I was trying to avoid National Pet Peeve Week (Here's a peeve: Who thinks up this things anyways?) but then something happened at the grocery store that set me off.
It started at the mall where I had taken my family for a no expenses spared dinner. We splurged. I lost both a Jefferson and a Hamilton in the feeding frenzy. Then my teenage son with the hollow leg wanted to go to Maggie Moo's for dessert. For those of you unfamilar with this place, it serves ice cream with "mix-ins" custom spread into your ice cream by high school kids wearing the same clothes they had on at lacrosse practice earlier that day while constantly wiping their septums that are still sore from their newest Hot Topic nose jewelry.
The ice cream cones come in three sizes: humongous, ginormous, and oughtta-come-with-free-liposuction. These places are usually situated in the mall next to a home equity lender in case you want to buy more than one cone at a time.
In a fit of uncharacteristic frugalness that only proves you do eventually turn into your father, I said, "For the price of one cone, we can get two half gallons on sale at Food Lion." So we stop by the grocery store and that's when I notice that "half gallon" was a quaint nominal term. Like a 2 by 4 is actually a 1-½" x 3-½". The actual capacity was 1.75 quarts. And the pacakage screamed:
NOW 16% MORE!!!!!!!
which meant they used to be 1.5 quart cartons, so we're still 12.5% smaller than what a carton of ice cream was a few years ago. Now I try to stay up on consumer news, but I missed the hue and cry over two whole quarts just being too much ice cream to store all at once.
I first encountered this phenomena when my son was in diapers and they always came in a pack that cost $9.99 before coupons. Except that between the time he came home from the hospital and he was finally potty-trained, the quantity in the pack had shrunk from 22 to 8. Even accounting for larger diapers, the size of the ten dollar diaper pack was shrinking quicker a two dollar tee shirt all alone in a laundromat drier.
Are we stupid? Are we not supposed to notice this stuff? What marketing genius decided smaller and smaller packaging was more effective than changing the price? When do they stop shrinking stuff? When it's too small to actually use?
There would be no need for double and quadruple rolls of toilet paper if a standard "roll" didn't shrink every time the paper company wants to boost dividends 5%. A snack bag of chips has at best five chips in it nowadays, so you have to buy the Big Grab™ to actually get enough to eat. Keep the sizes the same so I at least know I am getting the same amount I bought the last time.
There! That's my peeve as petty as it is, but then that's what pet peeves are supposed to be. What's yours?
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