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King Size is coming back!!

March 19, 2010

The Return of King Size

The other day I walked into the gas station down the street from my office to get a Diet Dr. Pepper and I was shocked at the volume and placement of king sized chocolate bars.  The entire upper level of candy selection was either king size chocolate bars or the new (and radically innovative) double size!

I don’t know if it was the quality of the organization of these chocolate bars that got to me or that I was just discussing fitness with a friend, but extra large chocolate bars are just not necessary.  I really had thought that we had turned back the Super Size clock a little.  I was under the impression that the progression from the big gulp on to the mega-super-bigger gulp had finally ceased and people realized that these larger sizes were just a guarantee of weight problems.

Don’t get my wrong, I have been to the movie theater lately and I am aware that they no longer have regular sized candy for sale, but instead family bag sizes.  I know this because I cannot resist the family bag size of swedish berries.  They know I can’t resist it too.  I just want a few and a small bag would do, but once I get into a movie theater and this is the only size choice I have I just go for it.  I can never figure out what size of popcorn to go with either.  For just 10 extra cents I can get 12 more cubic feet of popcorn…  do I need 12 more cubic feet?  Maybe not, but I certainly don’t want to run out and have to pay another $13.75 for a small, so I may as well pay the ten cents and get the bigger one…

I drink diet cola, so I just get the tanker size and drink whatever amount I want to out of it, leaving the small half full swimming pool of cola that I don’t drink behind.  I do understand the whole concept of marginal cost and profit, but it just appears greedy to me.  If, by selling me 5 cents of popcorn for 10 cents more, they make 5 cents that they wouldn’t have made had I chosen a size based on need or god forbid restraint.  Still, their greed appears a little naked, after all, because they are clearly trying to upsell me, to get me to part with more of my money by tipping the scales so far away from an intelligent healthy choice and so far into an increased marginal value that I really will always make the wrong health choice.  As for candy though, only offering larger portions so if I want any, I need to buy several pounds, well that is just another sign that they don’t care at all for me, and only want my money.

And that is what all of this comes down to.  The chocolate bar companies do not care AT ALL for their customers.  We all saw this happening with the tobacco companies over the last generation.  They produced products that they knew were addictive, marketed them to children and tried to increase market share through any means necessary.  Everyone eventually became outraged and the evil cigarette companies were sued so constantly and consistently that they are still in courts around the world today.

Do you think corporate America (Canada and Great Britain) would have learned their lesson?  Clearly not.  They are back at it.  In case you were not aware, sugar has been found to be addictive(here, here and here).  So, candy companies are marketing an addictive substance to children.  By the way, notice the height of the candy bars for sale at the counter…  I can’t even see what is on the bottom 2 shelves…  I would have to be about 3′ tall to see all of these shelves…  I am willing to bet that the numbers of how likely you are to eat candy bars regularly is connected to how young you were when you started your habit.  I am also willing to bet that the candy companies have some numbers of how much candy and how young.

It appears that greed runs out of control, with companies doing anything they can to make money, even if it makes a significant portion of society sick and prone to life ending diseases.  They will do this until their behavior becomes so egregious that the government has no choice but to crack down on them, and that is the last thing the government wants to do.  Why do I think that double sized chocolate bars are so greedy?  The impact of eating twice the size of a candy bar on your health is massive.  You could possibly stay healthy and have the odd 232 sugary calories in a regular pack of peanut butter cups, but if you have a double pack, that is pretty much the equivalent of one meal…  You can’t shake that off, and what do the candy companies get for this?  A marginal increase in profit.  They charge so much less for that extra cup that they are selling out your health for pennies…  That is the naked greed!

By the way I asked the store owner why he set up the chocolate bars they way he did and he answered, ‘it was the marketing people.’  I asked, ‘You actually have marketing people who set out your food?’, and he responded, ‘no, the chocolate bar companies determine how the chocolate bars are displayed in the stores…’ Watch out candy companies, with sugar being identified as an addictive substance and addicts being protected by every government (certainly protected from targeted advertising), your going to be digging your own grave with these actions.

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