It’s official. Summer is offer and winter is coming. How do I know? Because I’ve had my first cold of the season. I find myself pretty resistant to the flu – I’ve had it just 3 times in the last 15 years – but I’ll get a cold 2-3 times per year. By now, I have it down to a science. NyQuil and DayQuil, cough drops, and Airborne.
I wind up buying several of those tubes of effervescent Airborne tablets each year. I’m not extremely fond of the flavor, but they work. Since I started using it to control my colds, they have averaged about three fewer days. So when this cold hit, I went to the store to buy some more. Apparently, they now sell a chewable form instead of just the effervescent tablets. Even better, for just 50 cents more, the bottle of chewables has 32 while the tube of tablets has 18.
They taste a lot better too.
But there is a catch.
Airborne Chewable Tablets Are Not a Frugal Choice
So the chewables have 32 instead of 18. For nearly the same price, that would make them significantly cheaper per tablet than the effervescent version. And they are. The unit price is more than 50% cheaper, according to the labels on the store shelf. So what’s the catch?
Unlike the original version of Airborne, one tablet is not a serving. According to the bottle, you need to take 4 tablets per serving. The dosage found in one effervescent tablet is split between four chewable ones, meaning that, on a per-serving, basis, they chewable Airborne are quite a bit more expensive. Instead of 18 servings, there are only 8. And the bottle is still more expensive overall!
Sometimes it isn’t enough to simply check the unit price when comparing brands or varieties to find the most frugal choice. The units of measurement could be different from one to the next. I’ve seen this before with one brand providing a unit price in ounces and another in “each.” Unless a serving size happens to be a single ounce, the comparison is worse than useless. Worse, because it can lead comparison shoppers astray.
So, before checking unit prices, check serving sizes as well. Reading the package of the chewable Airborne tablets would have saved me a couple bucks by not having to restock in the middle of my cold.
Have you ever been fooled by unit prices that weren’t comparable? How do you get over a cold?