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Judging A Book By Its Cover…And Its Price

mucinex.gifSo I'm suffering from a bit of chest congestion this week. No fun.

Today I got annoyed enough to head down to the store and pick up some medicine.

I'm not generally a fan of medicine - especially cold medicine. It always seems to make matter worse for me.

But, being ever hopeful of new medical innovation, I waltzed down cold remedy aisle.

There were all of the usual suspects - different forms of tussins and the whole family of expectorants. I was willing to invest about 20 seconds in deciding which remedy to choose.

I was quickly seeking a buying preference. The interesting fact is that my eyes went immediately to the cheapest generic and the most expensive item on the shelf - Mucinex. Which one to choose?

As it turns out, Mucinex was the only cough medicine on the shelf that was in a cube box instead of a bottle. Hmmmm. Interesting. And it was 3 times more expensive than all the others.

With the clock ticking, my patience waning, and another fit of coughing coming up, I had to make a decision.

I went with the Mucinex.

Later, I asked myself why. What made me choose the most expensive?

I realized I made a few assumptions. Namely, that the higher price must be justified with some incrementally better quality (that I didn't have time to research). My assumption was supported by the difference in packaging. It was completely different than all the others - so maybe it has a chance of working.

Well, the jury is still out about whether or not it works better. But I can tell you this - when I opened the box, inside I found a bottle just like all the others!!

Brilliant!! They sold me a $10 bottle of cough medicine by putting it in a totally different package.

But it goes to show you...that higher prices can work in your favor - especially when consumers are forced to make a quick decision. But it also illustrates the point that there must be some quickly justifiable reason for the price increase...some discernable buying preference...even if it's just a different package.

So was the joke on me? I don't know. Since I believe many of a cold's causes and effects are mental, perhaps paying a little extra will fool my brain to heal me faster.