Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Gotta Peeve

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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Unknown said...

There's a National Peeve Week?

Well, mine is coughing. People who cough and cough and cough and cough and do NOTHING about it. Get a drink you annoying little...! If a person is sick I can deal. But if they just inhaled air wrong I want to hit it out of them.

My gosh, I'm heartless.

yellojkt said...

I saw it on the internets, so it must be true.

trusty getto said...

My pet peeve is self-righteousness. I f*ing *hate* it. I don't understand it. I only do it in moments of true weakness. Many people do it all the time.

Oh, and btw, yes, they do think we are stoopid and not paying any attention. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, shrinking the quantities of products has been occuring at a rapidly increasing rate due to a tanked economy and a spike in sleazy company execs. Watch out, eventually we'll find out they've made gallons smaller and the EPA is lying to us about gas mileage! So $3 a gallon is actually $3 for 3.5 quarts! Please come to Selling-You-Short-Rite again soon!

Anonymous said...

Stop me if you've heard this co-worker listens to her voicemails on the speakerphone. And they are in Japanese. And she listens to them over and over. On the speakerphone. Worst of all, she is really sweet and I love her and there is no way I can complain about anything she does. But still!

Mooselet said...

I, too, find it disturbing that there is a National Pet Peeve Week. What's the point? Can we only complain about things that bother us in this one week and must suffer the other 51 weeks of the year?

My pet peeve is shopping carts left the in the middle of the parking lot when there are plenty of cart returns not 10 steps away. Honestly, walk another couple of feet and put the cart somewhere where it can't roll away and into MY car instead of merely putting it into the empty, but now unusable, space next to your car. Remember bag boys who would help load your car and then take the cart away? I miss that...

Unknown said...

My pet peeve is drivers who tailgate me!
Thanks for commenting on my blog. I was honored that Michele highlighted my blog!

Your Mother said...

OMG how could I possibly only pick one? There are so many! Tailgaters, the Shopping Carts, the Fruit Sticker, I work with a guy who clips his nails at the office! YES HE DOES! At the office. Clip. Clip. Clip. I want to go in and just kick him square in the jaw. But I don't. I sit at my desk, fuming and thanking all that is holy that he isn't clipping his toe nails too.

But, that isn't my biggest peeve. Oh no. That comes at the grocery store. When kids are whining and crying and begging for something or running around knocking into me and other stuff - while their parents just ignore them. I've been known to leave a store or diner or other public place if I cannot control my brood. I've even taken them into the ladies room for a swat on the bottom and a good talking too. At the height of my maturity I can embarrass 14 to death with the simple comment "Hey, why don't you put your kid on a leash". However, those parents who ignore. Oh, my blood pressure goes through the roof!

Kim said...

We have one of those Cold Stone Creamery's here. While is super yummy, it's super expensive. I think we went there once, and spent about $18 on three ice creams.

My pet peeve? When I answer the phone and work and people say "how are you?" but honestly, they really don't care and "how are you?" actually means "hello". Why not just say "hello"?

Anonymous said...

The shrinkage thing has been going on for years. I remember a candy bar when I was a kid...they shrank the bar itself, but kept the packaging the same size. The candy bar rested on a little paperboard tray, so it was a smaller bar on the same size tray and unless you'd actually noticed the weight change, it was basically invisible to you.
Personal peeve? Hm. If I had to pick one (there are just so many), I'd have to go with the coworkers of mine who commit stuff to paper and don't bother proofreading. It's just depressing to see misspellings and punctuation errors in materials that are for general consumption. Come on, people, we're educators. Show a little sense of being able to teach.

carmilevy said...

I almost melted down in the grocery store aisle a few weeks back when I realized the box of goldfish crackers had gone from 200g to 190g after they "improved" the product. You're absolutely right: this is about as cynical a way of treating our fellow humans as I've seen.

Nicely put.

Visiting from Michele's tonight. Fight the power!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and pointing me to your 100 facts about Chessie post.

I'm not much of a pet peevie guy, but I hate the way people drive through the alleys in Chicago. They usually don't stop before the sidewalk, I have a 3-year-old and it is so worrisome to see people just jamming through the alleys.

Olyal said...

That is so irritating!!! I agree, it totally sucks that companies try to make us believe that we are getting a great deal on a better product, when actually we are just getting less of the same old product.

My pet peeve is people (particularly school kids) who stand in doorways. They do it on trains, buses and in shopping centres and it really ticks me off.

Twisted Cinderella said...

I absolutely agree! Being that my Little Princess has only really just finished potty training. I can tell you the "Incredible Shrinking Diaper Package" phenomenon has been noticed in our household as well.

ribbiticus said...

i totally agree! my sister who has a newborn and a toddler just recently complained about the same thing. do the marketing people of these manufacturers actually think we buy into that crap?

here via michele today. :)

lazylol said...

Hi - from Michele's

You have some great points and write with a good sense of humour - have a lovely weekend!

Anonymous said...

I loved your post and added those superlatives (only humongous was known to me) to my vocab...I didn´t knwo about this pet peeve week either, so this was a very informative post for me! Michele sent me!

Anonymous said...

I so totaly hear you on this and I don't even have rug rats of my own.



Suburban Turmoil said...

Oh that's a good pet peeve, all right. I have too many to count.

How about people who don't get out of your way in the grocery aisles?

Anonymous said...

My roommate seems to think the shrinking ice cream boxes are some sort of nutrition thing, reflecting a smaller recommended serving size. I happen to agree with you that it is yet another way The Man is trying to get us down.

Anonymous said...

ooo pet peeves - i don't have many but there's one that really burns my buttons... rude drivers that don't obey the "first me, then you" rule of merging in traffic. or the ones that won't let you merge from an off ramp, they speed up not to let you in, or the one's that refuse to let you in front of them when you've CLEARLY had your turn signal on for ever! ok - maybe more pet peeves than i thought.