Grocery Shrink Ray Zaps 60 Pumps Away From My Dawn Direct Foam

Reader Psychodad1961 noticed that his Dawn Direct Foam dishwashing soap had been zapped by Consumerist’s patented, trademarked and copyrighted Grocery Shrink Ray — to the tune of 25%.

For the same price, he was now getting 100ml less of the dishwashing foam. He also noticed that the packaging was no longer touting that you could get “250 pumps” out of the bottle and was humbly listing “190 pumps” in tiny type.

Of course, we at Consumerist save money on dishwashing soap the old-fashioned way — letting the dog lick the plates clean.


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  1. earthprince says:

    I always felt like these “self foaming” bottles were a contraption made to save money, so this would just further that.

    • theblackdog says:

      Except that you’re still paying the same price for less pumps. They shrank the product, but not the price

    • Wombatish says:

      This would actually either enforce that the product was too expensive to keep producing at the larger size (or, more likely, more $ = more happy Dawn higer-ups).

  2. HannahK says:

    I bought one of the pump bottles a while back, and now I refill it from the larger refill bottles. I hope they don’t shrink the refill bottles too, that’s where it would really bother me.

  3. minjche says:

    The leftover residue of a sticker on the upper part of the older package could have been a “25% more!” promotional sticker, but that’s just speculation.

    With respect to looks, I think the older label design is much more attractive than the new design. Perhaps the camera isn’t doing the foil behind “DIRECT FOAM” justice.

    • CaughtLooking says:

      Wouldn’t the removed sticker had said 33% more?

    • cybrczch says:

      No, I have the same 250-pump bottle at home, that was the original size, not a ‘special’ size. I refill it with 1/3 dishwashing soap and 2/3 water, and it works just like the original bottle I bought.

    • MsAnthropy says:

      Nah, they really did shrink the size on these, alas. Agree with the commenter that says the old design was better, too.

  4. Pooterfish says:

    But somehow it’s more efficient foam!

    250 pumps from 400ml = 0.625 pumps/ml
    190 pumps from 300ml = 0.633 pumps/ml

  5. qwickone says:

    I make my own foam soap at home. No seriously. You just need to buy it once so you get the pump. After that, buy the large bottles of regular dish soap (I buy at Costco), then mix with water (50/50 up to 25/75 soap to water, whatever mixture you like). I mix it right in the bottle with the pump (give it a good shake and let it rest for a little while so the bubble calm down. MUCH less expensive since you’re not paying for so much water, just the concentrated liquid.

  6. K-Bo says:

    In order for the pump to foam the soap, they have to water it down. Buy your own dish soap and use the pump you already have. In my pump, it is about 1 part soap to 9 parts water to get good foam. It varies based on the pump and the thickness of the soap you use. If you use too much, the pump won’t pump. If you use too little, it will be runny foam. The pump alone is a way for them to rip you off by selling you more water than product.

  7. yusefyk says:

    Wait so what you are saying is that of the thousands of national consumer brands in the USA sometimes they change the packaging and sometimes they become smaller?

    Good thing you’re here to tell us every single time with your made-up vocabulary.

    • Rena says:

      Now if the price shrunk with the product, this wouldn’t be a big deal.

      • minjche says:

        Sadly that’s an unrealistic situation.

        • Wombatish says:

          Unrealistic or not, it’s still worth noting when it happens.

          A lot of ‘big time’ shoppers (with the storage to match) will buy up the larger sizes of things that are still around at the start of this transition.

          And really, they COULD be reducing the price (or just increasing the price on the larger size, since a price jump is a lot less ‘investment’ money than new bottles + new labels + new shipping). And half the time it’s the “Still great value” type packaging on the ‘shrunk’ sizes that sucks.

  8. Tim says:

    I noticed this a long time ago, actually.

  9. Scurvythepirate says:

    I’m a 2 pump chump myself, so getting 190 pumps looks like a great deal!

  10. fs2k2isfun says:

    If you insist on using such a gimmicky product, why not just buy the regular soap and dilute it with water to the viscosity of the refill and save money?

  11. Plasma_Jet says:

    if you pump more then twice, your playing with it….

  12. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I bought a foam pump from Bath and Body Works last year at Christmas (the Vanilla Bean Noel is my favorite scent ever!) and it lasted 8 months. I bought another one in a redesigned bottle a month ago, and I’m 1/3 of the way through the bottle already. Naturally, I won’t be buying from there again.

  13. AngryK9 says:

    Patented, trademarked and copyrighted? So it is Consumerist that is responsible for turning my 12 oz Opti Free contact lens solution bottle into a 10 oz Opti Free contact lens solution bottle?! :D

  14. aloria says:

    Foaming soap is a ripoff anyway. It’s essentially regular cheapo dishwashing liquid watered down to create foaming action, but they charge you loads more for it.

  15. Big Mama Pain says:

    A guess this “smart” Consumerist doesn’t know how to figure out price per ounce/unit when they are shopping, which is the true test of whether something is a ripoff or not. Lots of companies actually do the opposite, making the product appear bigger so that you think you’re getting a better deal. Dawn saved you like a penny per pump.

    • Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

      How is 190 pumps for 2.50 saving me money over 250 pumps for 2.50? And it had nothing to do with “comparison shopping”. I grabbed my regular kind in its regular spot on the shelf and it was smaller.

      • minjche says:

        In a parallel situation, P&G could have also upped the price and kept the same size.

        All consumer products companies do this eventually, and while it is unfortunate for the consumer (those who notice anyway), it’s usually a manifestation of increased raw material costs being passed on to the consumer. We must keep in mind, as responsible consumers, that the manufacturer and the store are both in business to make money.

        P&G had the choice to decrease the package size and keep the price point or increase the price point and keep the same package. If we keep the same 25% factor, it would mean your same-size bottle is increased to $3.13.

        Now in today’s consumer products market, standard products are very limited in how a manufacturer can change their prices. Big players like Walmart or Target have the leverage to literally say “sell us this product at this price or we won’t carry any of your brands” (I’ve worked in consumer products and witnessed a few of these fun meetings).

        From there, the manufacturer has to put more focus on margin than on profit (same thing, I know, but slightly different perspectives). With changes in raw material costs and overall increase in the price of everything (giving their employees raises, increased operational costs, etc.) today’s market forces a consumer products manufacturer to do stuff like this grocery shrink ray bit.

        The times when manufacturers can charge high margins are for new or innovative products (like how P&G can charge whatever the heck they want for the Swiffer product line). For soap, toilet paper, tissues, detergent, etc. though, their hands are tied with what price they can charge.

        One last interesting point: The store is technically the “customer” to a consumer products manufacturer, and in the case of Walmart/Target, they’re like customers that threaten to not buy your stuff all the time.

        Hopefully this makes your missing 100mL easier to stomach! I know my company would legitimately listen to consumer complaints (though more so by volume than by content, so gather up 100 friends to complain about the same thing) so you could always try contacting the manufacturer and the store.

  16. lordargent says:

    I use regular soap at full concentration and only use a few drops per washing.

    I buy 1 gallon refills, they last over a year while being used in both bathrooms.

  17. lordargent says:

    I use regular soap at full concentration and only use a few drops per washing.

    I buy 1 gallon refills, they last over a year while being used in both bathrooms.

    That foaming stuff never felt like real soap to me and I probably end up using way more than necessary.

  18. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Honestly, I find that if I scrub my dishes very soon after using them, I can get away with hot water and sticking them in the dishwasher. I only use the soap for really stuck on stuff, or very greasy items.

    I guess if you must handwash, you really have to use soap. But if you use the DW, hot water and a scrub brush work wonders.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      So you wash the same dishes twice, once by hand and once in the dishwasher? Weird. I’ve always piled the dishes in the sink for a quick soak to loosen everything, then stuck them in the DW and they’re fine. And I don’t use eleventy hundred gallons of water a night, which is good.

  19. RyansChestHair says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but every time I hear about a company downsizing their product while charging the same (sometimes even more) I immediately boycott them forever. I refuse to be financially raped by them. How sneaky and disgusting of them. There’s nothing right about what they do. I’ll be boycotting Dawn and their parent maker.

    • minjche says:

      (Can’t tell for sure whether or not you’re being sarcastic)

      By that logic, there’s really no consumer products left for you to buy. Especially with Dawn being a P&G brand, that rules out a LOT.

    • Gulliver says:

      So would you prefer they raise the price or lower the bottle size? All surveys show consumers are much more sensitive to price than they are to size. To call it financial “rape” is just hyperbole. Financial rape is what the mortgage companies, Enron or Bernie Madoff did. This is a business making a decision as the best way to sell their product. If this is what gets you into a boycott mode, please do so. Then when you aren’t buying anything, you can live in the woods with the rest of your self righteous indignant slobs.

  20. Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

    OP here. First, irt was not a 25% or 33% more free sticker, it was the price tag. Second, if you have never used the stuff, it is formulated entirely different than dishsoap. This stuff has grease cutting power 10X better than regular dishsoap. I agree it would be a waste to use this for regular dishwashing (although it works great in a pinch). It is designed to give you extra suds for the really greasy stuff and it works excellently for that.

    • Gulliver says:

      Then it seems the idea of lowering the amount in the bottle versus raising the price was smart. It is not something you are using for everything, just the few extra greasy items.If you used one pump a day it lasts more than 6 months.

    • Extractor says:

      You beat me to the punch here. It is such an excellent product that those in the know will continue to buy it. I do see it on sale at several Drug Stores and will wait for that. When there are sales on great products i usually buy a couple years worth. If you’ve never tried Dawn dont complain. Its a totally different dish soap. I also have to use regular Dawn on my car in order to use the best wax .

  21. Not Again says:

    We make our own too. I personally do not like these foaming soaps. A few brands don’t seem very soapy making me think that the soap is not cleaning.
    Speaking of shrinking, has anyone notice that the Haagen Dazs pints of ice cream are no longer 16 oz pints?

  22. IGNORE says:

    Problem with letting my dog lick the plate: She wants to eat the plate too—-

  23. Aisley says:

    Besides getting your own dishwashing liquid and mix it, let the dishes soak in water with 1/4 cup of white vinegar. The vinegar cuts the grease and makes less soap necessary for washing them.