Grocery Shrink Ray Zaps Scott Toilet Paper

While watching his kids play around with less-than-sanitary but delightfully inexpensive empty toilet paper rolls, Art discovered the height of the newer rolls had shrunk. This is definitely the work of the dreaded Grocery Shrink Ray.

He writes:

We buy the 12 pack of the regular Scott Tissue 1,000 sheet toilet paper. The kids like to line up the empty tubes on the windowsill and we noticed that the width of the new rolls has shrunk from 4 1/2 inches to 4 1/8 inches. That’s 8.3% less product for the same price.

Times are tough for toilet paper shoppers now that they need to tote graphing calculators around to see which brands give them the most value per softness per square inch.


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  1. Howie411 says:

    People buy Scott’s toilet paper? That stuff is like 0 ply, its like wiping your behind with sandpaper.

    • bsh0544 says:

      Scott’s used to be quite good value. I hate the overly fluffy shit, it always disintegrates in my jungle of ass-hair and is exceedingly expensive. Scott’s on the other hand was durable and yet not uncomfortable. We just bought a new package of toilet paper a few weeks ago, however, and much to my dismay it is considerably less soft than the few rolls of old-Scott we still had in one of our bathrooms.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        ” I hate the overly fluffy shit, it always disintegrates in my jungle of ass-hair and is exceedingly expensive”


      • Jfielder says:

        I have also noticed this… It’s like copy paper now. Yeeeoouch!

      • strells says:

        Gross, but that’s my feelings about it as well. Been using Scott’s all my life. With the soft stuff, we go through that way faster. Scott’s really does last longer.

      • JMILLER says:

        wow, of all the comments I would expect to see on Consumerist, this one was unexpected in any way shape or form. Some things just don’t need to be said. I just wonder if you are a boy or girl.

    • FarkonGnome says:

      Your comment reminded me of the old John Wayne joke….

      There’s an indian who walks into a 7-11 and asks if they have toliet paper. The clerk says yes and takes him to the approiate aisle.

      The indian asks “how much is this White Cloud toliet paper?”
      The clerk says “2.49 a roll.”
      The Indian says “oh, no, too much!!”
      Then he asks “how much is the Scott’s toliet paper?”
      The clerk says “1.99 a roll.”
      The indian says, “oh, no, still too much!!!” Then he asks “how much is this no name toliet paper?”
      The clerk says “.10 a roll.”
      The indian says “I’ll take 10 rolls.”

      The Indian goes home and comes back the next day. He says to the clerk “I have new name for no name toliet paper. John Wayne toliet paper.”
      The clerk asks “why would you want to name it that?”
      To which the Indian replies “because it’s rough, and tough, and doesn’t take no shit from Indians!”

    • kerrington.steele says:

      it’s actually the best for use in septic-tank systems, IIRC (my mom told me this, but maybe she was only justifying her buying it?)

      • craptastico says:

        my mom and dad used to say the same thing when i was growing up shen we had a septic. of course i’ve learned as i’ve gotten older that their both pretty cheap. it’s so thin you need to use twice as much so in the long run i don’t see how it is any safer

      • minjche says:

        Scott Naturals bath tissue breaks up even easier, but you don’t get much per roll.

    • TasteyCat says:

      Scott Soft is decent.

    • minjche says:

      Scott 1000 lasts a long time, and Scott Extra soft is pretty soft for the price.

      Scott is and has been a bargain brand, so to expect too much from it is (as silly as this sounds when describing bath tissue) taking it out of context.

      Also, as an FYI, “Scott” is not a company anymore, it’s now a brand of Kimberly-Clark.

    • dg says:

      “My man uses Macho Wipe, or he doesn’t use anything at all!” — Lorraine Newman, Saturday Night Live, Circa 1970

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Scott is the only brand I’ve used for years. It lasts a long time, and you can use less because it isn’t all weird and fluffy. I HATE fluffy, linty TP.

  2. opticnrv says:

    I’m eagerly awaiting the Grocery Store Growth Ray where manufacturers start selling ‘supersized’ versions of their products that are actually the original size, but now cost more.

    • mharris127 says:

      With paper towels, that is true today. Twenty years ago, all paper towels were the size of the extra-large version sold today. Prices have increased at least 200 per cent since then on paper towels (using a per square meter basis).

  3. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Unfortunately, my ass hasn’t gotten any narrower to accommodate this change.

  4. smo0 says:

    Regardless of the brand…. you don’t fuck with toilet paper… that’s messed up… I actually want to write a letter….

    …. and here I thought “breakthrough” was a problem….. le ew.

  5. AI says:

    In Scott’s defence, a standard asshole is not nearly as wide as their old roll, so people will likely not care as long as the length stays the same.

  6. cosmic.charlie says:

    Well the reason people don’t like the smaller rolls is that they don’t understand why we have made them smaller. If they did, they would thank us for sure!

  7. scoosdad says:

    Did the actual square inches per sheet or square feet per package change, or are we just making assumptions of that because the width of the roll changed? Who knows, maybe Scott did a study and determined that a longer but narrower sheet is what the public really needed.

    This, of course, will trigger the need for new ANSI and ISO standards for the width of toilet paper rollers and dispensers. This could have global economic implications.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      I was wondering the same thing but for some reason couldn’t respond a while ago.

    • nybiker says:

      I haven’t had to buy a new pack yet (but will be in the next few days) but I have roll here that shows 1,000 sheets and the sheet size is an already shrunken (from the good old days) 4.5 x 3.7 inches. The good old days measurement was 4.5 (w) x 4.0 (L). That is why you don’t see their ads anymore where they tout the fact that they last longer than other rolls. 4,000 inches vs. 3,700 inches.

    • aloria says:

      Yeah, perhaps some people were complaining about the wide roll not fitting in some holders or something similar.

  8. Big Mama Pain says:

    I KNEW IT! I get Scott’s because I can’t stand soft tp-doesn’t feel like it does the job- and last 12 pack I bought was noticeably even more paper like and the roll felt weird. The tp doesn’t even stay on the roll, you can spin it around like it’s not wrapped on there properly. Has anyone noticed the new “soft” tp Scott’s has now? My first thought was they went and made their regular tp even crappier so that you buy their more premium version. Fuckers.

  9. EdK says:

    “We’ve made this product improvement due to ‘customer demand’.

    Scotts takes customer satisfaction ‘very seriously'”.

  10. winnabago says:

    What is it about toilet paper that brings out so much bad language in us?

  11. fpage77 says:

    I don’t see how it being less wide would hinder “taking care of business”.

    • chaesar says:

      agreed, who out there uses 100% of the paper’s surface?

      I mean who really covers every square millimeter with their filth?

      • craptastico says:

        but you may be encroaching on the safety margin that seperates a clean hand and a dirty hand

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Indeed. Reminds me of a wonky device that used to be advertised on rural northern IL roads for helping you manipulate your toilet lid while avoiding the dreaded “Fecal Fingers.”

  12. ShruggingGalt says:

    Let’s just roll out the three shells and be done with it.

  13. Anathema777 says:

    Less than sanitary? What are you doing with your cardboard toilet paper tubes?

    • Razor512 says:

      With some brands, the cardboard tube is softer than the toilet paper it’s self.

      anyway, the roll has been in a bathroom for a while, it wont be the cleanest thing. He should instead have his kids use the paper towel cardboard rolls

      • RandomHookup says:

        Except the damn thing has been wrapped in TP the entire time it’s been in the bathroom. Your toothbrush will have more exposure to nasty stuff that the tube.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          also, if it’s dry [unlike a toothbrush] it will be a less hospitable surface for bacterial growth

    • aloria says:


  14. dolemite says:

    I’ve kind of suspected this…I’ve used Scott for years, and recently it just doesn’t seem to last as long as it used to.

    And no, I don’t find it abrasive or thin or cheap or anything. I think it’s great, and I much prefer it over overly thick, perfumed, lotion riddled types.

  15. amgriffin says:

    We need more bidets.

  16. BuddhaLite says:
  17. mbz32190 says:

    I just buy whatever is cheapest and combine it with coupons/other store promotions. I loaded up last week at ShopRite on Angel Soft 12 packs, which were 2.33(ish), a great price to begin with. Plus, I had 50 cent coupons, which usually double, but this week they were tripling. Can’t do much better than 83cents/12 rolls (of course the rolls themselves are small, but whatever). Should be set for several months. And from someone who works in the grocery industry, most store-branded no frills rolls are made by Scott anyway, so you might as well get those.

  18. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I’ve noticed other brands have shrunk as well. And the prices still went up. It’s now just over $20 for one of the large packs of shrunk Charmin at Sam’s club. $20 for toilet paper, sheesh.

    • redskull says:

      Charmin’s almost to the point where it’d be cheaper to just wipe with dollar bills.

      This is probably one of those industries where they know they can charge whatever they want, and people will pay it because what else are you gonna do? Scoot in the grass?

  19. nybiker says:

    I’m showing an 11%+ reduction in quantity (at least square footage-wise). Assuming 115 sq ft in a current roll, and 102 in the new one, it’s about 11%. If you assume 103 in the new roll, then it’s a 10%+ reduction. Either way, I will be examining the brands later on this week at BJ’s. And I will bring my calculator (good thing my cell phone has one).
    Regardless of whose calculation is correct, the net result is less for more $$$$.
    We could always go back to ‘making our own at home’ –

  20. rahntwo says:

    Didn’t Sheryl Crow suggest this strategy a few years ago? No wait , that was one square per episode. Can ya spare a square?

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      No, I don’t have a square to spare. I can’t spare a square.

      (especially now that the rolls are smaller)

  21. mrhappydude says:

    i have noticed in my bathroom the toilet paper doesn’t stay on the little prongs that stick out to hold it, i never considered that the manufacturers would adjust the size to skim a little more profit

  22. evnmorlo says:

    Time to switch to a bidet. Ahhhhh

  23. Red Cat Linux says:

    A correction, if I may – The amount of paper on the roll may not have changed at all.

    The thing they did was to make the core roll shorter in length, but then to add insult to that, they made the diameter of the rolls bigger (a.k.a. a Mega Roll) so that you had to use those annoying extend-o-holders for your TP holder.

    Unless, like me, you’ve got a TP stand that the rolls slide into and it sits in the corner. Of course, the Mega-Rolls will not fit, and the extender does no good. I found myself amused by how aggravating something simple as where to store my bathroom stationary might be.

    If it’s of any consolation (and I know it’s not) Scotts’ Extra Soft went the same way. Like, who at Scott had a mental fart and decided that they’d make the roll shorter, so that they could make it fatter, add a free extended roll holder and then piss off the customers for whom it’d do no good in the hopes of convincing the rest that they were getting ‘mega rolls’ for the same price as the normal rolls?

  24. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Indeed. Reminds me of a wonky device that used to be advertised on rural northern IL roads for helping you manipulate your toilet lid while avoiding the dreaded “Fecal Fingers.”

  25. H3ion says:

    Man #1 – Do you use your right hand or your left hand when you wipe yourself?

    Man #2 – Come to think of it, I use toilet paper.


  26. MedicallyNeedy says:

    WOW! Brown toilet paper! There’s a money saver in itself!

  27. MedicallyNeedy says:

    Scotts response:
    “The size change has had more positive feedback then any other product change.
    Our efforts in saving the environment have been acknowledged by leaders in the green community.
    Although we did receive some negative feedback, we attribute that commentary to nothing but a bunch of giant assholes.”

  28. kmkazoo says:

    Oh, heck, they’re all doing this. The last large multi-pack of Northern tissue I bought, months ago, was ONE HALF INCH narrower than previous purchases. What a joke. Next purchase will just be Costco’s TP, which I’ve heard is really good.

  29. lawgirl502 says:

    So now it takes 500 squares to wipe an ass?

  30. lawgirl502 says:

    So now it takes 500 squares to wipe an ass?

  31. lawgirl502 says:

    So now it takes 500 squares to wipe an ass?

  32. Red_Eye says:

    Glad to finally see this in consumerist. I emailed photos of Georgia Pacific shrinking the rolls this way on 10/3/08 and was ignored, didn’t even get a canned response.

    • minjche says:

      I had an article posted and didn’t receive a response. They don’t promise responses so don’t act like you’re owed one.

  33. minjche says:

    This may have been a decision between making the roll smaller and keeping the same price point or keeping the same size roll and raising the price.

    Raw material costs go up. While increased margins are a goal of any company, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only deciding factor.

  34. ames says:

    What in the world is “less than sanitary” about empty toilet paper rolls?

  35. KAnne123 says:

    Even if Scotts rolls are a bit shorter, they still last substantially longer than any other brand. We buy the huge jumbo pack from Sam’s and have tp for months and months on end. Any other brand I’ve tried (softer, fluffier, lotion-ized, mega roll, super sized) seems like we go through way too quickly, even with just my fiance and myself.

    IMO, they’re still the best tp value wise even if they are a bit more narrow.

  36. BradenR says:

    Shopping for toilet paper or paper towels, it pays to take along your luggage scale. The sales aren’t really sales quickly show up. Just clip the scale on the corner of the package and note the weight. Then compare to other brands being considered; cost per ounce.

  37. bumblefoot2004 says:

    That’s tough shit.