are a smaller-than-expected supply of corn.
  • 8 is a large number. Do so many people usually buy more than 8 cobs at once that they had to limit it at 8?
  • Even if they’re short on corn, why limit people? Just sell out of corn and be happy you had no corn left.
  • Or, if people are buying so much corn, raise the price of corn already.
  • Maybe they advertised corn at a really low price, and don’t want people to come in from across town to get cheap corn, only for there to be no corn at all.
  • In fact, maybe corn is their loss leader, and they were losing too much, but they still want to do a bit of loss leading to get people to do the rest of their grocery shopping there.
  • Maybe they priced the corn so low as a loss leader that restaurants or even other grocery stores decided it was better to buy corn at retail than from their regular suppliers, and were buying dozens of cobs — which would mean that the circumstances aren’t a smaller-than-expected supply, but an unexpected (source of) demand.
  • April corn is a pretty crappy loss leader. Tough, tiny, insufficiently sweet kernels.

And yes, indeed: 8 ears for $2.

“Corns on the cob”?

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