"They Are At It Again"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Coffee is a good example. A few years ago, I noted a change in the packaging of my preferred brand. When I checked the amount, I learned what was once a 1 pound bag had shrunk to 14 ounces. The appearance also had changed from a red bag to one with red and a little gold. The price stayed the same and it was our favorite, so what’s a couple ounces? A few months later, there was another change. A $1 coupon was placed on the bag (on the inside so most people threw it away). We were happy with the discount but dismayed that the price had increased $.80 per bag.

Several months later, long after the coupon offer expired, the package changed again. It now was white with a red crest but the name still was boldly displayed. It took a while checking through all the coffee brands to find mine, but no big deal, my time is cheap, I guess. The price had increased again and the content was reduced to 12 ounces. So now we have a prettier bag, a higher cost and less coffee.

Regardless of the above, we STILL like our choice best and have even taught our kids to like it, so we don’t have to carry it along when we visit them. I do wish they would stop changing the package and the content in the bag, however. They just changed it AGAIN — it’s now red with coffee beans on the side and a tiny notation regarding ground or bean. There is a new twist: If you want other than just the “original,” you only get 11 ounces. I guess if it goes down in volume or up in price much more I’ll have to check other brands or maybe switch to tea.

Coffee is not the only product that has been changing — check out the soup cans. Last year, tomato soup was on sale – two 12 ounce cans for $ 1. Great deal, but like all items today, you need to keep track. When the soup makers came up with the new, easy pull tabs, the content went from 12 ounces to 10.17 ounces, and the cost was raised to 75 cents a can.

Box products also are losing content. Those family-sized cereal boxes that used to be too big to put on a regular shelf are not too high any more because they have shrunk. They also are narrower to help you store the three boxes you must buy if you want to use the coupon. Pick up the box with one hand and you won’t worry about the contents getting stale — there only are 21.6 ounces in the family-size box.

Just about every box product, cans or jars, are reduced in quantity. My favorite peanut butter now is only available in the small jar, which is down to 16 ounces. The Mayo jars have gone from 32 ounces to 30 ounces. Go ahead and canvas your pantry, you will see when comparing that there is less content. If the jar looks just as tall as it used to be, turn it over and look for a big recessed area.

Not to be overlooked – the toilet paper manufacturers have not only figured out how to get 24 rolls in one package, they have cut another quarter inch off the width. Soon, you’ll be able to carry a folded up roll in your shirt pocket and dispense with the holder.

If you find yourself in the aisle with liquid soap, note the size of the small sink-top bottle. It used to be 12 ounces. Now it’s 9. Hand soap bottles look the same but only hold 7.5 ounces. Remember when you could buy the big, gallon size soap refill bottles? They are gone, but you can buy a clumsy bag of soap refill for the same price and half the content — if you can squeeze it out.

I know I mentioned ice cream before, but I would remind you the half gallon size is gone for good, but what the heck, we shouldn’t be eating so much ice cream anyway.

Please remember your grocery store is at the end of the distribution line, just ahead of you. They have to put the smaller packages on their shelves and rearrange the whole aisle. Manufacturers are the ones who make the changes, and if you don’t like those changes, contact them. Maybe I should write to my coffee guy.

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