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Supermarket Meltdown!

December 11, 2012
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner – Founders Insurance Group

In similar fashion to many folks that have reached middle age, I am making more of an effort to enjoy foods that are better for my health. Having a Seinfeld like obsession with cereal, I knew it was time to say goodbye to my old standby bowl of Apple Jacks. I knew that I needed to seek out whole grain goodness and less sugar. I came to this conclusion of my own volition without a call from Mayor Bloomberg or more importantly from my own doctor. I simply knew that it was time to move on. In my quest for a new favorite, I found Kashi. Yes, it was long after Kashi sold out to Kelloggs, but at least I was in the game and it felt great! Each week, along with my new favorite brand of skim milk, I made sure to grab a couple of boxes to for the pantry.

Just when things seemed to be going my way and all was right with the world again, my world came crashing down! Chatting on iStock_000015991515XSmallmy cell phone while walking down the cereal aisle (that may in fact be a crime in itself in New York City), I unconsciously reached for my two weekly boxes of Kashi, but something just didn’t feel right. Narrowly avoiding an oncoming shopping cart, I quickly turned off my phone, and gazed at my “new look” favorite brand. Upon further examination, I noticed that the good folks at Kashi had reduced the amount of cereal in my box by twenty percent! I checked the price on the box and on the shelf tag and the cost for the cereal had remained unchanged. Being part of the above average intelligence crowd that loves brands like Kashi, I quickly understood that Kashi, IE Kellogg’s had taken a twenty percent price increase in one swoop!

My world was spinning! In a fog and in a fit of rage I found myself in the baking aisle. I had regressed. I needed to get my quivering hands on some sugar and I needed it fast! Fond memories, no matter how long ago, die hard. I knew exactly where to find the sugar. The aisle number, the number of steps I needed to take, right down to the safety of the bottom shelf, the sugar was there, and in the very same spot I had last seen it so long ago. I reached down with both hands, (I have small hands), and grabbed a five pound bag of that glorious fruit of the cane. Already fragile from the cereal aisle experience, the sight of the sugar hit me like a firm punch to the gut! It was only a four pound bag!! My eyes returned to the bottom shelf only to find that each and every brand had reduced the quantity of their sugar bags to only four pounds! I knew right away that the sugar companies, possibly in cahoots with Kashi took a twenty percent increase too!

Sitting in my car, resting from the events of the market, with my head now clear, I could only come to one conclusion. These companies, possibility out of fear of taking a twenty percent price increase and therefore alienating their customers, tried to “slide one by” in hopes that the consumer wouldn’t take notice. Now, I think we have all seen this maneuver from some of the ice cream companies, leaving me to tell my children bedtime stories about the good old days when ice cream could actually be found in half gallon cartons. My now former favorite brand of cereal had followed the same path as the high calorie, sugar laden folks on the “dark side.” I am disappointed to say the least!

Everyone knows that I find it difficult to not weave some insurance conclusion into my blog entries. After all it is an insurance blog, so here’s the insurance punch line. We all know that the economy flat out stinks. Everyone is doing their best to try to save a buck and in certain situations I can’t blame them. It is a fact with my family too. But, just like those sugar companies, there are a few, and I will not name names, although it is a safe bet they may be companies that you have heard from often, that aggressively try to use the “slide one by” maneuver on potential new customers. Offering “quotes” that just happen to shave a little off of the auto policy or the coverage amount on your home, in order to make the price of the policy appear to be better than what you currently are spending. Some “agents” of these companies go so far as to claim the coverage and claim services are the same as your current policy. Sadly, customers fall for this all too often and without a complete understanding of policy language, those customers are often an easy “mark.” This practice has been going on for a long time. But in a poor economy it can be even more tempting. My advice is that if you find something that appears better, allow your current agent to view a copy of the “quote.” It might save you from heartache down the road.

Have a healthy day!

Chris Garlasco

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