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Pay More, Get Less

One thing that really annoys me is the fact that manufacturers treat us like fools. They claim the prices of their products are not rising as much as inflation, but, on close inspection, it is obvious that the products they sell actually contain less than before.

Take cereal, for example. A report from the Today show in America this morning showed that a box of cereal used to contain 14 oz of cereal. Now it only contains 12.25 oz. In real terms, this means the old box used to give 14 serves of breakfast. Now, it only gives 12 serves. The cost per serve of cereal has risen more than what the manufacturer would have you believe.

The manufacturers claims this is either because of the rise in the cost of raw materials (yeah, the farmers believe that spin), or the reduction is to keep in line with competitors (I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean).

But the best one was toilet paper. Now when I was a kid, toilet paper rolls all had 500 sheets. Today, some have as few as 230 sheets, maybe even less (I won’t even try to guess at usage statistics). The manufacturer’s explanation? The new paper is softer and fluffier, therefore, they can fit fewer sheets on a roll. It is appropriate that they give that sort of spiel, considering the use of the product they are talking about.

Again, there needs to be accountability for this sort of deception. Or even a clearer exposure (perhaps a web site that shows reduction in size of individual products, compared to increase in prices). These practices seem to be very close to being breaches of the various fair trading legislations. Surely with advances in computer technology, greater awareness can be made of such deception.

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


11 thoughts on “Pay More, Get Less

  1. Great article. I was just discussing this, at length, yesterday. Every product you look at is shrinking. Breakfast ceareal boxes are the same size with less product. Ivory soap sells you a five bar pack with tiny little bars of soap – it costs more to advertise soap than to make it. What a rip-off. It is everywhere. Great post – keep ’em coming.
    Bill Foster

    Posted by wfoster2011 | March 4, 2012, 22:54
  2. You are 100% right in all your observations. They treat us like fools… because we buy like idiots… at the end of the day we have what we deserve… politicians, products, name it… 🙂

    Posted by Dugutigui | March 4, 2012, 23:08
    • Since writing that, I have been a lot more discerning with what I buy. Australia has also know introduced compulsory price-per-unit ticketing at supermarkets, so shoppers can compare the real prices of products. A great step.

      Posted by Craig Hill | March 4, 2012, 23:16
      • Yes indeed!

        Posted by Dugutigui | March 4, 2012, 23:21
      • The U.S. has this too – however, it only allows one to compare products in terms of units. Your basic concept is still valid in that you get less for the same money spendt and, as you say, it’s been going on for a long time. The great consumer rip-off continues.

        Posted by wfoster2011 | March 4, 2012, 23:36
  3. I just love the way packages get smaller and prices go up at the same time! Cans and bottles of pop come to mind!

    Posted by Marc Phillippe Babineau | March 5, 2012, 04:23
  4. All good points today!

    Posted by mulrickillion | March 5, 2012, 22:47

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