The Grocery Shrink Ray stealthily takes away small portions of all kinds of consumer products: food, beverages, personal care items, and cleaning supplies. Even the super-sized containers at Costco aren’t immune: 130 loads of laundry since his last purchase, Ed noticed that his newest container has fewer detergent pods in it than the last one. Update: Actually, Costco increased the quantity of pods! [More]
The Grocery Shrink Ray quietly removes almost imperceptible bits of our packaged goods, gradually shrinking some products over time so manufacturers can avoid raising prices. Once you’re aware of it, you begin to notice it every time you buy a slightly smaller replacement for a product that you use regularly. Two readers who bought bread and deodorant noticed exactly that. [More]
What does it mean to under-fill a consumer product package? We’ve all opened boxes and bags that seemed more full before we saw what was inside, or a few tiny over-the-counter pills in a bottle stuffed with cotton. When is this considered “misleading,” and when is it just a normal thing that protects products? [More]
Jarrod was shopping at Target when he noticed something: there were two different designs of Shout bottles on the shelf. Since redesigns often mask strikes of the Grocery Shrink Ray, he checked the labels, even though the bottles appeared to be the same size. Indeed, the 32-ounce “economy size” bottle shrank down to 30 ounces, but at least the price came down, too. [More]
Dollar stores have a unique challenge: their price point is right there in their name. Chains like Family Dollar and Dollar General have instead turned into what could most accurately be called dollar-ish discount stores, but Dollar Tree still holds itself to the $1 price point, and that apparently means shrink raying its private-label food items to keep prices consistent. [More]
Sure, we’ve all heard of the Grocery Shrink Ray, but gradually shrinking consumer products doesn’t just apply to physical items. Warranties can shrink, and the services that you receive as part of an account or a subscription can shrink too. Readers are reporting that their Discover card benefits will shrink as of next week, so we have bad news if you were very attached to Discover’s travel insurance, baggage delay insurance, and roadside assistance. [More]
You know what a McCormick ground pepper tin looks like if you’ve ever bought pepper or browsed an American spice aisle. They’re rectangular and have spouts on each end for sprinkling or pouring the contents. Yet have you noticed how much pepper there is in the container? Competing spice-seller Watkins is paying attention, and it’s accusing McCormick of shrinking all sizes of its pepper containers by 25%. [More]
When you need to use some Cottonelle toilet paper, do you find that the sheets feel just a bit narrower in your hand? Probably not: that’s the sneaky nature of the Grocery Shrink Ray. Rolls of Cottonelle Ultra toilet paper lost just a fraction of an inch from each square, but that adds up to a big loss in square footage in a whole package. [More]
Jill noticed that there were two different designs of Dawn dish detergent on the shelf. As a savvy consumer, she knew that sometimes a redesign can mask a strike from the Grocery Shrink Ray. Indeed, the new bottles contained two fewer ounces of detergent, yet advertise that they contain “2X More.” Wait…two times more of what?
Elizabeth has been a loyal user of Ivory’s Clean & Simple body wash for a long time, and she got an unpleasant surprise the last time she picked one up at the store. The package had been redesigned: no big problem there. She noticed, though, that the redesign washed away 3 ounces out of the 24-ounce bottle. Oh, no, it was the Grocery Shrink Ray! [More]
Weight Watchers-branded meals and snacks are supposed to make it easier to follow the Weight Watchers points system and, well, lose weight. Reader M is a fan of their packaged ice cream bars, and was disappointed when she noticed that they’re a little bit smaller than they used to be after a recent package redesign. Yes, it was the Grocery Shrink Ray. [More]
It’s important to us to keep our readers updated about the latest and most important news in the world of novelty Oreos. We’ve learned that Lemon Twist Oreos have returned to shelves, which are not to be confused with lemon Oreos. Lemon Oreos, which are still available, are on a vanilla cookie, and Lemon Twist Oreos are on a chocolate cookie. [More]
The clock hasn’t even struck midnight yet, and already we’re reminiscing about the year gone by. For us here at Consumerist, 2014 wasn’t only about how many times our stories were read, or who was clicking where, but about the process of bringing those stories to our readers and how we felt about working on them.
We aren’t sure who “the now chicks with more imagination than time” are, and we’re fairly certain that if that were even a real thing, “the now chicks” would not order free fried onion cookbooks from coupon flyers. Not even in 1970 when this piece of copywriting horror was printed. [More]
The Grocery Shrink Ray is what we call it when the manufacturers of food and consumer goods make their products smaller––sometimes almost imperceptibly smaller––rather than raise prices. You know what it looks like: it’s why your toilet paper doesn’t quite fill the holder anymore, and why you don’t get as many servings of hot chocolate as you used to. We know that it’s been in action for decades, but is there proof? Yes: one need only turn to collectors of consumer ephemera like boxes and cans. [More]
Usually, we try to stay at the forefront of Grocery Shrink Ray news, letting you know when we learn that a company has reduced the size of a product while keeping the price the same. Frito-Lay has been rolling out a massive shrinkage of Sun Chips, zapping bags from 10 ounces to only 7 ounces. Removing a third of the chips by weight? Noooo! [More]
Del Monte recently redesigned its cans of pasta sauce. “New look, same great taste!” brags the label. Yes, the new label is bright and cheery, emphasizing fresh tomatoes. Very nice. Reader Joey spotted an older can on the shelf, though: one with two and a half ounces more of saucy goodness.