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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Fleecing of the American Consumer

If you haven't noticed it yet, I'd like to point out a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common.
No, I'm not talking about corporate downsizing, where companies cut staffing, although it is corporations that are doing this downsizing. I'm referring to the act of decreasing product sizes while the price remains unchanged.

This "shrinkage" is occurring across a wide range of products: Tuna (6 oz to 5 oz) yogurt (8 oz to 6 oz) and YES, even your toilet paper! Have you noticed how loosely it fits on the roll these days? I noticed it right away - when we built our house in 2008, we took a full roll of standard T.P. and adjusted our new dispensers to exactly the size of that roll. A new double roll barely fit on it. Sometime in 2009, I realized that the mega pack of Members Mark T.P. from Sam's Club was almost a half inch narrower than my dispenser: I'm pretty sure the dispenser didn't change. Here's whats happened to Scott toilet paper over the years:
Original: 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches
Pre-2006: 4.5 inches by 4.0 inches
9/2006: 4.5 inches by 3.7 inches
9/2010: 4.1 inches by 3.7 inches
 Math question - at this rate, how long before toilet paper reaches this size?
Wipe with this?

Heres some clues that your favorite brand is about to - or has already - minimized its product:
  1.  "New!" - they changed something minor, in order to distract you from the real change - you're getting less.
  2.  "Bonus! 20 % more free! - Translation: We are about to downsize this product, but we need to get rid of our old packaging first.

Here's some ways to avoid Downsized products:
  1.  Buy industrial products. Example: Gallons of bleach are now 96 ounces, but if you buy at a janitorial supply store, you can still get a gallon.
  2.  Buy in bulk: Yogurt is now 6 oz instead of 8. Buy a quart and put it in 8 oz containers for your lunches.
  3.   Buy store brands: When yogurt went from 8 to 6 ounces, store brands remained 8 oz for some time. Some products are still original size, IF you buy different brands or store brands.
Unfortunately, its hard to fight back when all the companies function as a virtual monopoly - they all just follow the leader.

For more information on the downsizing of products and other consumer rip-offs, go to
What downsized products have you found?

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