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The Valley, May 2014 hundred 14-Karat Gold “Box Chains.” When they arrived, the usual (larger and better quality) lobster claw clasps had been replaced by tiny, terribly difficult to use, clasps that basically ruined the necklaces. When we called and complained, we were told that “everyone else” was “happy” with the change because it helped “keep the products price at a more reasonable level.” (We returned the shipment, and paid the difference to have the midget clasps

Dave Wilson

Coins, Precious Metal and a Little of this and That

Stealth Inflation Is Coming to an End There is little doubt, that anyone reading this article has not personally noticed product/service price increases, many times substantial increases, over the past several years. True inflation has been with us for much longer than that, of course, but until recently, manufacturers and suppliers were able to “play” with their product’s final (in store) price without most consumers being fully aware of what was going on. We have labeled this “gradual” increasing of prices as Stealth Inflation. Cereal boxes have shrunk, and even then, many are only filled to 80% of capacity. (Some are so thin, that they look like laptop computer boxes.) Coffee containers have been shrunk to embarrassingly small sizes. Candy bars are thinner and shorter. Toilet tissue is much more narrow. Tooth paste tubes are several ounces lighter. Ice cream containers have been down-sized, and cans of condensed soup are smaller. Practically everything you use, or can think of, has been packaged in smaller units or

sizes. Almost always, prices for these smaller units are the same, or even higher than before they were reduced. That, of course, is the whole idea behind such practices. In the beginning, manufacturers were hopeful that consumers would not notice that they were paying the same (or even more) for LESS product. For a time, they were successful. As the years passed, however, and down-sizing of package contents became more severe, many did began to notice. Product shrinkage was everywhere. Merchandise changes, usually labeled as “new and improved,” are, many times, not for the benefit of the consumer (as their advertising suggests), but in fact, are another form of Stealth Inflation. Paper towels that have been introduced with perforations closer together, making each towel smaller, are supposed to help you save paper, by tearing off a smaller piece with each use. However, as most manufacturers probably already know, most people (many times) end up tearing

off two towels, as one just doesn’t get the job done. So, instead of saving 25%, the consumer ends up using 25% more with each use. (Go ahead and admit it, you have probably done this too.) Soaps, that now are arched underneath in the middle, supposedly, we are told, are designed this way so they will not stick to soap containers. In reality, it also makes them break in half in a very short time. Most people detest using the smaller pieces, so many (men especially) just discard them, resulting in a huge loss of product. Again, a practice that is likely no surprise (and probably a delight) to the people who make the soap. Aside from shrinking product packages, and improvements that are not always what they appear to be, there is a general cheapening of many things we use every day. Three years ago, realizing that they were just as good an investment as anything, we ordered several

replaced.) The paper bags we use in the store were another issue. Last year we ordered 2000 of them. Same bag number, same supplier. Normally, the ladies have to separate each bag from the stack as they tend to stick together. In the past, 2 or 3 bags per hundred would tear in the process and be lost. The new bags were so much lighter weight that we lost nearly

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May 2014 the valley new online  
May 2014 the valley new online  

The Valley is a FREE monthly newspaper serving Mifflin and surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.