Let’s face it, shoppers: self-checkout is a common feature, and generally expanding to more retailers. It’s a global phenomenon, which is why researchers in Britain audited transactions to find out the “shrinkage” rate at self-checkouts in several countries, and how to keep the rate lower. Their goal: to keep people from sneaking items into their bags, but without having to pay security guards or watch shoppers closely. [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]
It’s time to play Spot the Difference! Between the older Triscuit box on the left and the one on the right, Nabisco made at least four changes. It doesn’t really matter if you can find them all, since only one change matters.
Roger would like the readers of Consumerist to know that clothing retailer Hollister, part of Abercrombie & Fitch, doesn’t stand behind its products at all. He writes that he ordered a pair of shorts online, which shrank significantly after the first time they went through the laundry. (Yes, he followed the care instructions.) The company refused to remedy the problem or issue Roger a refund, because the shorts weren’t returned in their original, untouched, tags-on condition. Wait, isn’t that the point?
Here’s the clip of yours truly, Ben Popken, on FOX 13 Tampa yesterday talking about the Grocery Shrink Ray that all the writers on the site have been doing a great job of covering. The interview was done over Skype webcam and I think it came out pretty well. “Shrinkage” and “downsizing” may be nothing new, but I think we’re going to see more goods shrinking and by greater degrees in the coming months. It’s practically a secret inflation. At the end of the story they say that some manufacturers are considering doing away with gallons of milk and instead selling 3/4 of a gallon, for the same price. If that happens, I think a lot more messages like the recording of the good ol’ boy upset over the downsized Jimmy Dean’s sausage are going to be left on customer complaint lines across America. As the guy in the New York Daily News shrinking package article (which I was also quoted in, whoo), said, “Soon people will be buying empty bags and empty boxes.”
Country Crock’s three-pound vats of fat are now three ounces lighter, but you can’t tell by looking at the packaging. The crock-purveyor Unilever claims that the adjustment was made not to ensure optimal profitability, but to “ensure optimal consumer satisfaction.”
Brawny’s not the only product skimping on size to sneakily increase profits. Here are two more items readers have noticed recently.
Our house uses Skippy Peanut Butter, but i just found out they changed their jars from 18 ounces to 16.2 ounces for the same price. I know 2 ounces is not a huge amount of peanut better, but still.
And Matt writes:
I have noticed this same thing with Quilted Northern. I don’t know what the price used to be but i noticed while shopping at sams club now you get less quilted northern than you used to.
If you know of another company that’s downsized a product without passing along the savings, let us know. Maybe we can put together a single reference post so shoppers will see which products are the worst offenders.
Yet another common product has been hit with the shrinking ray—this time it’s Brawny paper towels, which Jason noticed recently received a new package design, apparently to disguise that there are now fewer sheets and a higher price.
Johnny was pleasantly surprised when the $199 power tool he grabbed off the clearance rack rang up at the self-checkout for just $0.01. Home Depot, of course, stopped him before he could leave and asked for the item back, but Johnny wasn’t fast to part with his new toy.
I told the manager well that’s to bad because I ALREADY PAID FOR IT!!! and if you don’t return MY PRODUCT!!! that I PAID FOR!!! that I would call the cops because you are now stealing from me. I will call Weights and Measures. OH YEAH and my attorney.
Read the full story after the jump.
The latest installment of quietly shrinking packages arrives care of Dial’s Full Force Soap Bar. Once 4.5 ounces per bar, Dial now packs a mere 4 ounces of sudsy splendor.
Downsizing is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase because you are getting less for your money but may not catch the change. As is typical for many downsized products, the manufacturer diverts your attention from the net weight statement to something else “new”. In this case, they are calling it a “new grip bar” because ridges have been carved into it.
Soap bars are supposed to shrink in the shower, not on the shelf.
UPDATE: CellHut disagrees with this version of the events, writing, “Mr. Laurence has played this dirty game to cheat small businesses and to get away from a sudden price drop on the iPhone, which are sold as final sale at Cellhut.com.” They threaten various legal hijinx.
According to the AP, so-called “shrinkage” at Walmart could rise to more than $3 billion this year. The shrinkage comes from a combination of supplier fraud, employee theft, bad bookkeeping and, of course, shoplifting.
It’s actually very easy to unshrink a wool garment you shrank in the wash.
Actor B.J. Novak from The Office appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien bearing proof that Cadbury eggs have recently shrunk. In tow were two Cadbury eggs; the egg from yesteryear was clearly larger than the egg currently on shelves.