Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another example of hidden rising prices

This may seem like a small thing, but add up enough of these small things and it's no wonder people can't afford groceries and household supplies anymore.
I noticed when I changed the toilet tissue roll the other day (opened a new package of tissue to do it) that the roll seemed narrower. I thought I was imagining it until I compared the old, empty roll to the new, full roll. The old roll measured 4 1/2" wide and the new one measures 4 1/8" wide. That's 3/8" that the manufacturer has cut off the roll while not lowering the price (so you're paying the same price for less toilet tissue). Just like cereal producers have created smaller boxes of cereal and kept the same price (10 oz where it used to be 12, or 12 when it was 14, etc).
I've been noticing this a lot at the grocery store lately. A lot of items are getting downsized in quantity but not in price (and a lot of the time, the packaging isn't getting downsized to reflect the lesser quantity inside). You don't realize until you open the new package and see how little is really inside that you've bought a downsized product at the old price (and compare the new box to the old box and see that the quantity has changed while the size of the box and the price hasn't).
I consider this a most dishonest way of increasing prices for products. Manufacturers know consumers watch prices closely, and complain about rising prices, so in order to sneak in a price increase, they think, "Let's not actually raise the price where they can see that it's gone up, we'll just put less product in the same size box, charge them the same amount, and we'll get our price increase without them noticing it quite it as soon. And by the time they do notice it, they'll be so used to paying that same price for less product that they'll keep on doing it." When all the manufacturers do it, comparison shopping for the best price doesn't do much good (but I still do it as much as possible, because every penny, nickel, dime, and quarter I save on groceries can be saved for other things we want or need).


  1. At least the shelf tags on most of the product I buy (in food at least) give "price per ounce" or "price per unit" So I can bargain shop among, say packages of bacon or lunchmeat. So I ignore package size, except to make sure I'm buying enough for the week, or whatever. Since discovering I'm gluten intolerant, I don't buy cereal anymore, but if I still did ( I used to be a big cereal eater) I would be livid over that kind of retail shenanigans.

  2. Yep, I always check the price per ounce/per unit on food to make sure I'm getting the best bargain I can when shopping, and to make sure I'm getting enough to last for a couple of weeks.

  3. This is nothing new (see most of Andy Rooney's rants over the years). But, yeah, I don't like it either. Don't get me going on what they've done to 'half-gallon' boxes of ice cream!

  4. They're definitely getting tricky with the packaging. Cereal boxes, for example, are shelved facing out so the boxes are the same width and height as before but not quite as deep so you don't notice immediately it's gone from 14 to 12 oz or from 12 to 10.

    A few weeks ago I think I snagged the last 6 oz cans of tuna that will ever grace the shelves of our local Kroger. They're all now 5 oz, although the difference is can size is barely noticeable and of course the price keeps creeping up.


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