I’ve accidentally bought second class apples, which were not bad at all. This made me think that I’ve been paying more for the first class apples without explicitly realizing this. Let’s see why this is bad.

There was a “weekly” discount for apples (1 euro for 2 kilos) in Edeka. I discovered this in their “prospekt” (I wrote about supermarket discounts here). However, once I bought them (actually 6 kilograms), I discovered that they were “the second class”. Obviously, they did not look terribly bad, otherwise I would have noticed this earlier.

At home I had a more careful look. Indeed there was something unusual with 90% of apples. They had small damages or imperfections (at most 1 cm^2 in area, but most of them even much smaller than that). In my life I definitely have seen and even eaten apples, which were in a much worse condition (I can clearly remember an apple, which was in such a bad state, that I had to cut out almost half of it, but I ate the rest). If you compare these second class apples to what I had before, they are then rather 99% perfect. Here you basically cut out one very small piece and you get a perfectly fine apple. Obviously, you probably can’t store them as long as the first class apples, but I bought only 6 kilograms (not a tonne).

For me this uncovered an interesting issue. Such second class apples is a pretty rare guest in the supermarkets. I have seen apples for “processing” (Verarbeitung) before, these had no damages, but mostly weird shape instead. As far as I understood, they were meant for juicing. Obviously I also bought and ate them (and they were just fine). Apart from that all apples I observed in supermarkets are the first class (i.e. ideal shape and state). This is probably the first time I explicitly saw second class apples being sold. However, when I buy the first class apples, I actually pay premium for them to be the first class. Since I haven’t thought about this before and never even had a choice, I was doing this implicitly. And as I learned after buying the second class apples, paying this premium actually makes no sense to me. I am as happy to consume second class apples as the first class. Basically, someone has made this decision not to bring second class apples to the market that often and now all buyers are paying more for their apples to be ideal (due to absence of choice), but without realizing and enjoying this. I consider this premium a waste of money from buyer perspective, since without having a reference point (a concept which I learned during “Science of Wellbeing” course, my summary is here) of second class apples, they can’t enjoy how the first class apples are better than the second. For them, these are just normal average boring apples, not “not a second class” apples.

Now I am definitely curious which other premiums I’ve been paying for without realizing. Unfortunately, identifying them is extremely tricky (unless you accidentally stumble on a product without this premium feature like these second class apples), so I couldn’t come up with anything yet, but I am now very vigilant. Perhaps you have encountered some other examples already?

Anyway, happy conscious shopping!