Saturday, January 04, 2014

Spot the difference

When I was growing up, there used to be a game called "Spot the difference" in the newspaper. That and the sports section are just about the only parts of the paper I read (the cartoons back home tended to be more political than funny). Basically, you are given two pictures with slight differences between them. Your task is to spot the differences between the two pictures. Sounds pretty simple, right? Except some are really tough because the differences are where you least expect them to be.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Grocery shopping these days has become an exercise in spotting the difference. Except here, your hard earned money is at stake, you are forced to play and the game is rigged. See if you can spot the difference between these 2 packages of flushable wipes from Costco:


If you can't spot the difference, here's a hint:



You still what happened there? The package went from 6.8 x 5.9 inches to 7.1 x 5.1 inches. That's a difference of almost 4 square inches per wipe (40.12 inches - 36.21 inches = 3.91 inches). And the price? Remains the same. But don't worry, the new smaller version comes in "New! Decorative Packages".


I love Costco, I do but this is why I think American companies have an adversarial relationship with their customers. Their #1 goal is to separate us from our money...providing good value is a distant #2. This is not the first time this has happened...in fact it's so common now consumer advocates call it "grocery shrink ray".