Down Sizing America: Not Just Jobs

by Debra Vaughn


Recently I was confronted with a situation at the local grocery store. I was about to purchase a bottle of catsup when I noticed something curious. The bottle that looked like what I normally buy, the 40-ounce, was now the same bottle but only 36 ounces, and was the exact same price. I stood there wondering why they had stopped selling the 40 oz bottle that I usually buy. Finally, I decided to ask an employee to help me, I tend to miss what is right in front of me. That is when the employee informed me that they didn't stop selling it, the manufacturer stopped making it. I decided to go on a search as to why and here is what I found out.

With the rising cost of living and unemployment at an all time low, companies still need to make money while keeping people employed. So how do they do that? The answer is very simple they downsize their products. Most of us don't notice this change because the manufacturer is very smart about how to downsize without diminishing sales. Instead of changing the height of the bottle, they simply make it a little thinner and fill it a little less. By doing this, they create the illusion that the product is the same. Let s face it, not all of us look at the actual ounce size of the bottle that is on the shelf, we just look for what looks most like what we usually buy. The manufacturers know this.

This doesn't just apply to catsup though. If you really pay attention, you will notice that this applies to most of our favorite products, from mayonnaise to shampoo, from toilet paper to cleaning products. Think about it: when you purchase that bottle of shampoo, is there any difference in the size of the original product just because it says on the bottle 25% more FREE! No there isn't, the only problem is, they no longer make the old bottles.

The manufacturers have gotten wise to the frugal minded. They know that buy displaying the word FREE in big bold letters they have a better chance of beating out the competition by making the consumer feel like they are getting a better bargain. And generally, this trick works! Next time you are in the store, be aware of the Downsizing of America and prove it to yourself.


Debra Vaughn is a stay at home mother to 3 young girls. She is a freelance write in her sparetime.

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