Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brilliant marketing ploy with only a minimum amount of evil.

The Trader Joe's reusable bag.

99 cents. In 2011, that is officially ridiculously cheap, the way stuff costing nickels and dimes used to be when I was a sprout. Cheap is not evil.

Sturdy, cheap re-cycled plastic. Recycled is not evil.

You paid to carry around the company logo, so there's some evil.

If you go to TJs with a bag you can sign up for a lottery for a $25 gift certificate, but Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four made too deep an impression on me. I'm not convinced anyone actually wins these lotteries. So, also some evil.

But when I go to Lucky, they give me a nickel off for any re-usable bag, even one with somebody else's logo on it. These things pay for themselves in about a month for me, and I keep them way longer than a month.

So TJ's has competitors pay customers to buy advertising for TJ's. Evil, but they have cut the consumer out of the "who gets screwed?" equation, so significantly not evil.

And then there's the brilliance of finding a distinctive bag design and sticking with it. I can spot one of these bags one hundred yards away, easy peasy. I expect that you can as well. This is marketing genius up there with The Swoosh and the Golden Arches.

So, the power of marketing used to save the consumer money and reduce the amount of wasted paper and plastic in the world. In the Matty Boy version of this equation, this is big on the plus side with only a tiny residue of evil.

And to toot my own horn just a li'l bit, when Matty Boy makes an equation, he gets it right at least nine times out of ten.


Fran said...

Wait. One. Minute.

You still have Lucky? When I lived in LA ('98-00) somewhere near the end of my stay (I think!) my beloved neighborhood Lucky changed to Albertsons. I kind of never got over that. Well, not really, but still. I thought they were all gone.

In any case, I have 2 of the aforementioned TJ's bags, procured at a TJ's in LA, during my Oct 2010 visit. You are so right about pretty much everything here; it is brand-o-rama PLUS money off when I shop at my local Price Chopper.

A big bonus(*snort*) for me is that I "get noticed." Since we have no TJ's but we here in the farthest reaches of Smalbania, lust for such a store, everyone recognizes and frequently asks me about my bags. Well not everyone, but many people. It is kind of funny that a store bag generates such attention.

Matty Boy said...

Hi, Fran. Yeah, Lucky and Albertson's played ownership tag for a while, but here in the S.F. Bay Area, Lucky made the latest tag, so it's back. As it was in my childhood, Lucky and Safeway are the two big local grocery store chains once again.

Lucky is closest to me, and besides having a cheap wine about as good as Two Buck Chuck (they raised the price to $2.49 this year, the bastids), I like the service in the deli at my local.

namastenancy said...

That's a great bag - I must go to TJ's and pick one up. But I don't think we have any Lucky's in SF? I think that Safeway won the chain supermarket store competition here. Thankfully we have TJ's and numerous farmer's markets.