Thursday, October 23, 2014

Consumer Behavior: Why I Buy What I Buy

Today I went to Cold Storage Subang Parade to buy foodstuff. I chose Cold Storage over Jaya Grocer at Empire because I know it has more Halloween items on sale. And I was right! There were the jumbo-sized bags of candies, eyeball chocolate balls and even boxes of Peeps, so cute. I didn't buy anything Halloween-themed but it was nice to look at. (I also chose Subang Parade over Empire because there's an MPH in SP. You hear that, Piglet?)

I first looked at the cheese section and searched for Cheddar cheese, 250g. There were so many different types of cheese in different sizes and textures and flavors (even the Pepper Jack that is on my must-try list, normally hard to find, came in three different brands!). I settled for a RM18 chunk of mild cheddar, walked further down and saw a block of processed cheese going for 30-40% less than the mild cheddar chunk. Of course I took the cheaper one. If I had extra to spare, I'd go for the premium one.

Then I went to look for milk. Since the recipe only called for 250ml of milk, I grabbed a 300ml carton and prayed that the macaroni and cheese would be extra creamy because of the additional 50ml.

Next up, I had to grab a bag of macaroni. This was a bit tough because there wasn't that big of a range for me to choose from. I mean, there was organic spaghetti and colorful pastas, but macaroni only came in a few brands. In the end, it was a toss up between San Remo macaroni or Kimball's, and I went with Kimball because once you boil pasta, nobody can tell if it's the cheaper brand or San Remo. Sorry, San Remo. Maybe when I have a bigger disposable income, okay?

Then, I needed a can of soup. My family argues that condensed soup is not the same as canned soup but I think it's the same, because soup in a can IS soup in a can, therefore it is condensed! I just took Campbells' because there was only one brand of canned soup available.

Finally I took a glance at the clearance shelves (I LOVE the clearance shelves at Cold Storage) and grabbed two cans of alphabet pasta in tomato sauce for RM2 each (from RM6 each).

Me at Aeon.

When I go out of country, what I really want to do is go to a supermarket/minimart/grocery store and look at the items that they sell there. So fascinating to see the items that you use at home being used elsewhere, packaged and sold in a different manner. I especially love exploring the 7-11s of different countries. Thailand's offers cheap items all around with prices unheard of in Malaysia (RM1 for Pocky crazy!!) while Singapore's is full of yummy-looking quick fixes like beef jerky and chocolate bars in unique flavors. I didn't get to visit a 7-11 while in Nepal, Philippines, or Indonesia, though.

If I go out of state, I also enjoy spending time in the grocery stores or minimarts. Sometimes, the brand of biscuits you get in Port Dickson cannot be found in Klang, but most of the brands you get in Klang, you'll be able to find in PD. Very interesting. I think it has to do with the strength of the company's distribution system.

My life's ambition is to be a mystery shopper in supermarkets or to do research on the mass market brands that people buy.

So, if you asked me, what would I do for a Klondike bar? I'd say, market research. I'd do market research.

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