When I worked at Target, I tardily realized that instead of spending $2 per night on two 20 oz bottles from the vending machine, I could spend $4 for a six-pack of 24 ounce bottles and come out ahead on the deal. I could even put them in the freezer before the truck unload started, and have frosty cold Pepsi when it was time for the first break. No problem.
I made the switch to and kept on buying, the 6-packs of the 24 ounce bottles because, I realized, you got exactly as much Pepsi in that 6-pack as you did in the half-cases, and in convenient bottles which could be closed.
Of course, Obama won election in 2008 and the economy went into the shitter. Inflation took place, however unofficially. Late last year the 24 ounce bottles disappeared from the shelves and the "half liter" bottles took their place, at the same regular price. But something interesting happened, something none of the idiots involved expected: they didn't sell at that price. 24s came back, briefly. The 16.5 bottles came back, usually on sale for about $2 a six-pack. At $4.29, they don't sell; at $3, they sell moderately well, and at $2 they sell out.
You see, people weren't fooled. They weren't fooled by the sudden reduction in size. We've seen it all before. The soft drink companies in general keep trying to foist 20-can cases on us, and people won't buy them. They offer 12-ounce bottles and 8-ounce cans, and those only sell when they're on sale, and then not very well. They've been doing this and doing this for the longest time, and everyone knows what they're doing and not falling for it.
So what people do is, they wait for sales. They don't buy Pepsi as they want/need it; they stock up when it's on sale. So that's what leads to my situation today.
Today I went to Jewel to buy Pepsi, intending to buy six 6-packs because that's the only way to get the sale price. What I found there was a section that was fully stocked without any diet Pepsi in it, except for the caffiene-free kind. I drink Pepsi because I like the taste and I want the caffiene, so "unleaded" is out, and there was not so much as a single 6-pack of diet in that aisle. Plenty of caffiene-free diet, but no regular diet. Plenty of regular Pepsi, plenty of cherry Pepsi (regular and diet) but no caffienated diet Pepsi. None at all. Closer inspection revealed that someone had filled the diet section with diet caffiene-free.
...someone had filled it with caffiene-free because they're already out of diet midway through the first day of the sale.
The thing that really infuriates me about all this is that in the other direction from the bunker I can buy cans of diet Pepsi by the half-case for $4 each. That's a sale price for 144 ounces, what one used to get from a 6-pack of bottles, when they were 24 ounces. Most of the time you can find half-cases of cans for about $3 or $4 on sale, though they're a bit higher off sale.
The 8-oz cans, that's just insulting. That's four 16-oz bottles' worth of pop for the same fucking price as a 6-pack of 16-oz bottles. The eight-pack of 12-oz bottles is four 24-oz bottles' worth of pop for the same price a 6-pack of 24s used to be.
I don't know what the bottlers' cost is on a six-pack of 24 ounce bottles, but I know for damned sure that the difference in their cost between a six-pack of 16-oz and a six-pack of 24-oz bottles is pretty fucking slim. Over the course of a year, though, I'm sure it comes to many thousands of dollars, for a production line that pumps out bottles of soda by the truckload.
So why are half-cases still the same fucking price they were two years ago?
If the bottlers must raise prices because of inflation (the inflation D.C. says isn't happening), why are the half-cases still the same price? Why hasn't that changed? They obviously can't cut the number of cans or the size of them (nor can they short-fill them lest they get sued) so why hasn't the price risen? Why are they still going on sale every other week for about the same sale price they've had for the past half-decade?
Maybe it's not about anything other than increasing profits solely because they can. "Hey, look at that! There's all kinds of inflation going on. Maybe we can capitalize on this."
...I wouldn't have been inspired to write any of this if Jewel had just had fucking diet Pepsi in stock. Fucking union goons.