Target Apparently Exists In A World Where A 3-Pack Should Cost Twice The Price Of 3 Single Packages

There’s nothing quite like the crazy pricing fun over at Target, and this time things are getting out of control with one of the cheapest food products you can buy. David sent in a tip of some outrageous pricing he found on Ortega taco seasoning, using the Consumerist mobile app.

Just need one package of seasoning? That’ll run you $0.34. Have multiple taco sessions in your future? Perhaps you’d be interested in a three-pack for $2.04? Ah, yes. There’s the fuzzy math we’ve come to know so well.

See, if you were to grab three individual packages of Ortega seasoning, you’d pay just $1.02. That must be some pretty expensive cardboard packaging on the three-pack, because buying it costs double the three singles, at $2.04.



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  1. Coffee says:

    It’s a matter of convenience, Mary Beth…when I have three singles and I’m trying to handle them all at the same time, I’m like, “Whoa!” and then, “Oh no!” and then “Sorry about your dog!” as I careen wildly through the store, trying to balance/handle three packages at once. When they’re all in the box together, I hold it in my hand and no one has to die.

  2. Ace says:

    You are paying for the packaging engineering that went into the cardboard design. There are cutting die costs, design fees, art costs, printing die costs.
    On top of all that, there is a 20% markup by the paperboard supplier before it is even sold to the packaging company who then marks it up again when selling to Ortega.
    Add the costing of distributing the extra weight (gas is expensive and heavier trucks cost more in fuel) and you are talking about a 200% cost increase!

  3. DerangedHermit says:

    That seems super-cheap for the single pack. It’s normally .75-$1.00.

    • eturowski says:

      Came here to say this – all brands of taco seasoning at my local Stop and Shop cost $1.00 each. That $0.34 is a steal. Maybe it’s a pricing error.

    • Velvet Jones says:

      Yeah, where is this Target at. I want to stock up on Taco mix as $0.34 is a steal even for cheap no-name brands. I recommend avoiding Ortega’s Spicy mix though, unless you plan on having a colon transplant.

    • Tubal says:

      They are supposed to be .84. Either a pricing error or someone shopped the photo.

    • Kuchen says:

      I bought this exact taco seasoning today at Target, and it was $0.84.

  4. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Reminds me of the paradoxical quote from “Napoleon Dynamite”: “I said the 12-pack, not the 24-pack. You’re just gonna have to mix and match. “

  5. ReaperRob says:

    I’m thinking there is some kind of unseen sale here, the Ortega mixes are cheaper than the store brand.

  6. PurplePenquin says:

    Clearing out the single packs in order to make room for more triple packs?

  7. Snapdragon says:

    The title made me hear that in the late movie announcer guy’s voice, due to the phrase, “in a world…” :)

  8. DrLumen says:

    I have ran across similar pricing weirdness at Target as well. I didn’t get a picture of them but there was one where a box of 72 slices of cheese food substance was $12.89 but the 24 packs were $2.79 each (8.37/3).

    I have learned to double check everything at Target.

    • tralfaz says:

      The manufacturers have been training us for years to blindly accept that a multi-pack of an object is automatically a better deal.

      These days, one should do the math before buying.

  9. Press1forDialTone says:

    Target knows exactly what they are doing. It is happening in many
    Target stores according to my friends in other places.
    This particular trick they pull is my reason #351 for not
    shopping there.

    • jumbojeepman says:

      Not necessarily a ‘trick’ perhaps just a good purchase of the single packs and passing down the savings(Ortega clearing out inventory, perhaps.) As others have noticed, the regular price is normally $1, and a triple pack at $2 is actually a good deal, it’s just the single happens to be a better deal right now.

  10. dullard says:

    I had a similar incident last week. I saw a special for bottled water I wanted at 10 for $10/ $1 each. That is how the sign read. I took two six packs and was charged the regular price. When I asked why, I was told that the sale price applied only to individual bottles. Of course this is not indicated on the sign. Target took the two twelve packs, brought me 12 individual bottles and charged me the $1 each price.

    The staff was pleasant enough but, despite the fact that it is not their fault, it is more than a bit disconcerting.

    • jumbojeepman says:

      Disconcerting that you can’t successfully interpret a 10/10 sign probably won’t include 6 packs which have a totally different UPC?

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Not to mention the plastic overwrap on that 6-pack. That alone is worth several extra dollars.

      • dullard says:

        Jumbojeepman, I guess you didn’t read my post very well. I clearly indicated that the fact that the sale price applied only to individual bottles was not stated on the sign. Just to clarify, both the six packs and the individual bottles were at the same location.

  11. pdj79 says:

    I think that is a pricing error on the single pack. I just bought a 3-pack of this very mix at the Target SuperCenter by my house and the single pack was $.89. So, to me, it looks like they messed up the price of the single because even Walmart sells the single packs for roughly $.90.

  12. DrLumen says:

    I make my own taco seasoning at home.

  13. theSillyGirl says:

    Devil’s advocate: is is possible the packets in the three-pack are larger than the individual ones?

    • jumbojeepman says:

      No. I think we’ve gone over this enough, it’s a good price on the triple pack, it’s a GREAT price on the single packs.

  14. mrhappydude says:

    That’s what the flapper said :)