How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Whose Money is it by the Way?


I don’t recall if I’ve had a good rant this year. You can’t expect a body to remember everything she’s done over a six- month period, or is it in the last half-year? I can’t remember where I put my glasses two minutes ago…or is it three…whatever. If I don’t get to the point soon I’m going to lose my train of thought. Where was I?

Let’s talk groceries; my favourite subject. The packaging is getting smaller. Who’s noticed? Let’s look at pasta. Wait a minute. Is pasta measured in grams or litres? I might venture one is for dry goods and the other is for wet. Never mind. I know a way that’s a lot easier to visualize without the confusion.  To put this strange measuring into prespective, think a one litre bottle (L)  vs a 750- millilitre (ml) bottle of wine. The difference is something like 250 ml. Sometimes I think I make this stuff up because I was slow in grade school. You may think I’m a cheap wino but I know how to subtract. Pay attention to smaller sizes and higher prices. I know you get the picture so stop smirking.

The first time I recall making a whole box of pasta (375 grams or was it more at some point?), I had so much I couldn’t give it away. One package doesn’t go as far nowadays. I do save the leftovers but I don’t have much after four servings. Whole wheat and whole grain pasta is being promoted as heart healthy (but in a 300 gram-size) and the price has—you guessed it—steadily crept up as the content has shrunk. I’m positive the 375-gram box is smaller thanI remember, but I wasn’t paying attention when I should have been; I wasn’t retired yet. Everybody is downsizing one way or another except for my tush, it seems.

Tuna is a favourite pantry item I keep on hand and am always afraid I’ll forget to restock. I make a mean tuna salad with white kidney beans and chopped celery I adore. (Let me know and I’ll post the recipe.) You know those days when lunchtime munchies won’t leave you alone? Most days I’m satisfied with a big tossed salad, especially in summertime, or homemade soup out of my freezer. Today it’s tuna salad straight up (sometimes I go nuts and mix tuna and a tossed salad together).  Not long ago those little tins of tuna cost only 77₵. The past few months the price has been sneaking up ten cents each time I go shopping. This week they’re up to $1.07.

Nobody likes to talk about—I can’t understand why—papier toilettes. (Sounds better in French, doesn’t it?) You thought I’m not aware of your sensitivities, maybe? I’ll ignore the insult.

Let’s get back to the subject at hand—oops. Stop being so squeamish and let me finish. This time the packaging is getting BIGGER. Yep, I said bigger- looking. Instead of buying eight or twelve (single) rolls, somebody thought fifteen DOUBLE rolls is better—double rolls, count ‘em, equal to thirty regular rolls. Wow! What a bargain. Think again. They’re not wound as tight as they once were. Take note a roll doesn’t go as far as it did once. Am I right?

In the end, what will a dollar buy in the future–a quarter-cup of cereal? Remember not long ago old folks said a cup of coffee used to cost a dime? How much is it now?

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

54 thoughts on “Whose Money is it by the Way?

  1. Brother can you spare a dime meant the guy could get a cup of coffee. Now he needs at least a dozen dimes to get a good cup of java. Yes, times are a changing – and they always have – and they always will. But you knew that…. T

  2. I have noticed the same phenomenon with chips (crisps). Smaller serving, bigger price, bigger tush. There’s a flaw in this logic somewhere, I am sure :). Totally with you on the tuna thing too.

  3. If you think its bad in the states… you should see the small sizes and large prices in european grocery stores! We also have high tax on EVERYTHING even milk. I guess they have to get the money for socialized medicine somewhere… :)

  4. On the other hand (two hands in the air, stop, stop, I’ve given them up!), have you noticed the size of a cigarette pack has increased – 25 to 50% in some cases? Price too, of course, though in Oz the giant’s cut now goes to the government, supposedly to offset the cost smokers add to the medicare bill.

    • I don’t smoke anymore. Gave it up 20 years ago and smoked for 25 years before that. However, I still feel there’s something wrong with this pricing and decreasing or increasing. It’s CRAZY. Do you feel like we’re been treated like morons? I do.

      • You’re absolutely right about packaging sizes – either upsizing or downsizing on the whim of making more money, is the name of the game. Morons? I don’t think ‘they’ consider ‘us’ as anything other than a collective ‘market’, certainly not people …

  5. They’re a sneaky lot, those food companies–and toilet paper companies especially.

    Do you want the 12-roll, one-ply pack for 12 bucks or do you want the 6-roll, 2-ply pack for 10 bucks?

    I spend more time selecting paper towels and toilet paper than food. :)

    • That’s another thing–what’s with the 1-ply / 2-ply game? Personally, I like the 2-ply cause you use less. Ha ha. I know where to find you now. in the paper aisle. You ARE right, we’re forced to spend too much time sorting out what we’re getting for our dollar nowadays and I can’t imagine things getting better. UGH. Nice to hear from you, Karen.

  6. I noticed recently that toothpaste tubes are now 75mls instead of 100 and boy did I get angry because I thought I’d bought a special offer and hadn’t (the box was the same size as before just the tube was smaller). Looks like we pay nearly double your price for a can of tuna though :-(

    • What ticks me off is how sneaky the process has been. Just a little here and then a little there. You don’t feel the difference in your hand because you’ve been buying such-and-such for xx long, trusting you are getting the same product. I wonder why tuna would be about double up your way? Nice hearing from you, Gilly.

  7. Good for you, Tess. At least you’re still trying to figure out metric…I gave up long ago, much to Gill’s disgust. She works in grams, I work in ounces. Talk about Lost in Translation. Maybe all this confusion was the reason companies switched to metric–confuse us enough and we won’t pay attention to the smaller sizes!

    • Are you kidding? Me and METRIC? I know what a 740-ml bottle of wine looks like though. You may be right. What ticks me off is how sneaky this process has been, just a teensy bit at a time. You can’t feel it in your hand. You assume all is well and the same as the last time. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I’m severely behind. Haven’t had much time to play and enjoy lately. Hope to catch up someday. . . Thanks for stopping by, Laurie.

  8. Same thing happening here in South Africa. Tuna used to come in 200 g tins, now it’s 180 g. Chocolate bars used to be 200 g, also quietly downsized to 180 g. Dog Food from 10 Kg bags to 8 Kg and now sometimes 7.5 Kg. Do they take us for idiots?

  9. You have figured out the truth, smaller sizing same pricing bigger profits – natch.

    Welcome to our new reality.

  10. He he (or not so much!). I have been considering a rant about this myself. Items often look the same in the package, but they’re not. One example is baby wipes. They have gradually shrunk to the point where you have to use more than one at a time (using more and buying more). This is theft – plain and simple. When a manufacturer uses slight-of-hand or shrink the product, they are stealing from the consumer. They got away with it for a while, but they got greedy and went too far. I think everyone should stand up against this and let manufacturers (or whoever is in charge of this theft) know that we want truth – in advertising, in our product, in our packaging, etc. Did I say GRRRRRRR yet? Maybe if we all stopped buying from the cheaters? If prices go up for the same product – at least that’s honest. Don’t try to ‘trick’ consumers into thinking they’re getting the same value when they are not. I could go on all day. I’ll stop here to say great post :) Angie

  11. Reblogged this on doyoumeanwhatiknow and commented:
    Tess at How the Cookie Crumbles, in her usual witty style, has hit the nail on the head with this one. As I have been thinking about this a lot lately, I’ve decided to reblog it. When companies pull these things, it is STEALING. It is dishonest, and they think we’re too ‘stupid’ to notice. What have you noticed shrinking? Are you willing to continue buying from companies that cheat and are dishonest? We need to call companies when we notice and let them know we are watching them. Let them know our continued business will be determined by their response. As one commenter on Tess’s blog notes – it’s even worse in England (thanks to Socialized Medicine?) so look out — it’s coming to you in the states as well. Stepping off soapbox to call some theives to the carpet.

    One more question: If we allow this to happen without speaking up, are we guilty too? as in complicit? Just sayin’ . . .

  12. Please don’t get me started. No, really.

    It’s like they think we’re too stupid to notice that the boxes and cartons and bottles and jars are getting smaller, or that we fail to see the way they’ve conveniently re-shaped the bottom of the jar so that the interior holds less volume, or that maybe we’re just too dimwitted to see how the 16 oz jar is exactly the same size, but now the contents are packed more loosely so that the 16 oz jar now only has 10 oz of product. In every way, they are continuously scrimping on what we’re paying the same amount, or MUCH MORE for, and we’re supposed to pretend we don’t notice.

    Here’s my all-time biggest gripe of all ——– dog food. I have a BIG dog. Therefore, I buy more than my fair share of dog food. The bag used to be a 50 lb bag for XYZ dollars, but then the bag shrunk to 45 lbs, and the price went up. Then it shrunk again to 35 lbs, and guess what? Yep, the price went up again. So the 50 lb bag now is only 35 lbs, but the price is almost double what it was just a few years ago.

    Too bad my dog isn’t shrinking. At least then he’d match the package.

    *end rant*

    • How did this happen before consumer became aware? I remember something some time ago. Someone was asking the question about ‘decreasing / getting smaller’ but I don’t remember the rest. Still, there’s something wrong with this because it wasn’t equal with all ‘companies’ at the same time. At least that’s what the little people, who EVERYone ignores is interested in. Have you an idea regarding what we might do to make this better.

    • Bless you to venting. We should all have a good rant once in a while. What gets me is I cannot see a lot we can do about it. That’s what hurts. We’re painted into a corner because we NEED to buy all these products. UGH!

  13. Tess, they think we won’t notice… but we do.

  14. I recently bought a pound of bacon and when I got it home, i realized I paid the same price for 12 ounces of bacon rather than 16 ounces. The kept the packaging the same size but reduced the quantity inside. Tricky bastards!

  15. you’rle right! nowadays packets of stuff are mostly full of air, with a tiny amount of stuff at the bottom somewhere.

  16. You sure have to pay attention. I do the grocery shopping and have noticed all of that. I just do the best I can to buy what I need for my family. What can you do? Not much, except stop buying things, which obviously is not a logical conclusion.

  17. Ahh capitilism and marketing at their very best. I thought I was losing something iin the cognitive department when examining why my rolls of TP seem to be shrinking faster and faster yet seem the same. Detective work beyond the puffed up TP paper sheets I found wht you have. It is not just in the ey of the holder.

    Excellent vent my friend, one that strikes a chord. You are so funny, that you took something that peeves me into a bit of anger and frustraion and found incredible funny moments in the topic to put me into fits of giggles. That’s no easy feat.

    • It’s fun playing the old lady once in a while. Now that I think of it, I believe I must have learned it from my mom. When she needed to, she received better service while putting on the how can you treat a mature lady woman like that kind of crap. It’s true that we are being robbed blind, a few grams at a time. I was in a mood when I scribbled this post. I thank you for your kind comment. Keep well.

      • You make me laugh at the thought of you putting on the How to treat a mature lady….. you abslutely make me giggle. I love it.

        Tess I think your vent was so spot on and that it started these fabulous sets of convversations. Getting people thinking about things and talking about them is really what makes blogging important in the grand scheme iif things I think. Just thinking out loud of course.

        I so have enjoyed this. Thank you.~

      • Thanks so much! I aim to please…but seriously I’ve been going nuts for months (busy) and happened to get into one of those moods when I came up for air because grocery shopping is becoming so time consuming–so much to watch out for. Nice to hear from you Baroness.

  18. It started with candy bars, back in the 70′s. I guess they figured that kids wouldn’t be as likely to notice the difference. They were idiots.

    • Yeah, you’re right about the candy bara but haven’t had a hankering for one since I was about 15 so I haven’t noticed but I DO recall. In one way you MIGHT consider it to be a more suitable ‘serving’ size but no, we know better this is not the case. I simply hate being told what to accept and how and the underhanded slight of hand = decreasing by degrees.

      • Yep, now they’re reducing the size of the candy bar within the wrapper. Hershey bars, for example, look the same size as a few years ago but it’s the wrapping. The bar inside is smaller. I don’t buy candy bars very often but I do get a yen for a Hershey bar with almonds from time to time.

  19. Pingback: You got a what? | Momma's Money Matters

  20. This just makes me bats. I am the one in the store with the calculator being sure I am paying the least by the square metre for papiers toilettes. No lie. I am hateful when it comes to groceries. Why do you think I posted the Ten Commandments of Grocery Shopping?

    We are a war, dear Tess. War, I tell you.

    • Red, you know I’m W-A-Y behind on reading and commenting. I missed the 10 Commandments. Will have a look-see, though. If we are at war, where the heck is our defence? Even football has a line of defence, doesn’t it?

      • We have one. Calculators, newspapers, online coupons, diets. most of it is crap defense, but defense nonetheless…

  21. Tess, I know when I was putting together the tuna salad on my blog I noticed that when I originally wrote the recipe I had written 7 oz. cans of tuna. They’re now 5 oz. Less cereal in a larger box. I go through paper towels in five minutes because the rolls only have 6 sheets on them.

    • Scary what you see when you look. At first it was only a few items, but now…Will products end up packaged in thimbles in the end? Yes, I agree aboutthe paper towels too. But what can we as consumers do? Nice to hear from you Susan.

  22. With all the comments it is comforting to know that I’m not the only one that feels deceived.It all started quite a few years back when the grocery bag was reduced in size, then product weight shrunk and prices kept increasing. I started to boycott some manufacturers but that only goes so far. Bottom line is this is what the “occupy” movement is all about. Corporations do not care about people. What is to be done? Your $ has power – use it wisely – and buy local. Thanks Tess.

  23. Please post the tuna recipe – it sounds wonderful! I hate grocery shopping. My favorite cereal is four bucks a box now. Grocery shopping is highway robbery.

  24. Do you remember when they made the Snickers Bar smaller rather than raising the price? That was criminal. ;)

  25. I’m for the tuna recipe too. I didn’t take a lot of economics but enough to be scratching my head — since people are tightening their belts and supposedly buying less the market should respond by lowering prices in order to increase demand (yes?) but instead prices have increased dramatically since the economic downturn… I don’t get it.

  26. Pingback: How are YOUR Eggs? | How the Cookie Crumbles

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