At my local grocery retailer, the popular “five buck cluck” deal on Thursdays gets you a brined and rotisserie-cooked chicken for all of five dollars. Maybe they're joking. How is it even possible to raise a chick from a hatchling into a young hen, butcher it, salt it up and roast it for only five dollars? With all the hands involved and fringe benefits and all that, I figure it’s got to cost somewhere between $25 and $500.
Meanwhile, the supermarket employs a line of distinguished and highly-trained elves to make the mashed potatoes. These elves are armed with golden tools that are very expensive to maintain; also, they have extremely generous benefits packages. How else to explain the salty butter-bomb of pulpy spuds we buy to accompany the bird, which costs roughly ten dollars? Putting 5 and 10 together, I come to see the scheme.
Recently, the store snuck in the infrequently used “volume pricing” ruse, in which you get the item for the advertised price only if you purchase great quantities of it, like 1,000 rolls of toilet paper, as if this store is the mother of all wholesale clubs. But since it’s your local grocery retailer where you’re used to paying per pound or per each, suddenly learning (after having paid) that you needed to buy about five times more chicken than you’d be required to at Costco to get the advertised price is jarring, especially when not a single other item in the store is priced in this manner.
“It’s all clearly labeled,” I was told. Alas, the joke is on me.