Sure, you can call Coke’s new 7.5-ounce mini can an exciting new marketing ploy, giving customers a nice, even, guilt-free 90-calorie gulp of soda. But reader Josh sees the change for what it is: a fancied-up version of the Grocery Shrink Ray. And not even his wife can convince him to buy them anymore.
My wife sent me to Walmart last night to pick up several things, one of which was an 8 pack of the 8oz cans of Diet Coke. Now, being a good Consumerist, I’ve known for some time that these mini cans are the absolute worst deal you could possibly get, even at Walmart. Hardly ever on sale, an 8 pack (64oz for those mathematically inclined) of these will set you back around $3.50, while a 12 pack of 12oz cans (144oz) usually run between $3.50 and $4. So, already you can tell that this is a horrible deal. I’ve explained this time and again to my wife but she fails to see the big picture and notes that they’re “just enough to satisfy my craving for Diet Coke without making me commit to an entire cup and a half of the stuff that she will never finish and end up wasting”.
So, I made my way to Walmart and grabbed the other items before making my way to the beverage aisle. When I got to where the cans should be, I didn’t find what I was looking for. Traditionally the cans were in a cardboard holder and looked like a smaller version of a 12-pack. What I did find were cans held together by the dolphin-unfriendly plastic rings. Also amiss, the cans were no longer short and squat. Instead they resembled a “Mini Me” tall can of beer or those weird 6oz cans of orange juice you sometimes find in rest area vending machines. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the volume of each can had not only become taller and thinner, but also .5 oz less. That’s right. These cans are now 7.5oz instead of 8oz. Holy cow, Coke has been hit by the Grocery Shrink Ray.
But surely they can’t be charging the same for this obviously less-than-normal amount? Oh yes they are. Not only are they charging the same price, they didn’t even bother to change out the aisle tag. It still shows the old 8oz cans listed and total volume of 64oz. The UPC codes are the same, so all the stockers had to do was put the new product in the same place and everything scanned as normal. I did manage to find an old 8-pack in the section (the last one, I might add) and took a comparison shot, along with a picture of a regular Coke can up close and the aisle tag (I couldn’t find one for the Diet Coke so the regular Coke tag will have to suffice). This will be the last time I let my wife manipulate me into buying these. There is now the same amount in these 8 cans as there are in 5 – 12oz cans…which, at this particular time, were on special 2/$5 for 12-packs. (I apologize for the blurriness…taken with an iPhone 3G).
So, financially speaking, one actually is actually better off drinking 2/3 of a 12-ounce can of Coke and throwing the rest away. God bless America!