Buy in bulk

To buy in bulk is to buy large quantities (or to buy loose)

Lesson #
January 1, 2024

Transcript

Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

Buy in bulk

“Buy in bulk.”

I’m going to show you two ways to use this phrase. The first definition of “buy in bulk” is to buy large quantities of something, to buy enough to last you for a long time, to buy more than the average person would purchase.

And the second definition is to buy a commodity loose or unpackaged, especially if that thing typically comes in a small package.

Start with the first way to use it. If you open your refrigerator, you might find a bottle of ketchup. It might be 20 ounces, or if you buy a big bottle, maybe twice that size. But if you run a restaurant, you don’t buy bottles that small. You buy much bigger bottles. You buy in bulk. You buy large quantities of it. It’s cheaper and easier that way.

The last time I was at Office Depot, I bought a package of five blue ball-point pens. That should be enough for the global headquarters of Plain English for a while.

When I worked in Chicago, I worked in an office with many hundreds of employees all in the same office. We went through a lot of office supplies. They didn’t buy pens five to a pack at my old office. They got all their office supplies in bulk. They bought large quantities, big boxes, that would last a long time.

So a family buys a small bottle of ketchup; a restaurant buys in bulk. They buy a bigger quantity than the average, in a larger package, they pay less per ounce for it. An individual buys a package of five pens, a major office employer buys office supplies in bulk—big boxes, cartons full of pens, and each pen costs less per unit.

The other way to use “buy in bulk” is to buy something loose that normally comes packaged. Let’s go to the grocery store. Imagine you have a craving for mixed nuts. You can go to the snack aisle and find small, single-serving packages of mixed nuts. You can find larger bags that might last you a week. You can find still larger jars that you might set out on the coffee table if you have guests. But they all come pre-packaged.

The other way to buy mixed nuts is to buy them in bulk. When you buy nuts in bulk, you go to the section where they’re loose. They’re not pre-measured and pre-packaged. You just get a plastic bag and you scoop your own peanuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, whatever, and you get however much you want. The point here is not that you buy a lot—the point is that you buy it loose, a little or a lot—your choice. And you don’t pay a fixed price, you pay by the ounce or by the gram.

In a big snowstorm, the local governments put salt and sand on the roads . This keeps the road safe for drivers. And to do that, states and cities buy sand and salt in bulk. That means, they buy it loose and they pay based on the weight or volume they order.

How is this different from buying sand or salt retail? If you own a house or a small apartment building, and you need to sand or salt the sidewalk after a snowstorm, you’ll go to Home Depot and buy a couple bags of sand or salt.

It comes in a bag, it has a barcode, it has a price per bag. You take it to the checkout line, they scan it, you pay, you take it to your car.

But the city of Chicago, the city of Montreal, the state of New York—they don’t go to Home Depot and buy bag after bag of sand. Could you imagine?

No, they buy it in bulk. They buy it loose. It doesn’t come in a bag. Enormous dump trucks show up in July or something. And they dump sand by the ton into large sheds by the side of the highway. The local government needs so much, they don’t pay by the bag, they don’t scan a barcode, they don’t stand in a checkout line. They buy sand and salt in bulk. They pay by the ton and it arrives loose, unpackaged.

So those are your two ways to use buy in bulk. Either you buy larger quantities than a typical shopper (like a restaurant buying a large jug of ketchup), or you buy something loose that typically comes in small packages (like scooping your own almonds and paying by the ounce).

Here are a few other quick examples. You and I buy cleaning supplies at a retail store. But a cleaning company would buy supplies in bulk. They’ll get large quantities of concentrated cleaning solution, large packages of paper towels, things like that.

You can save money by buying pasta in bulk. You can buy large boxes of it and save money because it doesn’t go bad quickly.

Hospitals buy medical supplies and basic medication in bulk. Your local hospital doesn’t buy small jars of over-the-counter painkillers. They buy them loose and in larger quantities.

See you next time!

That brings us to the end of today’s Plain English, lesson 636 on January 1, 2024. Happy New Year!

Congratulations on getting your year off to a good start with us here at Plain English. We will be with you all through 2024, right by your side as you work toward your English goals. If you’re listening on a podcast app, subscribe or follow the channel so that you never miss a new story from us.

We’ll be back on Thursday with a new episode. See you then.

¿Hablas español?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into Spanish. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

你说中国话?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parlez-vous français?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Você fala português?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

日本語は話せますか?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parli italiano?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sen Türkçe konuşmayı biliyor musun?

The transcripts of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Turkish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Mówisz po polsku?

The transcript of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Polish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Audio

Slow AudioFast Audio

The fast version of this expression is available for subscribers of Plain English Plus+.

Sign Up Today!