Okay, it's time to roll around in the dirt a little bit. Ready?
We've been accused of being dishonest because our cheese tags list the prices of our cheese by the half pound. Of course we hope that every one knows that is far from our intentions. I won't lie to you, we obviously save some sticker shock on some of our cheeses by pricing them in half pound increments. But really the point is help the customer understand that the cheese we sell in not necessarily meant to be purchased in whole pounds. More on that later...
Some of you might be familiar with Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions in which he discusses at length the idea of paradigm shifts. So I submit that is what we are a part of: a shift away from the whole pound as the dominant paradigm for measuring cheese.
Our average size chunk of cheese at France 44 or Saint Paul Cheese is about 1/4 of a pound or 1/3 of a pound. Only very, very rarely do customers purchase an entire pound of cheese or more. We are trying to provide a realistic frame of reference to our customers about the price of what they might expect to pay for their cheese purchase. In some sense I'd almost rather price by the 1/4 pound (like I've seen several well known cheese counters do) but we decided the half pound made the math easier.
My hunch is that when shoppers grab a precut chunk of cheese at the grocery store they are mostly looking at the final price on the tag and not the price per pound. They want to know that chunk A of cheese is going to cost them $5. That's where we want to be. We want our customers to leave with the cheese they want in the quantity they want. It is irrelevant if they are looking for $8 a half pound cheese or $19 a half pound cheese. We still are always shooting for the same outcome: delicious, well taken care of cheese.