The Grocery Shrink Ray: Quietly Stealing Our Food For Decades

The Grocery Shrink Ray: Quietly Stealing Our Food For Decades

The Grocery Shrink Ray is what we call it when the manufacturers of food and consumer goods make their products smaller––sometimes almost imperceptibly smaller––rather than raise prices. You know what it looks like: it’s why your toilet paper doesn’t quite fill the holder anymore, and why you don’t get as many servings of hot chocolate as you used to. We know that it’s been in action for decades, but is there proof? Yes: one need only turn to collectors of consumer ephemera like boxes and cans. [More]

The Norelco Auto Mignon held one 45 RPM record and deserves a space in the Distracted Driving Hall of Shame.

Record Players For Cars Seemed Like A Good Idea In 1956

The history of consumer goods is littered with brilliant ideas that weren’t quite ready for public consumption yet. In the ’50s, if you wanted to listen to some music in your vehicle, your choices were listening to the radio or forcing your family members to sing. Until the invention of the Highway Hi-Fi in-car record player changed all that. Or could have, if it had caught on with the public. [More]

(Welvis Tarn)

Doritos Means “Little Golden Things,” And They Were Invented At Disneyland

People might have freaked out when a Starbucks opened within the Main Street Bakery at Walt Disney World, but how soon we forget. Cross-branding is nothing new. When Disneyland opened, it featured a Mexican(ish) restaurant called Casa de Fritos run by the Frito company. It was on New Orleans Street, near another product-placement eatery: Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House. It at the Casa de Fritos that the beloved Dorito was invented. Yes, really. [More]

Let’s Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner From 1929

Let’s Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner From 1929

Sure, putting on a Thanksgiving dinner isn’t cheap or easy today, but what about mere weeks after the Stock Market Crash of 1929? A few years ago, I found a sample holiday menu plan in a newspaper article from 74 years ago, and wondered: what would this feast for four people for $7.89 cost today? [More]

The Nigerian Prince E-Mail Scam Is Actually 200 Years Old

The Nigerian Prince E-Mail Scam Is Actually 200 Years Old

E-mail is an invention of the last few decades, but scamming people? That’s an ancient calling. What you may not know when you toss those advance fee scam e-mails into your spam folder is that the senders are taking part in an old, old scam that dates back to the early 19th century. [More]

First-Ever TV Commercial Was 10 Seconds Long, Hawked Bulova Watches

First-Ever TV Commercial Was 10 Seconds Long, Hawked Bulova Watches

One Tuesday in July, the Dodgers were playing the Phillies and the game was televised. There’s nothing unusual about that, except that it was July 1, 1941, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, and only about 4,000 people in New York City even owned televisions. American life and attention spans changed forever during that broadcast, because Bulova paid TV station WNBT $9 to run the very first television ad. [More]