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Paying More for Less: Downsizing Consumer Goods

Updated on August 4, 2013
Wiping with water not paper
Wiping with water not paper

It is so subtle, you have to look and think about the price you are paying and what you get for it. It can be time consuming and most shoppers will not think twice about it because it requires to much work.

Food companies have been shrinking the size of the package and its content to avoid raising prices, yet, many will do both for more profit. So, you pay more for less on many items. For instance, a regular Snickers candy bar use to weight 2.07 ounces, it now weighs 1.86. Yes, it is a slight difference but you are either paying the same as before for less or maybe more for less. Take Tropicana orange juice that use to be sold in 64 ounce bottles before 2010. Today, it is sold in 59 ounce bottles. The only time you get a good deal is when either are on sale. The worse items are bags of chips. At Whole Foods, some bags of chips cost $5 and half the bag is just air!

Food makers are not the only one trimming their products, toilet paper manufacturers do this and couple it with confusing math estimates about just how many sheets or total yards a roll has. Consumers really need to look at the package details and determine if the price is worth it. Many toilet paper rolls have 14% less in them. The manufacturers claim that by using the thicker tissue to wipe with, you will actually use less, thus save money. Others claim to have 1000 sheets and the roll is tightly wound. Not many rolls have this many sheets, so when you compare the stats to a roll that is wound loosely and the price is about the same, well, it is a "duh" moment. The 1000 sheets wins. Some packages state, "double" rolls, thinking you will get more, but those rolls use to have 230 sheets, now they have 175 sheets and you paid more for it.

According Kimberly-Clark, the typical American uses 46 sheets of toilet tissue daily and visit the bathroom around 4-5 times a day. Just how this study was done, one can only begin to guess. A user will not count the sheets used to wipe with, so did KC observe them in the stall or did they have a person in the stall? Maybe, it is just an estimate.

Tissue is big money, some $10.6 billion a year. There is nothing the consumer can do but wipe it and pay. Unlike some cultures, where a person uses their hands or grass, I doubt if one American would elect to do this. If there is no TP, just get up, move on, and run to the next restroom! But wait!- there IS an alternative to using TP, it is called Swash. A special toilet seat with a set of water spray jets aimed at your, well, you know. When you are done, just press the button and water is used to remove the shit from your bottom. They are made by Brondell and there are five models from $175.

Maybe it is time for something new. Toilet paper in the USA began in 1857 and TP dispensers appeared in 1883.

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