Have you noticed how some things you buy on a regular basis have changed? I don’t have scientific evidence but I’m pretty sure we’re getting less stuff for more money. Do large manufacturers have an obligation to tell you when they’ve given you less product for more money or is it o.k. to try to sneak it by the consumer? Wouldn’t it be more honest if they simply raised the price?
Let’s talk about some of those products and, as we do, keep in mind the single parent struggling to make ends meet, the unemployed who have no income, seniors on a fixed income—you know—those honest people who are counting every dollar—every penny, actually—and still can’t make it.
Some I’ve noticed are:
Batteries: I use a lot of AA batteries and have for a number of years. I listen to a series of CDs and I listen to them at night when I’m having trouble staying asleep. I have done this for the past fifteen years and nothing has changed in my listening pattern or the amount of time I listen. I used to be able to get a week’s worth of use out of two AA batteries. Now I get two nights—maximum. The CD player hasn’t changed. I have used every brand of battery, including the expensive lithium type. I have used rechargeable batteries but I get so few uses out of them now that it doesn’t save money or the environment. My question: Is it possible to make batteries with less “juice” so you have to replace them more frequently? The cost is higher and the usage is lower.
Toilet Paper: Have you noticed that as the cost of TP gets higher there seems to be less and less on the roll? Does it seem to you that the rolls are the same size but wrapped looser so it looks the same size but has less paper on the roll? If it’s my imagination, someone tell me now. What I do know is that we are replacing the roll much more frequently than ever before and are paying more for the privilege of doing so. I’m sure the CEOs of the companies that manufacture and sell Charmin, Angel Soft and Scott don’t have to ration squares at their house. I guess they don’t dare tell you, “We are giving you less for more. Have a good day.”
Soda: Have you seen the new tiny soda cans on the grocery store shelves? “They” say it is to reduce the amount of sugar and the number of calories we consume to help fight the war on obesity. It feels like a way to give you less product for more money. What do YOU think?
Cereal: Have you noticed that, even though the box size doesn’t change, the amount of cereal in it seems to get lower and lower in the box? Yes, I know they shake down when they are shipped. They always have. But the box used to be fuller. What’s up with this?
Ice Cream: It seemed for a while that every time we bought ice cream, the container was smaller. Did you notice? The price didn’t go down but the container seemed to shrink. Some of the manufacturers have returned the size to a full quart or a half gallon again—some haven’t. Did you see a notice on the door of the ice cream section that said, “Dear Ice Cream Eater, we are giving you less but charging you more?” I didn’t either, but I changed brands to those who who didn’t change the size.
Berries: I love raspberries and blueberries, but have you noticed how tiny the container has become? The next time I buy one I’m going to count the number of berries in the box and figure out how much I pay per berry. I know that sounds petty but I think it’s a valid endeavor.
“New and Improved:” Beware when you see this. Often it is a catch phrase for we lowered the amount and raised the price and made the packaging look just a bit different.
These are just some of the more obvious things that have changed. I’d love to hear from you about what you’ve noticed.
What does this have to do with self improvement? It’s called “sticking up for yourself,” speaking up, standing up for what’s right, expecting integrity from those you have to rely on for food and supplies.
In the movie “Network” Peter Finch, playing a news anchor, had listeners yelling out their window “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” Maybe it’s time we do that.