Downsizing without our knowledge

cereal_selectionWe were watching Nightline the other night and what we saw kind of shocked us.  Knowing how bad things are right now, it didn’t really surprise us but shocked a little bit nonetheless. Now me, I wouldn’t even have noticed it but now I will look.

Apparently everything from toilet paper to cereal to milk to juices and a lot of other things are getting smaller.  They showed two boxes off the same shelf of the same product in the store and you can’t even notice unless you lay them on the sides and look at the bottom.  It’s not a huge difference but they are smaller.  They are just switching them and not saying anything.  Unless your a real eagle eye, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have noticed.  They are even doing it with things like bars of soap and toiletries.  It’s not just the boxes either. They are doing it to plastic bottles of drinks as well as laundry detergents and a lot of other liquids and things like peanut butter and jams.

What bothers me about this is the secrecy around it.  I know that production right now costs much more as well as shipping and all the other costs but when they add more product to a box of say, crackers, there’s a big 30% more in this box or big huge letters telling us we are getting a little more bang for our buck but this has been swept under the carpet.  That’s what bothers me about it.  It’s almost sneaky.

I don’t mind the little costs of “inflation” but I don’t like feeling cheated.  What about you?  Have you seen this or did you know? Or does it not bother you like it did me?  Groceries have gone sky high.

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12 Responses to Downsizing without our knowledge

  1. SKL says:

    To some extent, this is because they are selling some stuff (like laundry soap) in more concentrated formulations so they can save shelf space and shipping charges. They may also be reducing the sizes of some of the boxes whether or not they are reducing the content. Packaging used to be way bigger than it needed to be. To that extent, I see this as a good thing.

    To the extent they are actually charging the same for less, to be honest, this doesn’t really bother me any more than charging more for the same. I guess if I lived from paycheck to paycheck, it might bug me. But inflation is pretty much a given, and it’s still pretty low compared to other times I can remember.

    I feel like there are always ways I can cut back if I don’t like the prices, even though I am already pretty cheap. I am pretty good about voting with my pocketbook. If I feel someone’s trying to pull a fast one on me, I don’t buy their product.

    One thing I don’t do is shop the pre-holiday sales in the usual department stores. Like my mom’s favorite store – I swear they mark everything up by 50% and then mark it down 30% and my mom thinks she’s getting a bargain. I told her my thoughts, but it seems in her case, the feeling of getting a bargain is worth the extra cost. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but neither does a lot of human logic.

  2. Tessa says:

    Yes, I have noticed this a long time ago. It is sad to see people getting so little for the same price. Luckily, Eric’s salary will go up with the inflation. I hope others’ do too.

  3. Joy says:

    SKL, I agree with you that it doesn’t bother me all that much but it’s the “duping” factor that bothers me. It’s not the smaller packaging for easier transport or concentrating reasons. I love those also and have been buying my laundry soap and downy like that for a long time but here are just a few examples.

    They have rounded “in” the bottom of the jar of Peanut Butter so that it now has 3 TBS less.

    The bar of soap shown was 1/2 ounce smaller.

    4 pack of toilet paper had 100 feet less.

    The Bryer’s ice cream had 1 cup less.

    Like I said, it’s not all that much but it’s less with a “trying” to hide it feel to it. I’d rather they just make it more money and not be trying to “fool” me.

  4. Ouch, that’s low. I mean, the fact that it’s all done in secret. It makes sense that they do it, and I guess it could even be good in the US for things to not be supersized all the time, but then they should let the public know about it first!

  5. Just a Mom says:

    This has been going on for years. When was the last time you were able to buy a full pound of coffee?

  6. Joy says:

    That’s a good point Just A Mom. I had just never noticed it before. When I saw it with my own eyes I just thought “WOW!!”

  7. Sue says:

    Everything costs more to make/package/ship and maybe they think that if the price stays the same we won’t notice that they are smaller packages.

  8. Amy Hunter says:

    I read an article about this recently, but I also noticed this a long time ago. I’m not outraged or anything, but I do find it irritating. I start wondering if my recipes will work okay when the packaging for a key ingredient suddenly shrinks. E.g. if you need two cups of pumpkin and now they’re only packing 1 7/8ths, you probably aren’t going to notice. But if they keep shaving off, suddenly your pumpkin bread isn’t so pumpkiny, and you don’t want to open two cans to make up the difference, because what do you do with the extra then?

    It also makes comparison shopping a bit trickier, if it’s the type of product that doesn’t have a price per unit label on the shelf.

    So yeah, it irritates me, and it doesn’t really fool me in the long run. Even before I had a dairy allergy, I stopped buying ice cream as often because it was becoming too expensive for a smaller and smaller package. See, the strategy eventually backfires. Because at some point, they raise the price anyway, and I find myself thinking, “What? $6, and it isn’t even a half gallon! Look at that ripoff tiny package!” That’s when I walk away and don’t even consider purchasing the item regularly anymore.

  9. K. Trainor says:

    I understand what you mean about the ‘sneaky’ factor. Concentrated IS good, but sneaky is not. I prefer to shop stores that break down pricing by unit on the shelf tag. It makes it so much easier to compare prices. (Yes, I could do it with a calculator, but like most people I won’t take the time to do so with an entire cart full of groceries.)

    I don’t blame the manufacturers for the downsizing–they have to cut costs, too, just like the rest of us. But it’s frustrating to me that they do it without telling anyone. I guess it’s a no-win situation. If they make an announcement, it’s bad P.R.

    (sigh)

  10. holeycheese says:

    Maybe you’re getting closer to European size of things..
    No matter how small things get in the US they will still be bigger than in Europe.

  11. Jane says:

    I noticed the smaller packaging but I thought like SKL said that they were just trying to eliminate over done packaging but I took a look in my pantry and saw a lot of differences. I have some bottles of juice that have a huge dent in the bottom and the label says it’s different than the other ones by almost a cup.

    I wouldn’t mind, things so cost more but I’d rather they be up front about it. Like they love to let you know when you get more, they say nothing with you get less.

  12. nikki says:

    Sorry Joy, I haven’t commented on this yet. My mind was somewhere else 😉

    I have noticed this the most with the cereal boxes. I think pretty soon were going to be paying full price for travel size items!!! I don’t think they should be sneaky about it. I also know that the price of everything goes up due to people stealing. If they were purely doing it to conserve then why wouldn’t they want you to know? They are not only cutting down on the plastic or cardboard they are using but also the item inside. You just don’t get what you pay for anymore.

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