Over this last year we have all been aware that everyday products we buy are being packaged differently. We think, “at least this item’s cost hasn’t risen during this inflationary period.” But when we pick it up, we sense there is something different. It just “feels” different. With fresh produce we have a sense of what things cost per/lb – the same with meats, poultry and the like, but for packaged items we have only sense memory and intuition. Our intuition tells us the corporations are under the same inflationary pressures as everyone else and they have to pass on the costs. So why is this item the same price? At same time our sensory memory tells us that something is different.We have sensory registers for the things we see (iconic), hear (echoic), touch (haptic), smell (olfactory), and taste (gustatory). Our sight and touch memory wonder what’s different with this cereal box? It seems lighter but somehow taller. As we ponder we ask ourselves, is the box now thinner? When did they start labeling it as “family size.” Why are the lights dimming? Why am I hearing Rod Serling’s voice? “You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Shrinkflation Zone! … I mean the Twilight Zone.
A zone where 50 lb dog food bags now weigh 44 lbs and the cost has gone up. Toilet paper rolls now have 242 sheets instead of the old 264 sheets. Bottles of dish washing detergent were once 7 fl.oz. now they are 6.5. The examples are many! Be on guard and always be suspicious of “new and improved packaging.”
Want to know more, seek out the counsel of Edgar Dworsky on mouseprint.org (a reference to the fine print often found on product packaging; print so tiny only a mouse could read it).