Tag Archives: dollar store

My $20 Trip Halfway Around the World

OK, so it wasn’t me that traveled from India to Canada, just my two canvas prints. If you have any doubts as to how interconnected our world is, and how critical global shipping, and thus the supply chain for almost every company, this trip is a great indicator.

Two weeks ago I talked about having to order two canvas prints online because I couldn’t get close in price attempting to shop local. Just scroll back a bit to find the story. Fast forward to last week when Fedex delivered the prints. I had purchased from CanvasChamp (Scarlet Prints LLP) previously, so I was familiar with their pricing, hit and miss customer service, the need to look online for coupons and discounts not found on their home page, and that their production is done in India with websites in the US, Canada, Australia and pretty much most countries making you think you are, in fact, buying sort-of local.

Since Fedex was late in their delivery, it was purely by chance that I tracked my order with them. That was worth it – and quite the eye opener!

Yes. You’re seeing seven stops covering half the world for my 4 kg (9 lb) 77x77x5 cm (31x31x2 inch) package: From their plant in Ahmedabad, GJ, India to Mumbai, India 524 km. Then 1934 km to the Fedex hub in Dubai, Arab Emirates and on to their main Europe hub (Somma Lombardo) in Italy – another 6083 km stop-over. From Italy, my well-traveled order went to their US Hub in Memphis 7894 km and then onto Richmond, BC, Canada (2508 km) for the last customs clearance before the 7th flight of 1156 km to Edmonton International Airport, and an old Dodge Caravan from there to my house.

A trip of more than 20,000 km (almost 12,500 miles) for an order that cost me just over $70 including shipping! The world really is a very small place and incredibly inter-connected and inter-dependent. In the case of this order, and the vast majority of what we purchased from Walmart, Amazon or any Dollar Store, it is necessary to get the prices we pay. The map for towels from Walmart or wrapping paper and food containers from the Dollar Store would be the same – it would just be containers, shipping routes and a lot of ocean maps!

When politicians and economists talk about doing away with this globalization, are they just telling us what they think we want to hear or are they serious? Because I haven’t heard anyone give us the heads up that it would mean a double or tripling of prices, and a Dollar Store that’ll have to be called the Five Dollar And-Up Store…

The Art of Deception (in prices)

The last thing manufacturers or retailers want to do is to raise their prices. Most of us would notice – especially if it’s frequently purchased products.

But there’s another way to get you to pay huge price increases, and it’s likely you’ll never really notice: It’s shrinking the size and weight of products: The art of deception.

I was at the Dollar store last week looking to buy more 12 packs of felt markers. The price is still $2 (ironic for a Dollar store that doesn’t have much for a buck anymore…) The product still exists and still has the same SKU number, but it’s now a 10 pack. That’s a 17 percent price increase without increasing the price.

In the last two years that’s been the same for vitamins, chocolate bars, crackers, cereal, chips, cookies, coffee (multiple times with a lot of shrinkage in weight) peanut butter, mayonnaise, apple sauce, and a ton of other products. Lots of times, they’ll change the packaging, or take the same glass containers and just trim them a bit in width and length where you likely didn’t even notice it. Look at almost any toilet paper rolls now. You can clearly see they don’t fill the holder like they used to. For toilet paper, it’s an average of 23% less product just in the last two years.

Keep an eye on the weight and cost per ounce or gram. It’s the only way to see the BIG price increases they’re sneaking by you!