Liquid gold or washing detergent? Tide, resurrected (via @nymag)

This is a bizarrely interesting story about how, in Maryland, USA, liquid detergent Tide is becoming a substitute for drugs. A bottle of Tide has become street currency, ‘with a 150-ounce bottle going for $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine’.

The value of a product is how much the market is willing to pay for it, ALWAYS. As for why, read on:

Despite its popularity, Tide is not a big moneymaker for stores. P&G’s proprietary surfactants and enzymes are relatively expensive to produce, notes Bill Schmitz, a Deutsche Bank analyst, so Tide’s wholesale cost is steep. Only so much of that can be passed on to customers. “It’s so tight,” says Schmitz of the profit margin. In general, a retailer clears just a few percentage points on a Tide purchase. A store that charges $19.99 for a 150-ounce bottle might claim $2 in profit. But if it buys stolen bottles for $5, that jumps to $15.

Fascinating stuff.

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