Have you noticed that a lot of things in this country are getting smaller – and I’m not talking about the glaciers in Alaska or the coastline of California. I first became aware of this phenomenon a few years ago when my mother-in-law was making tuna salad for lunch.
“Linda,” she asked as she opened a couple of cans, “why is the tuna so runny lately? I buy the same brand I’ve always bought, and it’s mostly water.”
I hadn’t really paid that much attention, but she was right. I did a little investigating – actually, I read the label – and discovered that the same size can that once held six ounces of tuna now held only five. That was just the beginning.
Next, it was the cole slaw – the sixteen-ounce bag of shredded cabbage shrank to twelve. I had to rework my dressing recipe, and instead of being able to throw it together from memory, I had to deal with either fractions of measurements or soupy coleslaw. As if that weren’t bad enough, the reduced size made only six servings instead of eight which doesn’t work out even for a household of four.
And don’t even get me started on the sweetened condensed milk. The fourteen-ounce can became eleven and a half ounces, and cream cheese had to be added to the lemon pie recipe to make it fit in the graham cracker crust.
The lunacy didn’t stop with food products. A couple of months ago, when I was changing a roll of toilet paper, I realized that there was empty space on either side of the roll. I seemed to remember a time when the roll fit snugly, so I did a little research – I posted on Facebook. I learned I wasn’t the first to notice the shrinkage, and I learned how much smaller the average roll was now than it was in happier times. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specifics.
Then came last weekend, and it was almost too much. Not only have the mysterious “they” invaded my kitchen and my bathroom, but when I was getting dressed Saturday morning, I realized that no place is safe from their tinkering. I opened a new bottle of facial astringent and noticed it was a slightly different shape than the old one. I sighed and read the label – it was two ounces smaller.
So there you have the ugly truth. Someone is picking our pockets, not by raising the prices but by decreasing the sizes. I have heard financial advisors say that, when faced with a financial crisis, the answer is not to earn more but to need less. It seems that American manufacturers have heard this same advice and are taking care of the issue for us.
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