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Bark Butter

I found that Dad has two tubs of a product called “Birdacious Bugberry Bark Butter” in the basement. It’s a substitute for peanut butter as a lure for birdfeeders: smear it on something, cover it in seeds, and watch the birds flock in.

I didn’t ask whether it is more or less expensive than peanut butter, nor do I know which to guess.

On the one hand, it seems like it might be produced cheaper: a substitute not meant for human consumption—although the package doesn’t say so—could be made with cheaper ingredients, and subjected to less stringent quality control, especially health controls. (It’s supposed to contain bugs!) Further, pricing an inferior substitute higher than what it’s supposed to replace isn’t value for money, and at first blush seems a business model for failure.

On the other hand, consumers rarely operate with perfect rationality, and people can be particularly irrational about products for pets, even vicarious pets like wild birds at the feeder. I can easily imagine the dupes willing to accept inflated prices making up for whatever profit is lost to picky buyers checking the price tag. Circumstantial evidence to that effect: the packaging advertises “with calcium!” I mean really: is nutritional content really a reason to select food for wild animals?

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