[M.M.X.I.V. 268] Circular reasoning

This post has been pre-recorded on account of ראש השנה (Rosh Hashanah).

On Tuesday night, I was chatting with some of the new graduate students, and grocery shopping somehow entered the conversation.  When we were discussing low prices, it made me think of the circulars that grocery stores and other stores regularly publish.

When I was younger (i.e. when I lived in Fort Dodge), I always enjoyed reading the Sunday newspaper, and one of the reasons was for the circulars.  Every week, they would be really colorful, and although I was not particularly covetous then, I think that Mom and Dad had taught me how to evaluate prices and whether they were good or poor deals.

Fast forward quite a bit, and when I moved to Chicago, I started subscribing to the Chicago Tribune thrice a week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).  In every Wednesday and Sunday paper, there were a gratuitous number of circulars.  The Wednesday circulars were for grocery stores such as Dominick’s, Jewel-Osco, Food 4 Less, and Village Market Place.  In fact, the circulars are frequently what draw me into the grocery stores, as I am a bargain hunter.

In fact, most of the time, my grocery shopping is based entirely on what is on sale, excluding staples in which are depleted.  I attempt to have the foresight to avoid these emergency runs for items not on sale.  But sometimes, I have no choice.

What I would like to explore: Why are grocery circulars distributed on Wednesdays, and other circulars distributed on Sundays?  I do not know much about general population, but I suppose it may have something to do with either preparation for the weekend shopping trip ahead of time, or perhaps Wednesday and Thursday would otherwise be a slow day for grocery stores.

Another follow-up question: what delay does the average person have between reading the circular and taking their shopping trip?  I found out on Tuesday that if you wait until the last minute, the items that you may want will have limited or zero selection.  Whoops!

However, I assume that many people will get their circulars either at the store, online, or in sources other than the newspaper.  I prefer the traditional distribution in the newspaper.  (However, I have not been good about reading the paper in the morning, as I often read blogs during that time now…)

Before the post ends, I’m sorry, but I intentionally chose to not have a circular argument on the post.  I can be crafty like that 🙂


Today is the two-hundred and sixty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes thirty-eight weeks and two days.

Today is the seventy-third day of the Character Building Trial.  That makes ten weeks and three days.


5 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 268] Circular reasoning

  1. Good topic! My dad was a grocer. The sale items are “loss leaders” and they do not purposefully run out of these (at least, the ethical grocers don’t “run out”). Because it is the rare individual who makes a beeline for the sale item and walks out with that alone. Gas stations are the same way. Most don’t make a profit on gasoline; or it is a marginal profit at best. What they wanted to sell you is potato chips and an enormous beverage. The markup on beverages is so incredible that most fast food places could give away the hamburger, just to sell you the soda. You keep doing what you are doing Noah, and you will always come out ahead in this dizzying market game…


    • Thanks for the comment, W.S.! Indeed, my Dad has talked to me about loss leaders, and I tend to be frugal when shopping anyway (a graduate student’s stipend only carries me so far). If the item is non-essential for my usual diet, I only buy it on sale, knowing that many stores operate on a high-low basis.


  2. Now then, graduate student…WHAT ON EARTH are you doing, blogging on a Saturday morning?! Get out there and enjoy September, before the Great Lakes freeze over again!!! (Only kidding, blogging is also “enjoying”)


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