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September 13, 2010

Scott Toilet Paper: Here We Shrink Again

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 4:28 am

In the continuing retail race to shrink the size of a sheet of toilet paper to that of a postage stamp, Scott 1000 sheet rolls have been downsized again.

Exactly four years ago, we reported on Scott shortening each sheet on the roll from 4 inches to 3.7 inches.

Now, they are making each sheet narrower too.

*MOUSE PRINT:

It went from a full 4.5 inches wide to just 4.1 inches wide. A four pack now has almost 42 square feet less paper — a reduction of nine percent.

When the company was asked why they narrowed each sheet, a customer service representative replied:

This makes Scott “comparable with other brands on the market shelf” … and that there was “a slight improvement to make it thicker.”

How much thicker are the sheets now? Probably not too much as the new package weighs a full five ounces less than the old one.

Scott has a long history of downsizing its 1000 sheet rolls: 

Original: 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches

Pre-2006: 4.5 inches by 4.0 inches

9/2006: 4.5 inches by 3.7 inches

9/2010: 4.1 inches by 3.7 inches

The cumulative effect on consumers of all this downsizing is significant. Today’s roll is a full 25% smaller than the original.  Maybe they need to rename the product Scott 750.

As with all products that are downsized inconspicuously, it is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase because the customer is paying the same price, but getting less.

Thanks to eagle-eyed Mouse Print* reader Karen S. for this submission.

• • •

51 Comments

  1. The size of the spindle in our bathrooms doesn’t change, so any change in roll size is immediately obvious. I’m not sure why they think they can sneak this by us. The end result: we’ll just go to a different brand.

    Comment by Shawn — September 13, 2010 @ 9:21 am
  2. After reading this, I had to check my 30-pack that I just bought at Costco! Must be “old stock” as it’s still 4.5 inches wide. I may have to rethink my next purchase and take Shawn’s advice.

    Edgar replies: The trouble is, you will find that many other brands if they have not already narrowed their sheets, soon they will.

    Comment by Frankie — September 13, 2010 @ 10:04 am
  3. Northern Quilted has done the same thing, and I’m sure the rest will follow. that’s why they dont care if we notice…and unfortunatly, they know we cant live without toilet paper!

    Comment by Debbie — September 13, 2010 @ 11:26 am
  4. Less is more given the amount of “material” that is polluting our waters and the cost willonly increase given our profit oriented economy …. use less paper and use the least “puffy” as that is most polutting!

    Comment by Mary — September 13, 2010 @ 2:22 pm
  5. I used to use Scott bathroom tissue for years as it was strong (not soft and full of air, leftover particles, etc.)until a few years ago when it became transparent, squishy, etc. I called the company and was told that ‘they’ hadn’t changed anything. Well to make a long story short I stopped using it, who wants to be told they are delusional and wrong?

    Comment by Gert — September 13, 2010 @ 2:51 pm
  6. P & G has done this also mega roll Charmin was 400 sheets now 352 Sheets.

    Comment by Art Bernstein — September 13, 2010 @ 3:40 pm
  7. My arse is getting bigger and the paper is getting smaller. I wish Sears still had a catalog.

    Comment by Rick — September 13, 2010 @ 4:59 pm
  8. Yebbut———Scott is still the only tissue that doesn’t stop up my old, cranky plumbing. Two rolls of the nice fluffy stuff and I start to have back-ups.

    Comment by Catherine Stiles — September 14, 2010 @ 8:41 pm
  9. Manufacturers have no shame. Nor do they have pride in their work. It’s all about the money. Who knew toilet paper would ever be a victim?

    It’s enough to make you wish Monkey Ward still had catalogs.

    Comment by Connie Baum — September 15, 2010 @ 5:57 pm
  10. Have you seen most catalogs lately, don’t want to be wiping with that either!

    Comment by Just_Gerald — September 16, 2010 @ 10:14 am
  11. Some grocers are negligent rotating stock, especially in paper goods. Dig around in the back of the shelf display for the older, bigger packages. End caps will have new merchandise; look in the regular shelf displays.

    Downsizing isn’t limited to toilet paper, peanut butter and some of the other products highlighted in this forum:

    Ragu Chunky Mushroom. Jar is still the same size, price has gone up and there are far fewer mushrooms (and mostly smaller “chunks”) in a jar.

    Deodorant soap bath bars went from 5 ounces to 4.5 ounces now 4 ounces and fewer in-store advertised sales;

    The repackaging of beer from 24 to 18 and 12 pack sodas down to 8 packs;

    Ceraeal boxes that are in danger of falling off the store shelf as the manufacturers keep shrinking the depth.

    The laundry detergent manufacturers followed Cheer’s lead with the repackaging/ redesigning based upon triangles instead of rectangles, (remember A = 1/2bh for triangles?) Take a close look at the triangle shapes and cut-out arcs of the containers in the liquid detergent section. At one time it was 128 ounces, then down to 100 then 96 (with Cheer sneaking in an 80 ounce package) then finally 80 ounces.

    The reason it seems that only milk, eggs and gasoline continue going up in price is that no one has figured out how to shrink a gallon or a dozen. Look for a “metric unit” or a “metric dozen” eggs some day, with 10 eggs in the carton instead of 12. You heard it first here.

    Comment by ExitRamp — September 19, 2010 @ 1:14 pm
  12. I am sick after 50 years to learn this nonsense. They had the reputation for being the best and strongest TP for the money and now I learn I’m cheated.

    Comment by Peace — September 28, 2010 @ 4:23 am
  13. They put “Now Stronger” on the package instead of “NOW NEW COMPACT SIZE” or “LESS STORAGE SPACE NEEDED” or “REQUIRES LESS SPACE ON YOUR TISSUE DESPENCER”. Why not just raise the price?

    Comment by RICHARD — September 28, 2010 @ 2:53 pm
  14. Profits once again rears it’s ugly head. I wish the company would make the product the consumer is happy with and not try to cheat them by reducing product size. Go up on the price for pete’s sake! Or cut the salaries of the workers, but don’t compromise the product!

    Comment by Snuffy — September 28, 2010 @ 6:36 pm
  15. “Pay more for less” seems to be the new reality these days. I switched to Roundy’s Double Roll, found at the Copps and Pick and Save stores. Each roll has 300 two-ply sheets, and the dimensions are 4.27 by 4.0. I check this every time we buy it, and we’ve bought it several times now, so that’s proof that we’re pretty satisfied. And it seems to be on sale a lot too, and it’s a good bargain to begin with. It’s decent toilet paper, not too flimsy, yet not too plush. The brand we switched from was “Angel Soft”. It was beginning to feel pretty thin, so we were using more and more than should be needed. “Roundy’s” lasts a lot longer. Try it.

    Comment by Sherry — September 29, 2010 @ 3:07 pm
  16. I was wondering why the paper rolls I was purchasing no longer fit the dispensor in my office. The design for most of the installed wall mount commercial dispensors is based upon the 4.5 inch standard. The new narrower 4 inch paper rolls fall out of these dispensors. Now a new dispensor is required to adapt to the apparently profit driven migration to the narrower product. What a pain.

    Comment by Tom — October 3, 2010 @ 1:22 pm
  17. Quilted Northern has just increased the inner tube diameter for their toilet paper by 1/4 inch, at least for their Double Rolls. For their 18 Double Roll package this reduces what you get by 15%. The Package used to say 572 square feet, now it says 484 square feet. It was 286 sheets, now 242 sheets (4 x 4 in). Note: The outside of the package says “50% stronger”, I’m sure a gimmick to explain the reduction. Don’t buy it; scour the shelves for another brand that’s not cheating us.

    Comment by Joel — October 4, 2010 @ 7:49 am
  18. I noticed this downsizing when I purchased Scott Tissue this week! I always stack it in my cabinet, and in the past I’ve always been able to stack it five high. All of a sudden, I can stack it six high! But there sure is a LOT of toilet paper spindle showing now; I guess the reduction of almost half an inch (!) was enough to start making the rolls look a little ridiculous on the spindle. I’ve been a faithful customer of Scott Tissue, well, all my life I guess, since my mom always bought it when I was a kid! But I think after this package I will switch to something else. :/

    Comment by Kris — October 7, 2010 @ 12:07 am
  19. You are absolutely correct. Plus the price has stayed the same! Kimberly-Clark Scott Tissue is too expensive for America!

    Comment by Trevor — October 16, 2010 @ 1:06 pm
  20. i just switched to costco brand, i will never buy Scott again

    Comment by Phil Dowt — October 17, 2010 @ 1:40 am
  21. It’s not that the manufacturers were any less “greedy” earlier, or that 2006 saw the rise of a toilet paper cartel which destroyed the competition and hijacked the margins.

    The world is running out of accessible energy, fresh water and forests, all of which are needed to produce toilet paper, but which are good for other things too. Look forward to prices which will continue to go up as sizes and quality go down, even with the odd technological innovation or organizational optimization stemming the tide.

    Comment by jaakkome — October 19, 2010 @ 9:49 am
  22. This makes me really angry. I noticed it tonight with a new roll and had to search it online to see if I was going insane. There’s something deeply annoying about seeing that extra bit of dispenser. My first hope was that this is a bid to save trees/paper which is fine but how come Breyer’s Ice Cream is like mini sized now? Saving Milk and Sugar? And it’s one thing to get less of the SAME product as with Breyers, changing the size of a toilet paper sheet is really fricking annoying. I want my pee and poop on the paper not my hand. How annoying! Time to pay less for another brand.

    Comment by Lily — October 19, 2010 @ 8:44 pm
  23. The excuse that they’re saving the forests just needs to be wiped away………that paper comes from tree farms.

    Comment by Larry Reavis — October 24, 2010 @ 2:55 pm
  24. Why don’t the mfrs compete with each other? What is all this stuff about “alignment with other brands.” Since when do competitors align? They only align when they are NOT competing but are instead colluding to divide up market share. Same with ice cream and probably other consumer goods. Cans of coffee… Well, I can only look for off brands that maybe were not invited to the conference call.

    Comment by Leon — October 27, 2010 @ 9:42 pm
  25. My family has always exclusively used Scott toilet paper. We will NEVER buy Scott again. The paper is thinner and the width got smaller yet again …extremely noticeable this time :( Seriously, and now no inner tube? What next?
    BYE BYE SCOTTY!

    Comment by christine — November 5, 2010 @ 10:45 pm
  26. Strange how Scott has patented toilet paper dispensers that they spent a ton of money to patent. And now the product they make for this specially patented device no longer fits. Why “fix” a not broken thing? Our toilet paper keeps falling off the dispenser at work, its annoying to say the least. Way to go Kimberly-Clark.

    Comment by Rev. T — November 16, 2010 @ 12:53 pm
  27. christine, you are [ ] complaining that there is no inner tube in the new Scott 1000. Do you recycle those inner tubes? Or do you just throw them in the trashcan sitting next to the toilet. Kimberly-Clark has changed something that most people thought would never be changed. Open your mind for 2 seconds and think about the vast amount of waste that will be saved my making a roll of toilet paper 100% waste free.

    Comment by AC — November 17, 2010 @ 10:28 pm
  28. I to noticed the change. I immedately called KC to confirm the quality control factor. They (KC) said this is the industry standard, basicaly my complaint was falling on deaf ears. It’s as if they were rehearsed to say what callers/customers were slated to hear. I think if we all moan and groan maybe Scott Tissue will go back to the norm…other brands have done so.

    Comment by Ron — November 22, 2010 @ 9:36 pm
  29. Looks like I won’t be shaking hands with anyone from now on. I’ll bet the top execs get the wide rolls yet.

    Comment by Dave — November 23, 2010 @ 12:19 pm
  30. I called scotts 800 number last month,the girl took all the information.Will never use scotts again.Don’t like to be taken.The role is 1/2 inch shorter and the cylinder is larger.The one thing you have time to do when in the bathroom is look at things.

    Comment by w westerkamp — November 23, 2010 @ 2:07 pm
  31. Not only has the width changed, but the texture as well. And when are the narrower toilet paper holders coming out so I don’t have to look at extra space on both sides? If someone knows of a brand that matches the “old” Scott Tissue – please let me know!!! After 20 years, I’m probably not buying from Scott again. Very disappointing!!!!!

    Comment by Annoyed in NY — December 1, 2010 @ 9:53 pm
  32. This is just one of many products that are shrinking these days. I’m tired of companies telling us they’re doing this to cut costs. Inflation has always been around. It’s just how things are. At least in the past we knew where we stood without having to check the fine print. I’m waiting for a company to come out with an ad that says “Sorry we had to raise prices but we didn’t want to deceive you by sneakily downsizing our product like our competitors”. I’d switch to them just for their honesty!!

    @AC: I do recycle. If the companies are doing this to help the environment and not for financial reasons why don’t the pass the savings incurred from eliminating the cardboard tube on to the consumers? They save money but we pay the same for less. Sounds like greed to me.

    Comment by Artee — January 6, 2011 @ 1:30 am
  33. At least Scott still has 1000 sheets, albeit smaller.
    Canada has had smaller sized sheets for the longest.
    Now the buzz word is ‘being green”.
    Would one rather have smaller sheets and still have 1000, or what others have done by shrinking
    the sheet count from the old days of Soft-Weve with 500 sheets, or even Charmin with 500 sheets as a single roll, and now they call 300 sheets as a double roll!!

    Comment by John — January 10, 2011 @ 5:14 pm
  34. Have to agree with Artee in reponse to AC. It is my opinion that because they chose to short change the consumer to their own greed, it will jeopardize and complicate their scores. The encountered experience I had in corp. america is not pretty. Money is wasted on bean counters and their execs. in order to pay out to the ever destroying executive competiveness along with their life styles. Toilet paper is personal and we have been screwed. To take a perfect product and ruin it comes from selfishness, not long term sales. Next they will layoff and move manufacture out.

    Comment by PO'd — January 18, 2011 @ 11:43 am
  35. I am so disappointed with Scott Toilet Tissue. My husband and I use this toilet paper all the time since we have a 5th wheel trailer and this toilet paper is advertised as being safe for septic tanks and RVs. Does anyone know of a toilet paper that is this safe that would be more economical to use? I was always willing to pay a little extra to get the fine quality toilet paper that Scott used to be. However, I am not willing to pay a little extra for a lot less!!!

    Comment by Sharon — January 28, 2011 @ 7:55 pm
  36. I’ve been a Scott tissue user for about 20 years, but this is the last straw for me. I knew something was up when I noticed the roll hop all over the place on the toilet paper roll bar in the bathroom. It used to be a roll fit just right. It’s almost comical how it bounces around, far too small for a toilet paper dispenser. Scott tissue sucks.

    Oh, and I used to buy all of my hand soap at Bath and Body Works. They were 12oz bottles and B&BW would often have sales of 5 for $15. The last time I went in I noticed that my favorite type of soap had shrunk to 8oz, but was being sold for the same price. A reduction of 33% in size or 33% increase in price. Unbelievable.

    Comment by jacksonista — February 8, 2011 @ 5:00 pm
  37. I started buying Scott TP in 1969. I have been watching what was a good product go down the tubes, so to speak. I found this site while trying to find out what’s up. Glad to see I’m in good company.

    Comment by Trish — February 19, 2011 @ 2:02 pm
  38. Has anyone checked the thickness??? I am in Wisconsin, Kimberley Clark which are the makers of this brand, is denying the shrinkage! They say they only reduced it once to 4/10 of an inch, back in July of 2010, I cried “foul”!!!
    When talking to the CS rep(sorry I got on him for 45 minutes), he said the TP wasn’t any thinner! That is so wrong! I have 3, 12 packs made in “Ohio”(you have to look inside the tp tube itself), the other was made in Green Bay, WI!
    Comparing the 2 to a light test, the newer version(made on 12/29/2010 in GB), I could see right through! The others were very opaque!
    They also told me that the price was set by the stores, I cry “foul” again!
    I have offed their paper towels and napkins for “Bounty”, I am looking for different TP, that meets my standard!
    I refused coupons from the CS!!!

    The only way this kind of stuff will change, is if people will call! I am asking you to do so!

    Thank You, Suki

    Comment by Suki — February 21, 2011 @ 3:47 pm
  39. @ Comment by Sharon — January 28, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    Any 1 ply TP will do! I have septic at home and I have a 40 foot trailer that is stationary at a campground!
    I did a Scott test back in 1998, compared it to the RV type brand TP’s, they both dissolved in the same amount of time!
    So in other words, just make sure the TP you use is 1 ply!
    At the rate that Scott’s is going, it will disintegrate even faster now!

    Comment by Suki — February 21, 2011 @ 3:56 pm
  40. ALDI’S HAS “OLD” SIZE!!!!!!!!!!! Aldi’s grocery stores has a type of toilet paper single-ply, HUGE 4.5 X 3.7 JUST LIKE PRE-2006 SCOTT TOILET PAPER!!!! The name on the front….I don’t know, but look for the big “1,000″ on the front of the package. Each 4-pack costs $2.49, while Scott costs $3.79 per 4 pack at my grocery store.
    My bum loves it, and I will NEVER GO BACK TO SCOTT!!!!

    Comment by earl — March 17, 2011 @ 5:20 pm
  41. The actual reduction in the size of the role from the original size is 42%! Assuming the old core size and new core size were roughly the same at 1.5 inches, the volume of toilet paper would have been 63.6 cubic inches verses the current 36.8 cubic inches. That’s a HUGE reduction from the original!

    Comment by joel caldwell — March 29, 2011 @ 9:35 pm
  42. Angel Soft has gone the same route…was 4.5″ now it’s 4″

    Comment by Carrie — May 6, 2011 @ 1:43 pm
  43. I just opened a new 12 pack to bring a couple of rolls to someone who is having financial issues and I put the rolls along with some from a previous 12 pack I had opened. My jaw dropped when I saw the change in the width. How do I know the thousand sheets promised are still there. I never counted them. The product is not as durable as the “old days”. It’s also thinner so that my hand is wet too when I use the paper. Ugh.

    Comment by norma ambrosio — June 2, 2011 @ 6:15 am
  44. A week ago I bought a jumbo pack of the toilet paper as a super saver and started to use it after a week, the first roll i took was in perfect order and the second also ok and then the problem came !! 30 % of the pack is of poor quality. As you unroll the paper, it is torn at the edge and the paper is not property aligned. This is very annoying, I may have to switch to another brand if the case persists and quality remains that way. Scott, this is yr business, it’s yr choice !!!

    Comment by Albert — August 27, 2011 @ 8:40 pm
  45. Scott Tissue has gone downhill for sure. It is thinner than it used to be therefore you have to use more so it’s not a good buy anymore. It is also narrow.

    Comment by Terry Logan — August 29, 2011 @ 12:49 pm
  46. It has gotten so thin you can read a book through it. After 50 some years of attempted loyalty, I have finally given up on this old stand by. Good riddance. It’s insulting.

    Comment by queanne — October 11, 2011 @ 9:09 pm
  47. a good buy has become a good bye!!! the product is useless in it’s new improved form. I will be buying other brands until I’m satisfied. Charmin basic seems to be working.

    Comment by rere — October 26, 2011 @ 11:38 am
  48. Rere, you’ve mentioned Charmin Basic as a better substitution for the new and “improved” Scott paper. You must’ve not noticed that Charmin Basic is now narrower and shorter as well. Their original roll had 350 sheets, then 309 and earlier this year it went down to 264 sheets per roll, while the price stayed the same, or even higher. I quit buying all national brands and switched to my local supermarket’s store brand, which is the only one that is still 4.5 inches wide, although not as soft.

    Comment by Clay — November 11, 2011 @ 11:57 pm
  49. The only way to put an end to the widespread deception is to STOP buying these products. Here we are, a year later than the original post and the Scott Tissue continues to get smaller and thinner. Now the paper itself is so thin and So rough that it doesn’t even do a good job.

    Comment by sally — November 24, 2011 @ 9:32 am
  50. I KNEW IT! I knew I wasn’t imagining things!

    Comment by LaRonda Bourn — March 22, 2012 @ 12:01 am
  51. I used Scott toilet paper for over 30 years, but quit using Scott toliet paper (and all Scott/KC products) i arly 2011 because of the reduction of the size from 4.5″ to something less desireable. I am a 6’2″ person with large hands and the new toliet paper size just doesn’t fit in my hand any more. I find I have to use about twice as much to roll around my hand. So much for savings and helping the environment! I have located 4.5″ tolet paper on the ‘net doing a google search and now I don’t have to use anything less than 4.5″ x 4.5″ toliet paper anymore. I will only return to Scott paper products if they decide to revive their 4.5″ toliet paper that actually FITS standard toilet paper holders.

    Comment by Chaz — May 4, 2012 @ 9:25 am

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