Yesterday, I went to Petco to buy dog food .  My income has been down and I decided to talk to a sales assistant about reducing “my investment” in premium priced dog food (for Casey, my dachshund).

Several years ago, I had bought a premium priced dog food during one of their sales promotions; in fact, I bought four bags because they were only $5.00 for each 7.5 pound bag of “premium, holistic, all natural dog food.”  Well, several months later, I went back to Petco, and, sure enough, the same promotion was going on.  So, I bought four more bags; and, then, guess what happened?

The next time I went in to Petco to buy “that dog food that Casey loves” and…whoa…it is now $19.00 for the same bag of “premium, holistic, all natural dog food.”  Well, I bought two bags and so for two years, I have been buying two bags at a time for $19.00 each (instead of $5.00 each).

Yesterday, I went back to Petco (Casey was almost out of dog food) and I asked to speak to a sales assistant.  I admitted that my income was down and I needed to switch to a less expensive dog food.  I told him the brand and he said, “oh, now…do you want to stay in the all natural food category?”  I said, “yes, but I need to find some that is not so expensive.”  Well, we walked around and I finally said, thank you, let me just look.  I could not find any “all natural or almost all natural dog food” for less than $17.00 to $20.00 for a similar size bag. 

I then found the “same brand” was running another promotion….for a 2.5 pound bag and it was only $2.50 a bag…wow.  So, I picked up five bags and was saving $12.00 and Casey was getting her same dog food.  Hurray!  When I got to the cash register, the sales attendant said, “now, you normally buy the chicken and oats, this is trout and oats.”  I said, “you had the chicken and oats” in the location with the promotion for $2.50 a bag.”  He said, “that is true…but the promotion is only for the trout and oats.”

So, I was back to where I was when I entered the store…trying to reduce “my investment in premium priced dog food…”  So, I started walking around the store again.  And, the sales assistant came up and said, “didn’t you say you have a dachshund?” and I nodded my head; and, he then said, “we have some dog specific dog food and you may want to look at it.”  I went over and sure enough, there was a dog food specifically created for dachshunds…”Breed Health Nutrition….Dachshund 28” Teckel 28” (whatever that means).  It shows an illustration of the skeleton of a dachshund and red spots highlighting their back bone and joints (you know, dachshunds are prone to have back problems and a vet gave Casey a steroid shot once because she couldn’t walk without crying).  I read the information and thought, “gee…Casey is nine years old now…and I should do what I can to reduce the risk of her having back problems.”  Well, guess what…this is a 2.5 pound bag for $19.00 (instead of a 7.5 pound bad for $19.00).  I am now considering spending THREE TIMES as much as when I came in.  I put the bag down and started walking away; and, a little voice in my head (my conscience?) said to me, “Tom…you may look back someday and realize that you did not do everything you could to help Casey.”

Guess what I did?  Yep…Marketing 101 does work.

Have a good weekend.