As some of you know, I’ve been working hard to give up pop (or soda, depending on what part of the country you’re from).
My husband still carries pop in his lunch for work, so I’m still on the lookout for good deals. There haven’t been many lately.
So, we were completely out of pop, and I happened to be at Target. The sign above boxes of Coca-Cola showed the price as $5.99. Okay. Not a great price, but we were out, so fine.
But then I noticed something. It wasn’t a 24-pack…. it was a 20-pack! ACK!
I did not buy the pop at Target. I was pretty irritated by the sneakiness, so I ended up going to Cub Foods and getting the pop there. But the experience really frustrated me.
I’ve already seen the package shrink ray hit other products – primarily diapers. The companies will redesign their packaging and offer some shiny new claim, and then sell you 6-8 less diapers for the same price as the old design.
It’s frustrating. And it’s happening everywhere.
So what can you do?
Watch the unit prices. You need to pay close attention to the price per item or ounce. It’s the only way you can know for sure that you’re getting a good deal.
If you hear a product is going to get a facelift, be sure to check for the old versions on clearance. Last spring, I got Huggies Diapers for half-off at Target because they were changing their packaging. Electrasol is in the process of changing its name to Finish, and I’ve seen the old Electrasol boxes on sale at several stores.
Consider store brands. Sometimes the store brand is cheaper than the name brand – even if you have coupons.
Make your voice heard. Let the companies know you are unhappy with their decision to charge more money for less product. If nothing comes of it, at least you’ll feel better for voicing your concerns.
Look for alternatives. Perhaps you can find a greener, homemade version of the same thing you’re shopping for, such as cleaning products.
A smart consumer keeps his or her eyes open all the time. Many companies claim to care about their customers, but care about their bottom lines more.