EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 1, 2013

Bargain shoppers outraged over shrinking product sizes

The topic of product ‘shrink’ - when manufacturers reduce the size of a product while keeping the selling price the same - continues to be a hot one. I’m irked by this trend, but I had no idea how incensed my readers had become with smaller sizes. You guys have been busy reading packages, comparing labels, ounces and volume. And you should - it’s your money, and you should make informed purchases.

Here’s a new roundup of reader mail from my readers regarding product shrink.

Dear Jill,

In my role stocking shelves at a local store I’ve noticed packages of toilet paper getting smaller. The number of rolls is the same, and the number of sheets is the same. However the width of the rolls is shrinking. When you shop for TP, look to see if one package is taller than another and compare the square footage of the package.

Mr. C.

Dear Jill,

Got another shrinking product for you! I bought some cone-shaped air fresheners (name brand, I’m sure you know which one!) and these cones have always been 7.5 ounces. Well, they designed the cone to be ‘prettier’ with a teardrop shape. But guess what else? The cones are now 7 ounces, not 7.5. Not nice at all, and I noticed the price didn’t go down either.

Holly A.

Reader Andrea has noticed a different kind of product ‘shrink’ - an increase in the amount of water used in her favorite spreads and sauces. They’re literally being watered down.

Dear Jill,

Thinking about your column on smaller products prompted me to see if any of your readers have noticed watered-down things. I first noticed apple butter poured out of the jar instead of needing to be spooned. Then it was thinner enchilada sauce and hot dog chili sauce. I stop buying brands when I notice this. Packaging is deliberately misleading and always has been in some form, but this is nearly criminal. It tells me that business is not a rosy as we would be led to believe, if companies need to virtually rob their loyal customers to make a profit. I would rather pay more for a quality item than be treated as if I’m stupid and won’t notice the change. That’s why I no longer patronize these brands. Do you think they will notice?

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