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Shrinking Groceries

Have you noticed anything strange at the grocery store lately? It appears to me that things are shrinking. I do wear glasses and my vision isn’t what it once was, but what I’m talking about isn’t easily detected with your eyes.

If you haven’t already done so, read the fine print on the labels of your groceries. It seems many of the products I grew up trusting are not so trustworthy. The price and package may look the same to you now as it did about a year ago, but the reality is we are getting less for our money.

Here are just a few examples of some of the changes I’ve noticed. The fabric softener I buy cut the sheets from 40 to 36—same size box and same price. The ketchup I once bought in a glass bottle now comes in a smaller plastic one, but the price is the same. My cereal box looks the same, but if I dust off my glasses and read the fine print, I’m getting two ounces less product for the same price. Even my laundry detergent can’t be trusted. It now comes with a different cap size—it’s larger. I always use one capful per load, but with a bigger cap I will run out faster, so I’ll be buying more.

I don’t know about you, but I really resent the fact that these companies are essentially saying, “Our customers are not smart enough to figure out what we’re doing.”

The obvious alternative is to keep the product the same and raise the price. Marketing folks are probably afraid that if they did that we’d switch to another brand, whereas if they trick us and we don’t notice we will keep buying from them. I know this isn’t a new ploy, it’s been going on for years, but in my book that still doesn’t make it right.

I continue to believe that honesty is the best policy. The people who make these decisions can call it smart marketing if it makes them feel better. I call it lying to the consumer.

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