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”?

8 responses to “Corn rationing”

  1. hahha Due to my Dad being a penny pincher, he often runs into this when buying kleenex that’s on sale. Usually it’s 4 per customer, which means he buys 4, and I buy 4… And he gets 8 in the end. And then he goes back again. Ya, he’s right nuts for paper products. I would guess that it does have to do with drawing more people in and still having it in stock. No point in letting one person take 20 when 4 more customers could be coming in to look around when it’s limited like that.

  2. Wow, I never anticipated needing 20 corns on the cob until now.

    (I just like saying “corns on the cob”. What does that mean, individual kernels?)

  3. Ha! I agree with Pam. I’m enjoying the Buddhism stuff, and I also enjoyed the most expensive list thingy from a while back, but this corn entry is special somehow. I also had the same thought as to corns on the cob?

  4. HEH! I saw that at a Loeb up there (probably the same one). I don’t think I analyzed it quite as thoroughly though. :P

  5. Pam: Yay! And you can go and check the corns ration status of our old local Loeb (and thus your current local Loeb) too! THE BLOGOSPHERE AWAITS UPDATES.

    happinesstogo: It’s funny, the Buddhism stuff was becoming a bit of a drag to me, too — but I wanted to get all that basic stuff out there so I can start talking about my own practice without having hundreds of footnotes. It’ll get more interesting when it gets more personal, I hope. Meanwhile: Corns on the cob!

  6. This reminds me of a sign I saw at the grocery store about a month ago. I don’t know the full story, but I saw signs taped up by the milk saying that the store regrets any trouble, but they cannot sell milk for the advertised price of 4 gallons for $5. Apparently there was a typo in the weekly ad (or maybe it was intentional, to get people in), but there’s a STATE LAW that doesn’t allow a price that low.