Target's Degree Deodorant Pricing Scheme Rewards Those Who Pay Attention

Gavin wants to know what’s up with Target’s deodorant pricing.

Can you explain to me Target’s bulk pricing on their Degree deodorant? As you can see in the attached picture – I could buy one deodorant for $1.82, or a two-pack for $3.89 from my local Target here in Chicago! Am I paying for the plastic they use to keep them together? Neither one is on sale, this is their regular pricing.

This is either Target trying to take advantage of people not paying a lot of attention and fairly assuming that two together will be cheaper than buying two individually, or just bad pricing!

People write us all the time about Target doing this with all sorts of products. We’re pretty sure they’re banking on you not paying attention.


Edit Your Comment

  1. meb says:

    Noticed the same thing at Wal-Mart this past week. $1.77 for one or $3.76 for the 2 pack.

  2. hellinmyeyes says:

    I see this all the time with their deodorant and toothpaste. I’ve seen a couple instances where it’s more expensive to buy the two-pack, but usually it’s something like $0.05 cheaper if you buy the two-pack. That aggravates the crap out of me. I guess I’ll have to start hoarding the occasional coupons that surface for them to get a better deal.

  3. jeffjco says:

    It may be something with Degree’s pricing because I saw this at a Wal-mart also. I even double-checked to make sure the two-pack had the same type and size as the the single pack.

  4. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    Well, the unit price makes it pretty clear that the two-pack does cost more, so I’d just chalk this up to bad pricing.

  5. ScubaSteveKzoo says:

    a lot of people dont have very good math skills…they’ll pull the wool over somebody’s eyes at least once.

  6. coan_net says:

    Why? Because shoppers usually don’t pay attention, and they can sell more.

    If you owned a business, wouldn’t you want to sell more? I know I would. I would not “cheat” anyone, but with all the information there, the shopper can decide for themselves.

    I’m surprised The Consumerist does not have a story about how 20oz pops cost more then a 2 liter of pop.

  7. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    I see this stuff all the time at nearly every store. I consider it a tax on those who can’t do simple math and/or can’t read the price per ounce on the placard beneath the product.

  8. mbz32190 says:

    Just a general reminder….buying in bulk isn’t always a good deal. (Which is why warehouse clubs thrive…people that can’t do simple math for most products)

  9. lhempheaven says:

    Just another example of how buying in bulk isn’t necessarily the cheapest way to go!

  10. Maybe Degree is in the process of raising prices and the two pack was raised before the single pack.

  11. trogam says:

    @coan_net: I think they already had a story about 20oz soda being more expensive than 2 liter sodas. If I remember correctly, consumerist had an article about the falling sales of 20oz sodas.

  12. mk says:

    @coan_net: 20 oz sodas being more than a liter of soda per ounce is not the same. People by a 12 or 20 oz soda usually for drinking in one sitting, by one person and for convenience. 2 Liters of sodas are bought for multiple drinkers or to use over time. I wouldn’t expect two 20 oz sodas wrapped together to cost more than two single 20 oz sodas.

  13. ministan says:

    Target and Wal-Mart come up with their prices based on how many they sell of a given item. They sell more of the single Degrees, ergo, the price drops. It’s done automatically, so weirdness like this happens. Nothing sinister about it, simply the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing!

  14. bohemian says:

    I see this all over Target. I give the calculator on my phone a workout. We don’t have that spiffy per unit pricing on the shelf tags here.

  15. ratnerstar says:

    @ministan: They drop the prices when demand increases? Must be that new economics ….

  16. AMetamorphosis says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    Exactly !

    It’s a tax on people who are too lazy or uneducated to do simple math

  17. spryte says:

    @melking: Additionally, and in my personal experience, once you open a 2-liter bottle, even if you recap it tightly, the stuff goes flat pretty quickly. To me that’s a waste even if it was cheaper per ounce.

  18. unchi says:

    Whenever I find something in Target’s “bulk/cheap” section, I always compare it with the individual prices on the other side of the store. They of course are rarely cheaper, but by splitting the items up it is harder for a consumer to compare the prices. Then again if you are doing it right beside each other, why bother with splitting up the merchandise?

  19. NotATool says:

    I don’t think you can accuse Target of cheating the customer; all the pricing information is right there in plain view.

    Sneaky, yes. But thank goodness for The Consumerist and other such sites for spreading the word about this type of pricing practice.

  20. RandomHookup says:

    @melking: True, but it’s hilarious to see 2 liters on sale for 75 cents and the 20 oz. selling for $1.79 (which never go on sale). Buy a cup of ice at 7-11, fill it up and throw away the rest of the 2-liter bottle. Yeah, it’s too much of a hassle, but it’s great to stick it to the man in theory.

    That’s why I bring 2-liter bottles to the office and get ice from our fridge.

  21. allthatsevil says:

    I’m sure it’s just paying for the more convenient packaging – it makes it easier to wrap when you’re giving it as a gift.

    Have you ever tried to wrap two individual sticks of deoderant together? I just don’t have that much tape.

  22. alfundo says:


    I’m glad I’m not on your gift list :P

  23. campredeye says:

    “I’m surprised The Consumerist does not have a story about how 20oz pops cost more then a 2 liter of pop.”

    What is this “pop”

  24. userboy says:

    Yeah, I ran into this @ Target on Sunday. Except it was Lysol Deep Clean Toilet Bowl cleaner (which works great, btw) and it was in the multi-pack ‘savings area’ up by the front entrance. The 2-pack was $3.99 and there was a temporary price reduction on the single bottles for like $1.74, plus I had two coupons so came out way better. I always do the math on these sorts of “value packs.” Unfortch, Target doesn’t use the per oz. price on the label. But just like with most things worth doing (like saving money) you have to pay attention!

  25. HuntersCanvas says:

    I definitely think you can accuse Target of something more deliberate. Just this past weekend, I saw the same thing with Scott toilet paper – the 20 count “value pack” was more expensive per roll than the 12 count package.

    If you label something with the term “value pack” yet price it higher per roll, I do think you are being deceptive.

    Can you let us know the source for this information?

  26. ideagirl says:

    They do the same thing with cat food. 5.89 for 12, or 13.89 for 24. I am no math wiz, but my math isn’t so bad I can’t spot the best buy.

  27. categorically says:


    I remember the days where I learned this on this blog. These days it is either grocery shrink or Target selling two packs for more than two singles.

    I get it, people write you all the time, but you don’t have to post every one.

  28. Triterion says:

    so if Target makes 25 cents more on each two pack… Multiply that by how many they sell per store per month (maybe 100) times number of target stores (977 says wikipedia) times months in a year… that comes out to be $293,100.00 more for target’s bottom line. Not bad for a tiny ‘discrepancy’.

  29. photogryphy says:

    This is the result of a competitive shop price change … look at how the label for the single is crooked, but the label for the twin pack is part of the original label strip. Target and other major retailers do this all the time with health and beauty items, matching and beating each others’ prices, and Target is so automated there’s very little human interaction involved–just employees moving from item to item with a price change gun. Only the SKU# of the single pack was competitively shopped, and the price was changed to match the lower price of the store nearby. There’s no big conspiracy here, it’s just what happens since computers don’t have common sense.

  30. ministan says:


    Yes, they do. If something sells more, they buy more and can get a better price due to a larger volume.

  31. Channing says:

    I see stuff like this a lot at Wal-mart. It just so happens that you find an item in the middle of a price raise. I saw something like this a while ago and when I went back to check on it again, the prices were aligned correctly.

  32. ablestmage says:


    Not especially new. If something’s selling, the people who keep buying it may notice a price drop on their totals and come to rely on the store for other things also. Also, if something is selling well from a particular vendor, dropping the price could maintain the momentum.

  33. LogicalOne says:

    A short story:
    Two marketing types at Unilever have been feuding for quite a while. One day at a marketing department meeting, the first says, “Someday, two-pack packaging will rule the marketplace!” The second guy, who incidently is also the dude in charge of single unit marketing, thinks to himself, “I’ll teach this dweeb a lesson!” and promptly lowers the per unit price on the single units of Degree.

    Okay, maybe not how it really happens, but it could…

  34. LittleEnosBurdette says:

    This “stinks”. But since I don’t shop at Target, ready – wait for it – “I won’t sweat it”.

  35. mrm514 says:

    You do realize that it’s not Target pricing the items… lay the blame with the vendor.

  36. theysaidwhat says:

    I guess Target thinks that you save your money by not making a second trip to the store? But it does happen FREQUENTLY at Target that the multi-pack is significantly more expensive per unit than is the single item. Maybe they are counting on the people with the screaming kids who are so distracted trying not to murder their children (and protecting other shoppers from doing the job for them) that they can’t possibly read prices.

  37. photogryphy says:

    Notice how the price tag on the left is crooked, and the one on the right is part of the original label strip. This is probably a result of competitive shopping, which is very common for health and beauty items. If a store nearby had a cheaper price on the single pack, Target would lower the price to beat it or match it. It’s all automated, with very little human interaction, just an employee moving from item to item with a price change gun, inserting new price labels into the strip. No big conspiracy here, but computers don’t have common sense, and employees wouldn’t have the ability to change the price on the other item even if they noticed it.

  38. jenjen says:

    But… I have TWO armpits, so I need TWO deodorants. I do appreciate that they are giving a price break to amputees with only the one armpit.

  39. jbohanon says:

    I saw something like this at a pie shop. They were selling whole pies and half pies and the half pie was less than half the cost of a whole pie. I pointed this out to them, and they just stared at me. I would love to order a whole pie, but ask them to cut it in half and sell them separately.

  40. Charmander says:

    Yes, I always check the price per lb or oz or whatever (usually on the tag) to see what is the best value.

    I do this all the time, and it is surprising to find the “sale” items aren’t always the cheapest.

  41. kc-guy says:

    Walmart’s store brand peanut butter works the same way. After a certain point, the unit cost actually increases.

  42. katiat325 says:

    jack in the box does the same thing with the spicy chicken bites. It’s cheaper to get 2 small sizes than 1 large size (the quantity of pieces is about the same). My boyfriend and I save about 10cents every time we get them. Lame, yes, but still, every penny counts for us. ^_^

  43. thomas_callahan says:

    Check the Target prices on automatic dishwasher detergent carefully, too. Electrasol (now called “Finish” or something like that) is much more economical in the smaller boxes. It comes in three sizes, and the deal gets progressively WORSE as the package size goes up. Completely backwards.

  44. DeloresRook says:

    This all has to do with being aware as a consumer. Our society has made molded us into trusting sheep, we see On Sale, Warehouse or Wholesale and it is assumed there is a lower cost involved. I have to admit that I’ve belonged to Sam’s Club and Costco but in my own defense it was more for the cheaper gas and the bulk items that I actually used. That being said I use to buy bulk beef and cut my own steaks when I lived back east and the sealing and freezing kept the monthly food bill down. Once I came to AZ I used the warehouse clubs and at first thought I was saving. Then I started to pay more attention to the price per pound along with unit prices Quickly found out that if I watched for sales in my Sunday paper I could usually stock up and pay a buck or two less per pound and buy five cans of green beans instead of the one industrial sized can. At least I haven’t become my dad … My dad was born into the depression era and as such is both frugal and completely nuts at times. He’ll buy 5 tubes of a brand of toothpaste that he doesn’t use because he has coupons and with his senior discount the store ends up giving him the toothpaste … great bargain but seeing he doesn’t use the brand does it really make sense? Of course there is a plus to this kind of buying … when the world ends I’m heading to his basement.