Even Garbage Bags Are Not Immune To The Grocery Shrink Ray

Now that you have to buy more packages of your favorite orange juice, ice cream, and butter to get the same amount of the product as you used to get in one package… you’re bound to have more garbage, right? Just a little bit more?

Well, that’s just too bad for you, because even the trash bags are not immune from the evil grocery shrink ray.

Reader annelise13 says:

As I was picking up an 80-pack of Glad trash bags at the store last week, I thought to myself “Didn’t there used to be around 90 per package for this exact same price?” Sure enough, when I checked the old box back at my house there were 96 in it!

You can’t win, can you?


Edit Your Comment

  1. MissTicklebritches says:

    It makes perfect sense. The other products you buy have gotten smaller, so you need fewer garbage bags to dispose of the waste. Done, and done!

  2. squatchie44 says:

    that extra 8 cents every two years is really going to kill me as well

  3. chiieddy says:

    Makes sense. Uses petroleum to make the bags.

  4. MissTicklebritches says:

    D’oh! Me not reed gud.

  5. geoffhazel says:

    @squatchie44: These sell for about $11.00 a box, or nearly 15 cents each. Using one bag a week, it’s more like a buck fifty a year.

    But we’ve seen posts here about far less money. It’s the damn principle of “hidden inflation” that I bet is NOT reflected in the government’s “inflation” figures.

  6. SonicMan says:

    In other news….. They sell 24 34 100 packs.. ect…

  7. timmus says:

    Now killers are going to have to make an extra trip to the store to get rid of their dead bodies.

  8. @squatchie44: But when ever single product shrinks, it really adds up.

    Another one to note is when something is offered in different flavors (like crackers). Often the boxes are all identical, but the contents differ by as much as 20%. I find that a little deceptive. You can’t expect the average consumer to perform that kind of math on every single item.

    Just like nutrition labels are standardized, I’d love to see price-per-ounce standardized. The better grocery stores already do this on the price sticker.

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    How dissapointing that the packaging doesn’t shout a slogan like New Size! Same Price!

  10. annelise13 says:

    It’s not the cost nearly as much as the trickiness of the whole thing – they charge the same price and use almost the exact same container so we won’t notice we’re getting less of the actual product.

    Sure, by my estimate this is only going to cost me about $7 extra a year, but it’s only one of many products I buy to maintain my household. If all of those products go up by the same amount, it’s really going to add up, isn’t it?

  11. RBecho says:

    @timmus: Thanks for the reminder. Don’t want to run out of bags while on my “errands”.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    Time to trade down.
    Yes, costs for petrochemical products have gone up. Won’t argue that. But with these big national brands you are also paying for MANY layers of corporate fat and marketing costs that are factored into the price.(Think animated cartoon ads and movie tie-ins)Find a good store brand or generic substitute (don’t experiment with your own money,ask a friend for their recommendations)and keep the difference in your pocket. Unless there is absolutely no substitute available (rare,these days)tell the big companies to stick it.

    Above all, remember the old saying-

    “Give a man a fish and three days later he will stink if he forgets that it is in his back pocket”

    “Teach a man to fish and there will eventually be a jerk at both ends of a fishing pole”

  13. Nytmare says:

    80 isn’t all that round of a number. A few months down the road, they’ll need to round it off better by going to 75. And hey, as long as they’re going that, why not go further and make it 72? Yeah, that’s it: 72 is the new 96.

  14. Anyone notice that yogurt containers have gotten smaller? Colombo, Breyer’s, and a few other have gotten smaller by a few ounces–same old price.

  15. The bags have started to get smaller too.

  16. karlrove says:

    To which I say and will continue to say: why can’t other countries consume less, so that mine may consume more?

  17. backbroken says:

    Have you seen what they’ve done to Klondike bars of ice cream? They must be 50% smaller.

    Yes, this isn’t news. But where else am I going to complain about it?

  18. Angryrider says:

    @Sir Winston Thriller: That old man lied! He said Colombo yogurt wasn’t going to shrink like namby pamby Dannon! I thought he liked things big! Unless…

    Everything’s getting smaller, and sooner or later it’ll be the plastic bags we carry our groceries.

  19. Munsoned says:

    It will show up in government inflation figures as people will ultimately have to spend more $$ to get the number of bags they need over a given period of time.

    All of these “shrinkage” stories make me think of Seinfeld.

  20. irfan says:

    @Belabras: 13 gallons isnt 13 gallons?

  21. Michifernication says:

    Everythings getting smaller? Or we’re just getting bigger….?????


  22. HeartBurnKid says:

    So, when did Reducto start consulting for food manufacturers?

    “Back off! I’ve got a shrink ray!”

  23. skc15 says:


    So I’m not insane! I hadn’t had a Klondike bar in a million years (apparently there were things that I wouldn’t do), and as I was eating it I couldn’t help but thinking that when I was younger, they were thicker.

  24. Paladin_11 says:


    Round about the time BirdGirl had him for lunch in the courtroom.

  25. The Porkchop Express says:

    @skc15: I actually thought that two days ago when I had one. That’s sad. Why the Klondoke bar?

  26. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Lo-Pan: obviously “Klondike” not Doke

  27. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @backbroken: Hmmm… my answer to “What Would You Do For a Klondike Bar” is now 50% less interesting.

  28. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    See, this is why being single and living 5blocks away from a grocery store is nice. Buy fewer groceries more frequently, get plastic bags, use the bags as trash bags. Haven’t bought trash bags in about 2 years.

  29. egosub2 says:

    @Applekid: Is it unchanged if two bars are on offer?

  30. I could swear they’ve always sold the 80 instead of 96 bags. But then there’s the picture proof right there.

    AND Alabama is backwards anyway, dammit!

  31. ruffedges says:

    This has been happening for years! A company is constantly looking for ways to make MORE money. OLD NEWS!

  32. Preyfar says:

    Eh. I don’t think this story is accurate as a “current day” thing. At the stores near me they have always stocked grocery bags that had varying quantities of bags for the exact same price. I kid you not. You could get the exact same garbage bags in a box that had (for example) 36, 40 or 44 bag count for the exact same price.

    It never made sense. I don’t think this is anything new. There are a lot of SKUs out there at the exact same price with different quantities.

  33. mbz32190 says:

    I don’t understand why people buy trash bags like these anyway. I use plastic grocery bags in my small trash cans, and for my kitchen trash can, I have a few gigantic of “business” type trash bags I bought from a janitorial supply company. These break down to a few pennies per bag, and have enough to last me several years.

  34. DamThatRiver says:

    Meh. I get bags from a friend who is a janitor at a middle school, and for smaller trash bins, I use plastic bags

  35. Gokuhouse says:

    @squatchie44: Well, an extra 8 cents per product multiplied over the course of a year….You might actually notice that one. Everything seems to be going up just a little at a time. Every grocery trip probably costs an extra buck or two and that can add up quickly.

  36. SkyeBlue says:

    I bought a “big” sized bag of Fritos yesterday and although the price was the same as it has been the bag looks like it has mysteriously shrunken at least 1/3!

  37. annelise13 says:

    @Preyfar: I’ve been buying the same size box at the same store for about the same price for 2+ years. There are smaller sizes, but there were no longer 96 count boxes available on the shelves at all. It was a change that was immediately obvious to me. This is not an instance where I simply bought a smaller box for the same price/bag.

  38. aristan says:

    @skc15: Oh thank god. lol They are smaller. I thought my hands had grown!

  39. lockdog says:

    I just noticed that Pampers are going the same way, for those of you who need such thing. Picked up the last 80 ct box on the shelf at Target the other day. All the other boxes on the shelf were 76ct. Strangely enough, the new boxes were also much smaller, at least 30 percent. So they are saving on both ends. Not a huge deal, as we seem to be headed into potty training turf.

    And before you ask, yes, we did try the generics and store brands, and honestly, they were awful. I’d have told you they were all pretty much the same if you had asked me two years ago, but the pampers win in fit and absorption hands down. It could be because my son is blessed like me with being quite thin, and also like me cursed with having no ass.

  40. zingbot says:

    @dry-roasted-peanuts: We haven’t bought bags in about that long either. They are a waste of money and oil when you get a grocery bag with nearly every purchase. We are in the odd position of having to make an effort to remember to get bags (rather than bringing our own) once in awhile so we don’t run out.

    Small apartment, small footprint.

  41. spinachdip says:

    The new packaging doesn’t have an Easy Spout? Quelle disappointment.

    @lockdog: Not to get too off-topic, but we buy diapers almost exclusively at Amazon these days, and they’ve stayed around $40 for 176-pack of size 3 (the price fluctuates, but not by much). It doesn’t really make sense to get anything smaller unless we run out and can’t wait for a shipment or the baby’s moving onto a new size (even then, there’s enough of an overlap that you probably don’t need anything smaller than a 100-pack). It’s not like she’s going to stop peeing and shitting.

  42. jusooho says:

    @DamThatRiver: That is fine if you steal plastic bags from a school, but for those of us who pay for them, this is an interesting news story…

  43. godlyfrog says:

    What’s the phrase in the lower right of the 80-count box? It looks like it says 3-something, so it may be a thicker bag. That can explain why it’s a smaller box. The garbage bags I buy have a “scented” version that costs the same, just has less bags in it. I wonder if this is the same type of thing?

  44. u1itn0w2day says:

    Real slick how the package is almost identical in size and graphics/printing-except for the 80 count.

    I compare this to bleach shrink,1 gallon of bleach was reduced to 96oz then 60oz.They were shelved and advertised with price in BOLD print and the size in FINE tiny print.And the bottle was packaged the same except for the print that said 96oz.

    Potato chips and pretezels have been doing the samething at the dollar stores.16oz down to 15 oz,used to have a 18-20 oz bonus bag.Potato chips are really bad dropped from 11 oz to 8 oz and now 5 oz.

  45. now thats a memory from hell

  46. littlemsemperor says:

    That’s what I was thinking, only you need the same *number* of bags to make sure you keep buying them.
    You just need smaller bags because the items you’re throwing away are smaller.

  47. The Dude says:

    Since we live in a society that does allow competition, you are free to compare the value of the new offering to other bags on the market.. Or wait, were you trying to make some ‘Glad is evil’ statement?

  48. garbagehead says:

    I heard Trojan is going to start making their regular condoms smaller as well.

  49. Krycek says:

    Another victim of this, and unfortunately I don’t have photos, but the State Fair corn dogs boxes have gone from 16 down to 14 and the price has stayed the same.

  50. Chairman-Meow says:

    Wait !! Where’s the statement from the spokesperson of the “Glad Family of Products” telling me how less of their product will “enhance my shopping experience” ?

  51. mike says:

    I hate it when companies do this. They should at least tell you they are shrinking the sizes with some sort of note.

    I would REALLY love it they did something like “Now 10% SMALLER!”

    No dice…

  52. cetiel says:

    Every few years when I visit my family in Brazil the packages are noticeably smaller at the grocery store. That’s been happening for a good 15 years there now under the same premises as here, obviously. I wonder if they don’t notice it as it happens gradually, but given how tiny the packages are now I don’t know how they’d not notice compared to 15 years ago. I’ve been waiting for the same to happen here for a while.

  53. annelise13 says:

    @godlyfrog: It says “3-Ply Strength.” The old box indicates it is also “3-Ply Strength” on the back. Maybe they were trying to con us all into thinking there was some sort of added value?

  54. vladthepaler says:

    I don’t understand people who buy plastic bags. Stores give them to you for free to carry your purchases home in. That means you have enough plastic bags to throw away everything you buy. So why do you need to buy more plastic bags?

  55. Morton Fox says:

    Use plastic grocery bags as trash bags. It’s a waste to buy those plastic bags new.

  56. ironchef says:

    I’ve started dumping trash into the trashcan direct and hosing off the plastic inset pail.

    Garbage bags seems like a huge waste of money. It’s only a carrying device to bring from your kitchen to the dumpster if you think about it.

  57. Consumer007 says:

    There should be a federal law that when companies do this it has to say in the shiny ad WOW letters: Same price, less value.

  58. Consumer007 says:

    @ironchef: Yes, I’m sure you enjoy the ants and cockroaches all over your kitchen as well.

  59. goodkitty says:

    @Consumer007: Huh? The ants and roaches are there whether there’s a bag inside or not. The animals get at it whether the bag is tied up or not. I often do the same thing as ironchef, but only because I’m lazy or out of bags, not because it’s economical. If the trash isn’t disgustingly slick or wet, it’s really not necessary at all. For the slick and wet trash, well that’s why I save all my plastic grocery bags.

    I can see with the smaller boxes how this may be more about transportation savings than ripping off the customer. Certainly getting 15% more boxes of your product in a truck is going to look good on the balance sheets. The extra profit from the bait and switch is just gravy.

  60. ShariC says:

    I know I’m alone in my thinking, but this isn’t really so “tricky”, is it? They aren’t lying. The information is right there where customers can see it. While they aren’t advertising the reduction in size, they aren’t hiding it.

    If consumers are too inattentive to notice, then I see no reason not to “increase prices” in this way. They know the psychology of buyers. They look at price first and pay attention to little else.