Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

Jobs, shmobs, give the stuff back


February 14, 2014

I am tired of the gradual short-changing of America.

Yes, yes, of course, we’ve heard it all before about how everybody wants a job, a job that pays a decent wage, and everybody who’s anybody knows that the only way that’s going to happen is for the wealthiest of the wealthy and those rotten over-paid CEOs to share the wealth, but I think that’s a little shortsighted.

Yes, folks, get those jobs lined out, and the ultrahigh-minimum wage paychecks, too, but make those corporate fat cats give us our stuff back while you’re at it. You know the stuff: all the little bits and pieces of stuff that The Man has gradually and secretly shaved off the products we purchase.

Starting sometime about a decade ago, a wicked genius in the big-business business figured out that humans look more at price than quantity and quality, and we started seeing smaller candy bars, not-so-hot-anymore hot sauce that requires using twice as much sauce for half as much burn, everything from cars to T-shirts being made from thinner materials, new packaging that holds less product, and smaller, thinner squares of toilet paper. (They obviously have no pride when they mess with the TP supply).

I feel robbed, and powerless to prove that it is happening.

However, at least one company is on record about those TP shenanigans.

In 2006 Scott Tissue told Mouseprint.org writers that Scott Tissue TP squares went from 4 inches long to 3.7 inches long.

While three-tenths of an inch doesn’t seem like much, it amounts to a loss of 30 inches per roll, or, more visually, it’s 112.5 square feet less of TP — per roll — which didn’t go down in price to compensate us for our loss.

In 2010, Mouseprint.org reported another reduction in TP per purchase from Scott: from 4.5 inches to 4.1 inches in width. That’s 1.48 square inches less per sheet, and 123 square feet less per roll. That’s greater square footage than my entire bathroom.

The total of the two reductions in TP-square size is 235.5 square feet per roll — the floor space of a 15-by-15 room. Gone, but still paid for.

During this time, the layers got thinner, too, Mousepoint.org reported.

Someone used an expensive college engineering degree to manufacture a system to thin down toilet paper layers while pressing just the right dimples in the TP to artificially plump it up and make the rolls seem to be as full as they always were.

Think of it this way: a 1-inch tall stack of decent copier paper can have as many as 250 pages, but a one-inch stack of paper that’s been crinkled has fewer pages per inch, depending on how crinkled they are.

Scott Tissue, in their letter to Mouseprint.org, said that they are making their TP smaller to conform to the new industry standard. In other words, it is now industry standard to give us less for our money.

This type of thing starts with Keebler Grasshoppers, which used to come with two trays packed with cookies but now comes with new “protective” trays that have single-cookie slots — which supposedly make cookies safer, but really allows for a quarter fewer cookies per tray. Then one day the cookies will come individually wrapped or in a “family pack” of four.

Mark my words, at some point in the future, you will see an ad campaign selling 5-pound bags of flour in 4-pound quantities — at the same price as 5 but for “our easier lifting convenience.”

A dozen eggs will come with only 10 eggs, for what will be billed as “a positive measure to help lower cholesterol.”

And socks will be sold individually rather than pairs. The idea will be sold to us that this is to make it easier for us to replace socks lost in the laundry.

Every time we are sold less stuff, like this, without a related reduction in cost, it’s like getting short-changed at the register, and I fear that my money goes straight to a mega-CEO’s pay, pension, signing bonus or payout for early “retirement.”

I imagine, like the legend that a ringing bell signals when an angel gets its wings, every time a short-changed coin jingles in a CEO’s pockets, a fallen angel gets a new Bentley.

(Please, sir, can I have some back at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.)


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