Metal bottles

At a discount store recently, Mr. Tidbit was stopped in his tracks by a display of tiny (8 ½-ounce) metal "bottles" of various Coca-Cola products. Yes, metal bottles. They're made of aluminum, but they're shaped like little bottles, not cans, with screw-off tops and, in the case of the ones bearing the Coca-Cola name (not Sprite), a version of the signature "wasp waist."

Just the idea of the metal bottle would have been enough to slow Mr. Tidbit to a crawl, but what brought him to a full halt was the price: $1.59. Each. For just 8 ½ ounces. That's an astonishing 18.7 cents an ounce.

For comparison, here in decreasing order are the prices of the other ways to buy Coke at that store: 20-ounce plastic bottle from the cooler case, $1.69 (8.5 cents per ounce). Eight-pack of even-tinier 7 ½-ounce cans, $3.49 (5.8 cents per ounce). Eight-pack of 12-ounce plastic bottles, $4.99 (5.2 cents per ounce). Twelve-pack of 12-ounce cans, $4.99 (3.5 cents per ounce). Two-liter (67.6-ounce) plastic bottle, an item whose price varies a lot and on this day was on the high side at $1.89 (2.8 cents per ounce). At the per-ounce price of the new little bottle, the 2-liter bottle would cost $12.65!

Mr. Tidbit has to say that he can't imagine people buying the little metal bottles at $1.59 each, as they are sold more cheaply in 24-packs (not available at that store), for as little(!) as $24.99 (12.3 cents an ounce). Mr. Tidbit also has to say that he can't imagine anyone buying those, either.

Mmmm, biscuits?

New from Post's Honey Bunches of Oats are Breakfast Biscuits, in three flavors: Honey Roasted, Chocolate Chip and Strawberry. (Mr. Tidbit tried Chocolate Chip; he opines it should be called Chocolate Speck.) These items aren't really biscuits, but long, thin slabs, larger than cookies but thinner, and not quite as sweet. They're packed four to a 50-gram pouch, five pouches to the box.

Aside from the flavors, the identical description applies (to the gram) to the other two major-brand "breakfast biscuits": Nature Valley and BelVita.

How do three independent companies decide that these things should come in 50-gram pouches, not, say, 48- or maybe 52-? It's a mystery.

Al Sicherman