Grocery Illusion Ray Altered The Packaging On Deodorant

Reader Ben seems to have identified a phenomenon that could be called the Grocery Illusion Ray with 3 oz. Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal at Walmart. The pricing and content are the same but the newer packaging is wider, with a larger roll-on ball, giving the impression that you’re getting more odor-eating goodness for your dollar.

Have you spotted any examples of the Grocery Illusion Ray in your shopping journeys?


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  1. Trollez says:

    Please don’t sit next to me on the T in Boston if you’re sporting that this summer. At least it says New Packaging, not bigger product.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      yeah, really.
      I have exes and friends who use “crystal” deodorant.
      All of them smelled like b.o. by the end of the day.

      • richco says:

        I have been using it for years. Works great for me. Especially before I play a show, then I am daisy-fresh after I am done :)

        All deodorant has a saturation point where it can do no more for you.

    • sonneillon says:

      I have found that the Axe deodorant works pretty well.

  2. tedyc03 says:

    I don’t know that deception is the intent here. Looks like they improved the design of the packaging to make application better.

    Perhaps there’s deception here (for example you’ll also use the product faster) but they didn’t change the amount or raise the price, so how is this a problem?

    Also, the Grocery Shrink Ray is a Consumerist original. Please don’t muck it up by inventing new ones.

    • grucifer says:


      I was thinking the same thing about improved application.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      The deception is that if you don’t read the packaging closely, you might think you’re getting more for the same old price. The package is made to look like it contains more.

      • Anathema777 says:

        So companies should never change their packaging (even if it could improve product application) because people might get vaguely confused?

      • DanRydell says:

        Is it? Looking at the picture it’s not clear which is supposed to be bigger. One is taller, the other is wider – but only near the top.

  3. Gulliver says:

    So you are getting the same amount, for the same price and this is a bad thing? Changing packaging is not that uncommon. Maybe they found people like a larger surface area when rolling on deodorant. Not everything manufacturers do is some evil plot. Sometimes they take surveys and find that their customers prefer one way over another.

  4. BigDave says:

    Um, you mean “Deodorant”

    • shepd says:

      I was about to say that. “Deodorant” needs those finger quotes because this product is actually only an antiperspirant and has no deodorizing properties at all.

      Or am I late to the party?

  5. aloria says:

    Just stop kidding yourself and use nothing at all. I’ve never met someone who uses that crystal junk who wasn’t positively rank.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I don’t understand how they don’t notice that they smell.
      I had to tell a friend and an ex that they smelled and they seemed surprised.

      • aloria says:

        Maybe it’s sort of like those people whose houses constantly smell like cat pee or who work in Bath and Body Works or live near a paper mill… you’re exposed to an odor for so long that you stop noticing it.

  6. Frankz says:

    All they did was change the packaging. They never, in any way, shape, or fashion, claimed or intimated that they increased the amount.
    If some idiot shopper can’t tell the difference, then he shouldn’t be out shopping at all.
    This is NOT newsworthy.
    Pretty pathetic of Consumerist to post every idiot that gets confused by his own stupidity.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      No, it’s still intended to trick people. Thank god you’re too brilliant to ever fall for something like that, but everyone who shops is a consumer, not just the geniuses like you. There are the elderly, the young, the borderline low-IQ, the stressed-out mommies everyone is usually so supportive of.

      The point isn’t that you could catch their deception. The point is that they tried to pull it.

      • Anathema777 says:

        But there isn’t any deception to catch. There’s just a redesigned package the says “New Packaging!” on it.

      • minjche says:

        I think you’re reading too far into it. It’s a new package, and you have no solid idea what motivated it, but you’re assuming the worst of the choices.

        You’re giving consumerism a bad name.

      • Gulliver says:

        Explain to us geniuses what that “deception” is? Is it selling less. Oh never mind its the same amount. Is it increasing the price? Nope, still the same. Is it not telling anybody? Oh wait there is the HUGE “NEW PACKAGING” printed on the bottle.
        What an evil company, they are out to deceive people into buying their product in the same amount at the same price. Its an outrage.

      • DanGarion says:

        What are you suggesting they do? Never change their package? Have the government regulate packages so all products look exactly the same on the shelf? Put the item in a box with 72 PT font stating the the product package has changed but the amount included is the same? Or how about packaging both the old and new package together as a twofer pack so people can see both the old and new packaging…?

        I really don’t understand why you are automatically thinking this manufacture is trying to deceive anyone, especially if they didn’t put less in it, and they didn’t change change the price…

      • DanRydell says:

        I think you’re delusional if you think there is an intent to deceive here.

      • ablestmage says:

        I don’t see any impression whatsoever that they’re suggesting you’re getting more, in any possible way to look at it. What I suspect is more likely is either (a) they discovered a more cost-effective way to manufacture the dispenser, such as to make changes to the production machines that resulted in one less step to need to troubleshoot or from a slightly different material that is still as durable but required a slightly augmented design, or (b) the larger roll-on ball dispenses the chemical quicker and may be used up faster, resulting in more frequent repeat product purchases.

    • Travtastic says:

      Well I hope you’re not too attached to your vowels there.

    • ChicagoDrew says:

      Exposing the lies of the deodorant industry is Priority One. There may be no lies to expose, but that sort of thinking won’t stop the lies.

  7. stevenpdx says:

    Deodorant, please.

  8. pantheonoutcast says:

    “The pricing and content are the same but the newer packaging is wider, with a larger roll-on ball, giving the impression that you’re getting more odor-eating goodness for your dollar.”

    Only to an illiterate. Both packages say “3 ounces.” But I guess that this kind of story is newsworthy to someone who spelled the word “Deodorant” incorrectly three times in the same article.

    “Have you spotted any examples of the Grocery Illusion Ray in your shopping journeys?”

    No, because I’m not an anal-retentive lunatic.

  9. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I wonder if that roll-on applicator is genuinely better, or just designed to use more product… the taller skinnier one does look like it might be a tad unwieldy to use.

    • milrtime83 says:

      That’s what would have guessed.

    • Jironimo says:

      This is what I was thinking. This is pretty smart of them if the roll-on ball would actually put more product on you with the same amount of strokes by the user.

      This reminds me of when Colgate increased the size of the opening on the toothpaste a long time ago in order to increase consumption and sales. That one is a classic.

  10. damageinc says:

    “The pricing and content are the same but the newer packaging is wider, with a larger roll-on ball, giving the impression that you’re getting more odor-eating goodness for your dollar.”

    Do you also get the impression that when you crush up a bag of potato chips, you have more of them because there are now more chips in the bag?

  11. DanGarion says:

    What’s the problem though? 3 ounces is 3 ounces, regardless of the package.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      That’s obvious to you. It might not be to everyone. Not everyone reads every label carefully, especially on products they always buy. I know you’re all saying “well, they should”. Yes, and this company should not try to be deceptive. If they designed it for better functionality, fine. But if they designed it so it would look bigger and make people who don’t read the label carefully think they’re getting more, then not ok, even if you’re smart enough not to fall for it.

      • minjche says:

        That’s an issue of personally responsibility. You’re putting the responsibility on the manufacturer, when really the consumer should read the label and be responsible for their own actions.

        Heck, they even put a “new packaging” sticker on the new packaging. How is that trying to deceive anyone when it’s so upfront to point out the new package?

      • Anathema777 says:

        “If they designed it for better functionality, fine. But if they designed it so it would look bigger and make people who don’t read the label carefully think they’re getting more, then not ok, even if you’re smart enough not to fall for it.”

        So why are you assuming they designed it to look bigger rather than to improve the function? Hint: just because Phil says that’s the reason doesn’t make it so.

        • Gulliver says:

          Why isn’t that ok? Have you ever sold your house? When you do it is advised you de-clutter. Why you ask? TO make the actual square footage look bigger. There are reasons you do not paint certain colors, they make rooms appear smaller. Male porn stars shave their pubes to make their members appear larger. Women wear bras that make their breasts appear larger. Women shave their arm pits and legs to make it appear they do not have them naturally. I guess you are against all these things that are designed to “deceive” people

          • Anathema777 says:

            I think you’re responding to the quote in my comment (from RadarOReally), which I vehemently disagree with.

      • DanGarion says:

        Great, let’s be the assumption police! Thousands of products have their packaging changed every year why is this one being pointed out like the company is being deceptive.

        Looking at the packaging I would think most people would have assumed that the item on the right has LESS in it, since the bottle is shorter. Yet here we have a company that didn’t shrink the size and they are still getting chastised for changing the shape of a bottle?

        I’m surprised no one has taken a picture of the new 2 Liter Coke Bottles and sent it to Consumerist!

  12. krom says:

    Of course the larger roll-on ball will also cause you to use the stuff faster. Especially at first because you’ll be doing the same motions you did to get coverage with the smaller ball.

  13. craptastico says:

    how is improving the packaging, by increasing applicator size, a bad thing? i know we’re not supposed to say “why is this on consumerist” but the editors aren’t exactly making it easy on us

  14. FatLynn says:

    I noticed that I was buying deodorant more often, and thought it was the grocery shrink ray, until I caught my bf using it.

  15. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Seems like maybe they just realized that a wider rol- on ball would be easier to use, and possibly dispense more product, leading the consumer to use more and therefore buy more.

    I can’t believe that you printed a story about this but wouldn’t print my story about Sear’s breaking my car and then making me pay for it. Nice standards!!!

  16. smashedpotats says:

    There is a brand of Natural Tea that looks like a normal plastic bottle until you turn it upside down. There is a HUGE chunk missing out of the bottom (like the trick college bars use to still have a larger appearing mug).

    I cannot remember the name of the tea. I did not buy it.

    • DanGarion says:

      It’s called Honest Tea, it’s a 16.9 oz bottle and it on the label it specifically states why the bottle has the dent in the bottom. I have a bottle in front of me right now.

      “Have you noticed that our bottle lost weight?
      Our environmentally-friendlier bottle is 22% lighter, saving more than a million pounds of plastic per year. But the svelte bottle needs pressure to keep it’s shape and that’s why there’s a funking dome underneath. Still 16.9 fl. oz. inside, no more, no less. We’re not trying to fool you honest.”

  17. CaptCynic says:

    Oh come on, this is just nitpicky. You can’t change packaging because someone, somewhere may think they’re getting more? You guys are attibuting motive with no real evidence. If the package contained less for the same cost, I’d say deception might have played a part here, but 3oz = 3oz. Claiming this is deceptive is a real stretch.

  18. Tvhargon says:

    Scope and Dial have been making their packaging concave instead of convex on the sides. It makes it look neat, but you’re actually getting less product.

    • minjche says:

      Still, the amount of product is still clearly labeled on the packaging. It’s up to the consumer to be responsible about reading the label.

  19. The_IT_Crone says:

    Maybe it is more space-efficient for shipping, therefore more cost-effective.

  20. Anne Marie says:

    It doesn’t look bigger anyway, people tend to assume taller things are bigger than wider ones of the same size, that’s why many optical illusions work.

  21. Ben says:

    OP here. I use this stuff because I’m allergic to the aluminum in antiperspirants. I don’t really have a choice.

    It does work well, though. I use talc to keep myself dry and this to deodorize any sweat I do have.

    I don’t smell.

    Except, y’know… down there…