The downsizing spiral
By Jill Cataldo
The topic of package and product “shrink” never seems to get old with my readers! I’ve featured several stories about product sizes being reduced while the price stays the same. My savvy, observant readers have been busy spotting even more smaller-sized items.
This probably won’t matter to most, but it bugged me! I clean with a popular brand of dusters, which require a refill. As I recently purchased a box of 24 refills, the dusters have become noticeably smaller in length than the original product. The new dusters are perhaps two to three inches smaller than the original. I wish the company had just raised the price!
Are they going to teach a new measuring system to the younger generation? A popular brand of mayonnaise now has a “quart” jar that holds 30 ounces, and a gourmet ice cream brand touts its “pint” of ice cream that holds 14 ounces. I guess 2 cups do not equal a pint anymore! This is crazy that they are screwing the American public. I guess they will now say jar instead of quart. This is just crazy!
I noticed a few months ago that 500-sheet reams of paper are still called reams, but some of them have 400 sheets now. I picked up one of these reams last week at the drugstore and while the price hasn’t changed, the package size sure has! Do they think we aren’t going to notice it’s missing 100 sheets of paper? I refused to buy it, which is what everyone should do if they are finding things that have gotten smaller. I refuse to buy the 400-sheet ream and went to an office supply store to get a real 500-sheet ream for the same price.
I saw 96-ounce ‘gallons’ of milk at the store recently. A gallon is 128 ounces. Do they think we have forgotten our weights and measures? I swear, this is part of the dumbing down of America and we’re just supposed to blindly accept it. Along with not teaching cursive writing in schools anymore, they must not be teaching how many ounces are in a pint, quart and gallon.
I can rattle off all kinds of things that have shrunk. Pound boxes of pasta are now 12 ounces. Pasta sauce is worse – used to be a 32-ounce jar and now I see them at 26 and 24 ounces depending on the brand. Another sneaky thing they do is change the label to be misleading. I use a peroxide-based toothpaste and the last time I bought it, it said something like ‘now with more peroxide.’ Well, that may have been true, but the new tube had half an ounce less than my old tube! I also noticed a brand of double-roll toilet paper went from 300 sheet to 260, but it is still called a ‘double roll.’ It’s ridiculous how small things are getting. Just raise the price a little already. I won’t buy a 50-sheet box of facial tissues!
I agree. As much as I want to save money, unless these new, smaller products are also fantastically priced deals, I’d rather see the price go up a little versus seeing newly defined pints, quarts and gallons. As shoppers, we do vote with our dollars. If one brand has downsized its product, but a competitor hasn’t, you have a choice.
Smart Living Tip: When you first notice that a brand has downsized one of its products, take a moment to look through the shelf at the store for the “old” version. If you plan to buy the product anyway, look for the old, larger size to maximize your value. It’s a temporary fix, as the next time you need to buy the product you will likely have to buy the new-style items.
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