Honey, who shrunk the groceries?

Your ice cream’s lost weight.

There’s something squirrelly going on at the grocery store…and I think it’s despicable. I’m not blaming my grocer, mind you. But I’ve got a bone to pick with the slick marketing folks at some of the nation’s largest, and most trusted manufacturers.

As we struggle to deal with escalating food costs, we are beginning to see not only sharply higher prices, but smaller packages on items we typically buy week after week. We expected the price hikes, but not the slight of hand you would have expected from a common river boat gambler.

Now, this is just wrong. Not only is the 15-ounce box of cereal more expensive, it’s lost weight. It may now be only 14-ounces. Most of the reductions are barely perceptible, which indicates to me the big boys really do want to fool us.

I first noticed this subterfuge a few years ago when purchasing my favorite brand of coffee. It just didn’t feel right. When I got home and dumped the contents into my coffee canister – it barely reached the three-quarters mark. Sure enough, it was two ounces less than what I was accustomed to purchasing, and it cost just as much.

That was before the current gasoline crisis and stagflation invaded our lives. Now we get less for more – what a rotten deal! If the big guys will do that to us, I’m wondering what new fillers they are putting in my coffee to extend their profits. Heck. I’m wondering if it can be called coffee at all.

Food industry experts say consumers should expect to see more downsizing of packaging this year. Okay, does that mean my beans will be coming in a tuna can, and my tuna in a thimble? As long as they don’t tinker with my peanut butter I’m okay. I could live off that alone for the rest of my life and I may have to. Of course, I can’t afford the bread which will likely be missing a few slices.

I’ve been doing some research. Check the macaroni & cheese boxes on your food aisle. One box is 7.25 ounces and another, the same size, has 5.5 ounces and costs 20 cents more! If you thought grocery shopping was confusing before, you need to hire a professional to do it for you now.

This doesn’t just apply to food items according to my secret source. Be looking for smaller bars of soap and less squares on your toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Oh, for shame, Mr. Big! How easy it is to shave a tissue or two here and there and produce thousands of extra rolls that you will present to us with inflated prices. Does your mother know what you’re doing?

Frankly such downsizing will probably do me good, but for a family with children to feed, it delivers a double whammy. I’m thinking we would all be better off dining at a restaurant where portions are gargantuan, and we can take home the left-overs for another day. At least you can see what you’re getting.

Be looking for these developments:

*Enlarged rims on the bottom and top of tin cans while increasing the hollow area under the can to disguise the reduced capacity.

*Keeping the height of a bottle or can the same but reduce its diameter marginally. Will a gallon of milk still be a gallon?

*Make the opening on a tube of toothpaste larger so that consumers unintentionally use more toothpaste.

All this this makes my head hurt. I’m going to take an aspirin, but I wonder how many pills they cut from the package. It says 30- count, but I bet it only has 25.

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