Archive for February, 2011
Seems like everywhere I look, people are offering me less for more. I’m over it.
When I was a little boy grocery shopping with my mother, she would tell me to pick out a half gallon of ice cream. And guess how much ice cream was in that container. One half of one gallon! Now it is either 1.75 quarts or in extreme cases 1.50 quarts. And the price has tripled, which is great if you own shares of Breyers or have type two diabetes.
For a while there, I didn’t realize what the heck was happening. I thought I was Alice in Wonderland or something! Was this a joke? Is the world around me getting smaller? No, the only thing getting smaller is big business’s respect for the consumer.
You even see this phenomenon at Dunkin Donuts, where nowadays there is almost no difference between a donut and a Munchkin! This may be a good thing, since that stuff is bad for you, but then lower the price along with portions, no? I mean, has anyone seen a Snickers bar lately? When I was kid, that was called “Fun Size.” Love that, too. What is more fun about less candy? Maybe fun for the same guy who thinks a four-inch coffee cup is “tall.”
The logical explanation for all of this is that we are stupid. No one seems to notice or care that they are charging us more for less, so why should they stop? They shouldn’t. We’re stupid, they can keep screwing us and shrinking portions while raising prices without consequence. We’re all too busy staring at Kim Kardashian’s boobs on the latest StyleWhore magazine (which has quadrupled in price while shedding 48 pages) to notice that the box containing our Nutri-Grain bars is twice as tall as the six bars inside (there used to be eight).
I see it in poker, too. I remember when the entry fee for a $500 tournament was $40 and included dinner. Now it is $60 and in some obscene cases $70, without dinner. But I hardly ever hear players complaining about the rape, I mean rake. In what other industry could the price increase by 75% in just a few years with zero backlash!?! And all this in a market that is increasingly saturated. What ever happened to competition benefitting the consumer? At these prices, playing mid-stakes tournaments is less profitable than slots for the average player, since the house advantage on the one-armed bandit is actually more forgiving!
Well, if the consumer is willing to pay more for less, he has no one to blame but his own blind, stupid self. If we really are this stupid, they are smart to keep raising prices while shrinking their products. If we are so fooled by clever packaging that we don’t notice or care that there is nothing inside, we deserve to get screwed by The Man.
But you won’t see me playing at Foxwoods or eating Edy’s anytime soon.