Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Have you heard of food short sizing? No? Well where you been hiding? It’s the manufacturing processor way of decreasing the amount of product instead of raising the price. Or maybe I should say in preparation for raising the price. Or in some cases to do both. It’s a ploy to fool the consumer into believing we are getting the same amount we’ve always gotten for the amount of money. Short sizing happens in ALL manufacturing processes.
In the past few years consumers saw the “dimple” show up on the bottom of plastic food jars. It was a few ounces (or grams, or whatever measurement used) being shaved from the container. The container was sold at the same old price. Mayo, salad dressing, cooking oil, ketsup, and peanut butter are the ones I remember most. Consumers everywhere complained about the dimples.
The food industry needed a newer way to sneak in the short sizing. We saw the dimples go away, the containers got smaller, and the prices went up anyway. I’ve been watching for short sizing to happen again. I have seen a few examples here and there but nothing really noticeable.
I finally found it! I knew it was happening. I simply hadn’t found it yet. Well no wonder I hadn’t seen it. Have you found it yourself? Ok, let me show you if you haven’t. I had a hard time getting a good photo to show because the jar is clear. See the ring near the bottom of the jar on the left? That’s it. It doesn’t show up well because the ring is clear too.
Here, let me show you another view of the short sizing inside the jar. Can you see the ring a little better now? It can’t be felt from the outside like a dimple was.
I would never have noticed this if I had not been removing the labels and washing empty jars to be reused. When I first noticed the ring I dismissed it as a flaw of the plastic making process. It does almost look like a flaw in the plastic doesn’t it? But it’s not. I began seeing a ring over and over again in the same area. I noticed that it was too perfect and too hidden to be an accidental flaw. It always appears behind the label.
Here’s another view. Can you see the ring is hidden behind this label. Hope you can see it clearly in the photo.
One tiny little ring will short size just an ounce or maybe a half-ounce or whatever measure they want to short size. A few more rings behind the label and who’s gonna know how much less we are purchasing for the same amount of money? The jar appears to be the same size. Our minds don’t automatically search for evidence of trickery. We wouldn’t really be looking for less in the package unless of course we pay attention to the package “weight” written on the label every time we shop. Who really does that anyway? Ok, I admit I always look at a “cost per unit” price when shopping. I find this information on the shelf sticker, not on the package.
Yes, yes, I know some shoppers pay attention by way of looking at price and then the weight of something they don’t normally buy. But, if it’s something we purchase week after week after week we rarely look at the weight. Just the price. Right? We are just so darned used to grabbing it to drop into our cart that we look no farther than the shelf price. We just grab and go unless the package looks different or feels different than usual.
Looking at the ring inside this peanut butter jar it would appear it could be about one sandwich less than I’m used to getting. It’s a very small amount for sure. But, can you see how short sizing could play havoc with a limited budget or menu planning? A little short here. A little short there. Before we know it the food runs out before payday arrives.
It makes me wonder….. If the company is sneaky about short sizing, what else are they hiding?