‘Shrink­fla­tion’ a scam

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

I AGREE whole­heart­edly with

Rosario Brown (“A recipe for civil un­rest” – Cape Points, Satur­day,

April 7). How­ever, what he failed to men­tion is the in­sid­i­ous prac­tice of “shrink­fla­tion”, car­ried out by vir­tu­ally all sup­pli­ers of food and other goods in our su­per­mar­kets.

There are nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples, but th­ese few will prove my point.

Tomato sauce, which used to come in 750ml bot­tles, now comes in bot­tles of 700ml.

A box of tis­sues, which used to con­tain 200, now con­tains 180. A cake of soap, which used to weigh 200g, now weighs 175g.

The list is end­less. In all cases the price ei­ther re­mained the same, or were in­creased.

The other ques­tion­able prac­tice is the pack­ag­ing of items in non- stan­dard units, mak­ing price com­par­i­son vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble with­out hav­ing to re­sort to a cal­cu­la­tor.

Cheese, for ex­am­ple, which used to come in 1kg pack­ages, is now sold in units of 900g or 800g.

Granted, some re­tail­ers do dis­play the unit kilo­gram or litre rates, but this is usu­ally hid­den away in a minute font.

Yet an­other ex­am­ple is when the “large econ­omy size” is more ex­pen­sive per kilo­gram or litre than sev­eral smaller con­tain­ers of the same prod­uct of equiv­a­lent com­bined mass or vol­ume.

Th­ese are just a few of the ways in which un­scrupu­lous busi­nesses are tar­get­ing un­so­phis­ti­cated or un­ob­ser­vant con­sumers to max­imise prof­its.

We should not merely ac­cept this meekly.

All it needs is for some se­ri­ous con­sumer boy­cotts of the prod­ucts in ques­tion to make sup­pli­ers re­alise the old say­ing that “you can fool all of the peo­ple some of the time and some of the peo­ple all of the time but you can­not fool all of the peo­ple all of the time” is still true and they ig­nore con­sumer anger at their peril.

It just takes some­one with the nec­es­sary mo­ti­va­tion, drive and lead­er­ship, to take the lead. We are in dire need of a South African Ralph Nader.

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