Grocery Shrink Ray Zaps Pampers

The grocery shrink ray doesn’t just target food. It’s coming after your baby’s diapers.

Reader Sean says:

I bought 6 boxes of the old ones for the “free” 24 diapers.

Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m sure you can just explain to your baby that it needs to stop pooing so much.

Or something.


Edit Your Comment

  1. If your baby is into “cruising,” then we have bigger issues than Grocery Shrink Ray.

    /obligatory cloth diaper comment that I don’t really support

  2. somuch says:

    cloth, cloth, cloth
    (I’m done)

  3. somuch says:

    cloth, cloth, cloth

    (I’m done)

  4. somuch says:

    double post is even bigger faux pas if original post is annoying

  5. MexiFinn says:

    Well, smaller food packages = less pooping.

  6. jeffs3rd says:

    Hmmmm, may have to make a quick trip to my local . . . somewhere, probably grocery store, and grab the boxes with the extra 4.

  7. mmaxfield says:

    How do you explain that to my 22 month old twins! I have to get them potty trained ASAP.

  8. Elvisisdead says:

    Actually, I just got an e-mail from Amazon about a new diaper system that uses bio-degradeable inserts in cotton butt covers. I would definitely try that.

    As the dad of a toddler who had diarrhea yesterday – I want no part of scraping loose poo off a cotton rag before I put it in my washing machine to swirl around in a big fecal matter stew just to call it “green”. Before anyone pipes the frick up about cloth diapers, think about it.

  9. BoomerFive says:

    Great, 1 week before my wife is due. Looks like plastic on the floor time.

  10. Veeber says:

    @Elvisisdead: The problem I had with the biodegradeable/flushable inserts was that there was this whole procedure for flushing them. If you weren’t home and didn’t have the “stick” to stir in the toilet you ended up throwing it out anyway or you risk clogging the toilet.

    Yeah, and as much as I want to help reduce the waste we generate, I just can’t bring myself to wash that many cloth diapers.

  11. mdn says:

    I don’t know why people get so bent out of shape over the shrink ray. The marketing departments do focus group studies and determine that consumers prefer the smaller, more convenient sizes, and that we’re willing to pay for that extra convenience. So that’s what they give us.

    Then, a year or two later, after running another focus group study, they discover that now we prefer larger, value/family sizes. So that’s what they give us, sometimes at a slightly lower price.

    If we could only figure out what we want, and STICK TO IT, then prices would stabilize. It’s all our fault. Really.

  12. zentex says:

    @Elvisisdead: I was raised on cloth diapers. There was a service back in the day that came around and picked the dirties and droped clean ones. It was much cheaper than buying disposables…

    but then again, this was in the 70’s. YMMV I guess

  13. Elvisisdead says:

    @Veeber: Actually, I live on around 1/2 acre, so I was thinking of digging a pit by the back fence and composting them.

    @zentex: As was I. People used black powder rifles to hunt before smokeless powder and cartridges, too. A service would be the only way I would consider it, but when I can buy a box big enough for the whole month for $32 from Costco, it can’t possibly be cheaper.

    @nobody – frankly, the risk of E coli contamination of my washing machine and entire family isn’t worth it. The one time you forget to put the bleach in with the rags…..

    Just waiting for an idiot to recommend following my kid around with a bowl and clicker-training her from 6 months…

  14. MrFreshy says:

    There have been quite a few “grocery shrink ray” stories lately.

    Is this not just our crazy inflation at work here?

    I mean, either the manufacturers of all these products can raise prices, or they can leave them alone to avoid the sticker shock, and reduce size.

    Either way, we are going to be paying more for less.

  15. TheBusDriver says:

    Smaller diapers = bigger messes

  16. Digital_Headache says:

    I recently created a mini-spreadsheet on diaper pricing after noticing this trend. Rather than rely on any single store (since manufacturers package differently for each one), I looked at the cost per diaper. The price also varies by toddler size!

    Basically it’s (the package price / # of diapers) = $ per diaper.

    The cheapest price I found was a toss-up between Amazon and 1-800-diapers @ $0.25 to $0.28 per diaper for the name brands and Target for their brand (on sale at $0.18 per diaper).

  17. purplesun says:

    @Elvisisdead: It can be insanely cheaper, depending on where you live.

    In my town, diaper service for my kiddo ran about $20/week. If it was just a little wet, washing it with some baking soda took care of it pretty quickly. Plus, potty training was a lot easier.

    And it’s amazing how quickly poopy ceases to phase you.

  18. SharkD says:

    There’s some interesting data on the effect that the super-absorbancy of disposable diapers have on potty training — apparently, they prolong it because the child isn’t as aware/uncomfortable. Furthermore, the plastic diapers retain much more heat near the child’s nether regions, which might be having a long-term impact on male fertility.

    @Elvisisdead: One word: Bleach.

  19. HappyPig says:

    Seventh Generation did this as well about six weeks ago. Right before my daughter was born, I went out and bought a pack of 54 disposable diapers. When she blew (literally) through those a week later, the packs were now at 44 diapers for the same price.

    Thankfully, we’re on cloth diapers now, although the disposables come in handy while traveling.

  20. @sharkd: Not to mention fungal infections, diaper rash, etc.

  21. pmathews says:

    I wonder if consumers will react to this the way people did when some company tried to reduce the number of tampons in a pack. I have unfortunately learned to live with reducing quantity’s of food but not products which have a set number of items that people use often.

  22. Lance Uppercut says:

    @purplesun: Are you claiming $20/week is less than $32/month?

    Diapers are the main reason I got a Sam’s Club membership.

    And after years of changing diapers it is still disgusting.

  23. Jackasimov says:

    @mdn: haha, that’s right it’s because we don’t know how to “market” to ourselves.

  24. Elvisisdead says:

    @sharkd: That’s a stretch. I have a girl, so male fertility isn’t a problem. She’s 21 months, and grabs her diaper and says “pee pee” when she needs to go, so potty training hasn’t been a problem, either. RMFP about forgetting bleach just once.

    Following that same logic, we shouldn’t use diaper cream because the irritation from diaper rash would be incentive to not wet the diaper, either. Really, diapers in general are a human health and convenience issue. People use disposable diapers to minimize the health risks of dealing with human fecal matter, no matter the human from whence it came. They also use them for the same reason that we use paper towels, napkins, and tissues – convenience. For the former two, we use kitchen towels and napkins. Neither of those get shit on, so I’m OK with washing those (in bleach). Handkerchiefs are foul, as well. Use a tissue and throw it out. Why keep a bacteria-laden rag in your pocket?

    @purplesun: How is $80/month cheaper than $32/month? Poop doesn’t phase me, but I don’t seek it out or prolong contact with it for any longer than absolutely necessary. I’ve been pooped ON, but it wasn’t fun, and poop on cloth is NOT cool.

  25. Shadowman615 says:

    Well I heard that disposable diapers cause children to develop learning disabilities. And that a children who wear disposables are 400% more likely to end up in prison.

    @Elvisisdead: I’m with you there. The extra money for never having to wash or reuse a diaper has been more than worth it for me. The rest of you can keep your cloth diapers along with all of their wonderfulness.

    Although my father tells me about the diaper services they had back when I was a baby. Something like that might actually make it worth it.

  26. Jackasimov says:

    You have no reason to boast until you’re using Chicago’s cloth toilet paper service.

  27. Mills says:

    Didn’t they learn from Tampax? There are some products that people will notice right away when they shrink.

  28. LionelEHutz says:

    mdn must be today’s designated corporate shill

  29. theblackdog says:

    @Shadowman615: So I should have a measles infected child running around with a major E-coli outbreak brewing just below his back?

    Thanks scaredy-cat “green” parents! ;-)

  30. WiZZLa says:

    @Mills: I was going to mention that same controversy from years back. It seems Procter & Gamble still haven’t learned their lesson; they’ll remember when all the letters start pouring in and they notice reduced sales.

  31. superlayne says:

    Ugh. I am adopting a potty trained child, screw reproduction.

  32. Snow says:

    We kept being told by everyone to use cloth when we had our baby. We lived in an apartment complex where we shared the washers and dryers at the time. As much as I disliked some of the neighbors, I didn’t want to subject them to sharing a washing machine used to wash poopy diapers of a kid that wasn’t even theirs.

    Baby Cheapskate blog does a good job of tracking diaper prices and sales, too, for those who buy.

  33. Norcross says:

    @Digital_Headache: wow. a math geek just like me. i’ve been tracking numerous things the same way. Same thing with formula. I found in some places where the smaller size had a lower $/oz than the larger!

  34. somuch says:

    And any parent(or person) who tells you that “poop in a washing machine is too icky” is having someone else do their laundry. Adult underclothes have contact with bacteria from fecal matter– even though no fecal matter is visible. The only difference is in quantity not in type.

    For me, living in NYC, the annoyance of always having to get diapers from the store (at $0.50-$0.75 each) was what got me.

    It’s so much easier to stick a modern style cloth diaper in the machine and run it a few times, than to deal with getting (and disposing of) pampers.

    The biggest con is the stupid product names. My child wears “bumgenius”. A great product with a ridiculous name. [Worst mommy product name “My Brest Friend” nursing pillow”]

    Diarrhea is diarrhea. Cloth is the same as disposables here.

    I’m not really an environmentalist. I’m just lazy.

  35. MissTicklebritches says:

    @MexiFinn: That’s exactly what I was thinking. Also, if you smoke while pregnant, your baby will be smaller. Oh, hell, these days you may as well just cork the kid.

  36. Wes_Sabi says:

    We use cloth pocket diapers at home and disposable diapers when going out with our toddler daughter. I installed a spray attachment on our toilet to make it easy to clean dirty diapers before putting them in the wash.

  37. Elvisisdead says:

    @somuch: It’s all about a PPM perspective. Sure, adult underwear has contact, but I don’t drop a toddler-sized load (which is almost adult), scrape it off, and then put it in the washer, either.

    If storage and supply chain is an issue, cloth might make sense. Out here in the suburbs, we blow the horn of plenty loudly and frequently. I can store a gross of diapers.

  38. kathyl says:

    Not to start wank, but I’ve been using cloth diapers for over two years and honestly, it’s just not that hard. It’s really not. No interest in going into detail to have people merely respond, “Gross” though.

    But on the Pampers issue, hey, someone’s got to pay Elmo’s appearance fee, right? They obviously had to reduce the number of diapers to pay for his face to be on your kid’s butt. Won’t SOMEONE think of Elmo and his needs?

  39. ironchef says:

    They also make disposable, flushable liners

    The outside is a leak proof, reusable, washable shell. The inside is a flushable liner. It’s actually pretty clever.

  40. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m just glad they haven’t come out with baby-sized Pamper g-strings as a way to save production costs.

  41. caederus says:

    Thank god our youngest (and last) just started pooping in the potty. Unfortunatly I now have to start planning that trip to Disney World we promised him.

  42. @Trai_Dep: I’m sure Victoria’s Secret is working on the marketing as we speak.

  43. Love the grocery shrink ray! And yeah, cloth is cheaper. For those squeamish, if you’re having a baby, you’re in for a treat–poop, puke, spit-up, mushed food everywhere, yeah, you get over that fast.

    When we did plastic dipes, we bought ’em at Costco. Cheap + the occassional coupon.

    Wonder why when we’re supposedly so concerned about $$, folks still don’t want to give up their “creature comforts”?

  44. I like product shrinkage versus raising prices. However, this shrinkage is not desirable. If I had to buy diapers, I would prefer a price increase over the product size shrinkage.

  45. ChuckECheese says:

    Let’s talk about the shrink ray some more. The insidious, manipulative aspect of it is that it postpones and confuses people’s ability to adjust to price increases. Another issue is that reducing product size/quantity leads to large 10-20% price increases. I suspect that these companies are not dealing with cost increases that necessitate immediate 20% retail price hikes. We aren’t Zimbabwe, or even Brazil.

    Why do I suspect Wal-Mart is behind so much of this shrinkery? As America’s retailing behemoth, they stand to lose a lot if their (mostly unaffluent) shoppers start seeing higher prices across the board. Those higher prices lead people to actually start consuming less, leaving things on the store shelf, like fruit snax, and paper towels.

    There’s a sort of snowballing effect here. People start out by realizing they can’t afford the same cart of groceries as before, and, before long, it’s the ’70s all over again, with coupon clubs, homemade pancake syrup, and consumer segments on the evening news showing us how to make a pound of hamburger feed 8. People might start maintaining and repairing things instead of buying new. WM doesn’t want us fixing stuff and finding ways to enlarge our casseroles, even if it’s for our own good.

    I recommend writing every manufacturer of goods you know is making smaller packages, telling them that you find this practice reprehensible.

  46. petitcerise says:

    Can we just stick to the issue? Cloth diapers are a personal choice. Just like nursing and every other thing that is related to child rearing.

    Anway, I like the regular Pampers as opposed to cruisers. You get more per box and they fit just as well. If you are registered with you can get coupons in the mail. Plus I like entering the codes for free stuff. There are always coupons in the Sunday paper as well. I have found that Target has good prices on them and they’ve had promotions the last 2 weeks for their value size boxed where you get gift card.

  47. booticon says:

    Is there anyway I could get a feed for all the stories *except* the Grocery Shrink Ray ones? They’re getting a little annoying IMO.

  48. charliew77 says:

    And the babies suffer… Does the Shrink Ray have no shame?

  49. Monchichi says:

    I have been thinking that the diaper company’s have been doing this for a while now. I have 4 kids ages 14, 13, 2 and 9 months.
    My first 2 kids never wore a size bigger then a size 3. I remember my daughter was completely trained by 3.
    Now my 2 younger ones are in a 6 (the 2 year old) ND a 3 (the 9 month old).
    Not only do I think they are giving you less in the boxes now, but I think they are also changing the weight limits on the diapers so you have to buy the bigger sizes which contain less diapers.

  50. FCL says:

    If there’s an upside to this, I guess it’s that the box looks a little smaller? Moreso than it should from removing four diapers from the box? Maybe? Unless I’m seeing things? It looks like those diapers are really crammed in there tightly. I know it’s kind of stupid to worry about waste in packaging when the product is disposable diapers, but still.

  51. KTCfun1 says:

    I just purchased the last bag of Huggies Pull-Ups that had 29 pull-ups, versus the 26 in the new package. It was not labeled a different price, but at the checkout was $1.50 more… incidentally, when I did the math, both bags came out to 50 cents a pull-up. So I paid the exact same price per piece! Thanks, Huggies, for making me buy another package one day sooner this next time… grr…