Inflation by Deflation


Posted On: Tuesday - January 3rd 2017 9:29AM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Economics  Inflation  Scams

We mean "deflation" of product sizes. This is the first post on economics here, and there is room in the database for plenty more. We don't have the ability, and don't intend to, become a second zerohedge.com. However, hopefully some ideas can be written about here that relate, but don't copy, some of "The Tylers'" (zerohedge writers, supposedly all named Tyler Durden from Fight Club which this writer totally didn't get, BTW) stuff.

Now, we will go back to the subject, which is inflation. The back-and-forth commenting on zerohedge and some of the survival blogs is good stuff, as one can read real-world examples from (ya gotta' assume) real people. Oftentimes, when the comparison of supposed inflation of prices* by government bureaus to real life is discussed, commenters will bring up things we've also seen at the stores.

I don't have a particularly good long-term memory of details, but for some reason, I seem to remember that "this used to be made like this" or "cost this much" or be "bigger" much better than others whom I point out things too. Now, there are website like Shadowstats that give out a lot of data and use wide-ranging data collection and stats to compare to US Gov't BS values, so one example here doesn't make up an analysis. The reason we would like to show the coffee-flavored yogurt in the photo is to demonstrate how insidious smart the consumer products companies are about this.

Looky here - can you tell the difference?:


The price went down recently. Then the size changed from 6 oz. down to 5.3 oz. (these are weight ounces) last week. Firstly, as a technical guy, I like round numbers, so 5.3 oz. or even 5 oz is a dumb package size. But secondly, notice that the package shape is very similar - maybe 50 thousandths taken off each major axis of the oval and about the same off of the height. It'd be hard to be sure a calculation on this matches the 11% decrease in volume, as the fill level may also be changed. Hey, this would be a cool project for the kids!

The price will go back up in a while, and then, after much sweat, many staff meetings, changes to expensive packaging molds and machine settings, talks with the label printers, and so on over at Dannon, they've made an effective 11% price increase that nobody (but PeakStupidity) has noticed. Very impressive! How 'bout be a man next time and just up the price and be done with it?

One more thing: I may have a good calibrated eyeball as technical people say - though the color change made me think about this before throwing the yogurt in the buggy, I could see that slight decrease in size! I then read the label that confirmed it.


* The definition of inflation by economists is the increase in the supply of money. The increase in prices that is bound to happen later is seen by them as a symptom. We realize this, but the general public's definition is the effect, not the cause, and we don't have a better other word.

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