Burning Money


The cost of convenience…is synonymous with burning your money.  I’m amazed at how much money people waste for convenience.  Buying fruit that’s already peeled and cut up (and spoils sooner).  Buying hamburger meat that is already pre-formed into a shape of a burger (for a 40% increase in price).

Here’s a big one I learned today. It’s finally nice outside and I felt like grilling some burgers, except my tank was out of LP.  I looked online at the local big box stores for their price of exchanging cylinders.  It was $16-18.  And then something caught my eye.  It said that the tanks are filled with 15 lbs of propane (LP).  I thought, “That’s weird.  These are 20 pound bottles.  Why only fill 75%?”  This is a trend we’ve been seeing a lot lately, especially in the grocery store.  They decrease the size or amount, and charge the same or even more for it.  A great example is ice cream from the store.  The cartons were always a half gallon.  Now they are 1.5 quarts (75% of a half gallon).  Our minds are programmed to think they’re the same size as always.  Or gigantic boxes of cereal or big bags of chips, that are only half full.  You think you’re getting the full amount, like for the LP tank.  After all, the tank is the same size, but since you can’t see it in, you can’t see that they’ve only filled it 3/4ths.

In the case of the propane, the next thing I did was to call a business that fills propane bottles.  Remember when we used to do that, because there was no convenient exchange?  They charge $1.99 per gallon.  It took a short investigation to find out that it takes 4.7 gallons to completely fill 20 pound tank.  That’s with 20 pounds, not 15.  So, 4.7 gallons * $1.99/gallon = $9.35 for 20 lbs.  The cost of convenience of an exchange is $16-18, for only 15 lbs.  The exchange works out to about $5.00/gallon vs. the $1.99/gallon at the filling station.  That’s 2.5 times as much.  Wow.  It didn’t take that much longer for the nice lady to fill up my tank (plus we a nice conversation) versus the “convenience” of exchanging it at a kiosk at the big box store.  I might as well put a $10 bill in the burner on the grill.  That’s like burning money.

(Photo:  Burn Money by Images Money (CC BY))

2 Replies to “Burning Money”

  1. DivHut

    Your post reminds me of a blog entry I did titled My String Cheese Just Got Downsized where I discuss the concept of ‘shrinkflation.’ What can I tell you… we pay more or the same but always get less. This year Cadbury got hell when they sold the same package of their creme eggs with five instead of the normal six. Classic case of fiat money doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Seeking Escape

      Thanks for sharing another example of “grocery robbery”. It seems like groceries and home supplies seem to have this problem the most. It’s not like they can do this with your clothes (7/8th of a pair of jeans?) or other items that don’t have a unit of measure.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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