The thing is, I'm not sure where they're buying a box of Franzia for $8.50. I think the least I ever paid for it was in the $10 range, and that was a while back. I'll have to check the next time I'm in a grocery store, both for the sake of journalism and "for my own personal amusement."
Franzia might cost less in California, where a lot of shitty wine comes from. For example, I know - because I read in the New Yorker - that even though Charles Shaw is referred to as Two Buck Chuck, the only place you can actually buy it for $2 is California - I think because of the shipping costs, but who knows.
Other interesting facts about Charles Shaw, Franzia, etc:
(1) Charles Shaw is owned by Franzia, but Franzia itself is owned by some conglomerate that owns most of the wine here in the US, similar to InBev in the beer industry.
(2) Charles Shaw is an actual guy. He used to own a vineyard in Napa Valley, but his wife took it from him in a divorce. Now he works as a computer programmer in Chicago.
(3) The guy who owns Charles Shaw buys the names of now defunct Napa Valley wines and uses them to sell wine that isn't really from the Napa Valley, through some loophole in the law in California.