Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pricey Stuff

My parents (and grandparents) are thrifty shoppers. They taught me, probably before I was 8, how to divide the price of a grocery item by its weight or volume to get an absolute price-per-unit that could be compared between brands or sizes. It became habit for me to do this at the supermarket. Even when I finished residency and had some extra money, I would still sometimes find myself wasting minutes in front of, say, the spaghetti section, calculating whether a 20oz box of Prince pasta at $1.38 was a better deal than a 1lb box of Ronzoni at $1.12.

So I've been very appreciative of the recent trend at supermarkets to show, on the shelf label, the actual price-per-unit. This doesn't really save me much money, but, given my little compulsion, it does save me a lot of time.

Some things, though, don't get marked with the per-unit price. Such as pharmaceuticals. Today I had to pick up a little tube of steroid eye ointment. It contained 3.5 grams and cost $78. Of course, it was only 0.1% active ingredient-- or 0.0035 grams. I did the math, and it comes out to about $664,772 per ounce. Yep. I think the stuff is worth considerably more, per ounce, than my eye itself.


Blogger pjm said...

And to think that people complain about the per-gallon price of gas.

11/15/07, 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Doug said...

Likely you are correct. It's hard to imagine that you would find enough buyers to use up the whole eyeball if you mashed it up, diluted it a thousand times, and sold it in tubes. Even then, most of the money would probably go to the processor and pharmacy.

If you did the processing yourself with a blender and sold via the internet you might get enough customers, but I recommend getting firm orders first. Also practice blending with one eye closed. And how DO you fill those little tubes?

11/19/07, 12:10 PM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

After a bit more math, I stand corrected. My disability insurance policy will pay me 60% of my income if I lose one eye. Making some rough calculations, based on the average weight of the human eyeball, my eye is worth about $1.5 million per ounce.

11/19/07, 1:13 PM  

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