Adapting to the threat of informed consumers, the insidious Grocery Shrink Ray has mutated to enlarge select items. The Grocery Shrink Ray is seen here needlessly inflating the size of the scoop bundled with Cheer Color Guard detergent. Is Cheer encouraging consumers to burn through their product faster, or is the new Cheer simply less effective? Reader Mark investigates, inside…
Apparently the super-market shrink-ray has a “reverse” option too. I’ve been collecting and re-purposing old scoops from laundry detergent boxes for years now, and have almost exclusively been a Cheer Color Guard (or it’s current incarnation) customer during that time. Rather than use the scoop from a new box, I usually just continue using the previous scoop. Therefore I can’t tell you how old this one is, but it’s at least three or four years old.
So the scoop on the left is an older one, used in the cheer boxes many years ago. The one on the right is a new one from a box I purchased this month. Notice anything immediately? If you’re like me, you don’t sit down and painstakingly measure out your detergent, you eyeball the partially filled scoop and pour. For years I’ve used about 3/4 scoop to wash my clothes, no problems. If I applied that logic to the same scoop from a new box of Cheer, I’d have been using significantly more in my laundry.
However, to give Cheer a fair chance, I decided to measure them out as per the directions on the scoop. Each has 3 levels. Medium, Large and Heavy Soil for the old scoop and a 1 and 2 for the new scoop. The new scoop however has three lines on it and the directions state they are for Medium Loads, Large Loads or Heavy Soiled Medium Loads and Large Heavy Soiled Loads. So to try and judge fairly, I filled the large scoop to the maximum amount (3rd line from the top) with water.
Looking at the two side by side, it actually appears that the larger scoop requires less detergent for a large heavy soiled load. Perhaps Cheer tweaked their formula over the years and I’m judging them harshly. So I decided to see, because it seems to take a completely full old scoop to equal what a 3/4 full new scoop does. So I poured the larger scoop into the smaller, attempting to transfer all of the liquid to the old one. I couldn’t do it.
If you’ll notice, not only is the smaller scoop completely full (including the handle) but there’s still water left in the large scoop. Two and one-half tablespoons worth.
So my conclusions are either Cheer is either trying to gently encourage us to use more washing powder than necessary, or they’ve reformulated their detergent over the years to actually be less effective.
If you catch the Grocery Shrink Ray in action, approach warily with a camera, and send the results to the tipline.