Less Means Less

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

Times are tight everywhere and we're all feeling the pinch, of course, but have you noticed how people who make the stuff we need and buy are starting to, shall we say get creative with their packaging?

Case in point, the wife cracked open a shrinking box of soap the other day. Yes, shrinking.

Soap is something we all need on a regular basis so as to not infringe upon the olfactory functioning of our fellow man. Go without soap, and you become a real stinker.

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The wife took specific exception to the size of said soap, which seemed was about half of what was once upon a time not so long ago.

What are the makers thinking-did they want us half as clean?

Were we only supposed to wash half of ourselves?

And, if so, what parts are to remain wash-less?

Questions that only some corporate executive somewhere could possibly answer if he/she were inclined to do so. But, really, I think the answer is obvious: they hope we've just fallen asleep in the shower.

The funny thing about making do with less soap is that I don't remember our cost being cut in half, or even dropping. The message is clear: we bet you're not really paying attention and will just keep buying the product.

Hello, I've noticed. I've noticed how it costs me more to simply live.

It's not just the soap that's got me in a lather. This is a continuation of the slippery slope. Look at the size of your dog food bag, for example. Time was, there was a 50 lb bag and a 25 lb bag. The 25 lbs has become 20 (if you're lucky, depending on the brand) and-if you're like me in keeping the cost down at the register-and buy what should be a half-sized bag, you only end up going back to the store more often.

That's OK, of course, because you keep running out of other things you're getting less of more often.

The only thing that seems to have grown for consumers is the number of bags we have to load into the car. Someone somewhere is trying to make us feel better that we went home with 20 tiny bags rather than two full paper sacks.

And a lot of plastic trees are dying.

Next thing you know, they'll be trying to sell us that we're getting concentrated groceries-that we are getting more, but it only looks like less. (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

Less, no matter how you dress it up or colorful the package, is still less.

Perhaps one could argue that the price of fuel has changed all of our lives so drastically. It's a valid argument, provided that one does not take into account that the cost of gas has (thankfully) dropped in recent weeks.

Haven't really seen the price of goods go down just yet.

Then, too, with the drought in the Midwest this past summer, maybe that has had an impact on consumer costs. Somehow, I never thought corn was an ingredient for my shrinking bottle of hand sanitizer.

But what do I know? I've got so much less and less to think about.