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January 11, 2016

Can’t I Just Buy One?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:11 am

10 for $10For several years now, supermarkets have tried to get you to buy more with offers like “10 for $10.” Savvy shoppers know when you see offers like that, you are not required to buy 10 units to get the $1 each price. You can buy as few as you want and only pay the mathematical equivalent of that number.

Drug stores like Walgreens and Rite Aid have gotten a bit more clever by advertising “2-fer” or “3-fer” offers like 2 for $10 or 3 for $2, but then in small print indicate if you only want one, you will pay more, sometimes significantly more.

*MOUSE PRINT:

3 for $2

In this case, if you just want one pack of gum it is 99 cents — 50% more than the sale price.

Not wanting to be left out of being able to charge more if you just want one sale item, supermarkets are beginning to mimic drug store pricing policies on some items. Here are some examples of supermarkets requiring the purchase of multiple items in order to take advantage of the sale price:

*MOUSE PRINT:


buy 2 key food


3 for $9


buy 3 shoprite

Sometimes it is clearly stated that you must buy the advertised quantity to get the advertised price. Other times, the disclosure is not conspicuous, and they don’t always tell you how much one will cost you if that is all you want.

Stores may be counting on the fact that most shoppers don’t scrutinize ads or their sales receipts with many items on it, and won’t catch the higher price if they only buy one of the advertised items.




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December 21, 2015

Here We Downsize Again 2015 (Part 4)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:00 am

 
Note: The next new Mouse Print* story will appear on January 4th.


We end the year with our final installment of products that have undergone the shrink ray.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Gillette deodorant

Thanks to our ever vigilant Richard G. for catching Gillette deodorant going from a full four ounces to 3.8. And you still can’t carry it on an airline.


*MOUSE PRINT:

Kleenex Costco

We’ve seen the smaller boxes of Kleenex tissues get smaller over the years, but Albert L. found that they shrunk at Costco as well. In this case, each box in the 10-pack is now shy 30 tissues. Put another way, you are missing more than a whole box now from every 10-pack.


*MOUSE PRINT:

Campbell's Spaghetti

Frankie found and took a wonderful picture of Campbell’s Spaghetti, which went from 14-3/4 ounces to 14.2 ounces. Surprisingly, the can is noticeably smaller despite such a small decrease in contents.


*MOUSE PRINT:

Walmart Great Value nuts

Tim B. discovered that Walmart lopped off more than 12% from their Great Value mixed nuts, bringing cans down to an even pound from 18.25 ounces. The price also went up from a reported $7.98 to $8.84. Combined, that is the equivalent of a 26% price increase, making it not such a “Great Value.”


*MOUSE PRINT:

Soda Stream

Finally, Richard G. found that Soda Stream, which makes flavor concentrates so you can make your own soda, changed their packaging and a lot more. The old bottle made 50 eight-ounce servings of soda and cost $7.99. The new version only makes 29 glasses, but the price dropped by $2. Fair deal? Not at all. The customer is now getting 40% fewer glasses of soda, but the price only went down by 25%.

If you spot a product that has been downsized, send MrConsumer an email at edgar(at symbol)mouseprint.org . And if you can take a sharp photograph of the old and new product labels, that would be great too.




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December 14, 2015

Holy Cow, How Wise is Milkwise?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:03 am

Have you checked out the dairy aisle lately? There are all these newfangled milk products on the shelf, all claiming in one way or another to be better than plain old milk.

One such product in New England stores is Hood (brand) Milkwise.

MilkWise

It’s got one-third the sugar, almost half the calories, and 50 percent more calcium than even reduced fat milk. How did they do that… put the cows on a low fat and low carb diet?

The answer is in the fine print.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Milkwise ingredients

They watered it down — water is now the first ingredient — plus they added calcium and sugar. That is why it is called a “milk beverage” instead of milk. This product is reminiscent of Trop50, the “orange juice beverage” that claimed 50% fewer calories because it is basically orange juice diluted with a lot of water.

But the Milkwise label makes it seem so healthy. How can this be? The trick is that they left out one key attribute of milk in the comparison — protein. We’ve taken the liberty of filling in the blanks.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Milkwise protein

Milkwise only has one-quarter the protein of regular milk. Expressed the other way, regular milk has four times the protein of Milkwise.

Maybe it should be called Milk-not-so-wise.

Thanks to Dr. W who was driving along the highway in Saugus, Massachusetts and saw a Milkwise billboard with a mother and child. She thought the ad was suggesting that this was a healthier milk product.




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• • •

November 2, 2015

Lime-A-Way: Money Back (Not) Guaranteed

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:57 am

Lime-A-WayRecently, MrConsumer needed to clean some pavers that had a cloudy white stain on them. At the supermarket, he was attracted to Lime-A-Way bottles because of a sticker promising a full price rebate just to try the product. He could not read the terms of the rebate because the sticker was really a plastic envelope and one would have to tear along the perforation lines to remove the sticker and reveal the details that were inside.

After coming home, MrConsumer broke the seal to discover the rebate had actually expired about two months earlier. Drats.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Lime-A-Way Try Me

MrConsumer then checked the Lime-A-Way website, and right there on the homepage was a money back guarantee if you were not satisfied with the product’s performance.

Since in fact it did nothing to remove the cloudy white stain from the pavers, MrConsumer enclosed the receipt and the guarantee form from their website and sent it off to the company. A few weeks later, a surprise came in the mail:

lime-a-way envelope

It said “Return to Sender. Offer Expired. Box Closed.”

In fact, according to the form that was mailed in, the money back guarantee didn’t expire until December 31, 2015.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Lime-A-Way deadline

Two refund attempts… two failures. So we wrote to the PR folks at Reckitt Benckiser to ask why they didn’t put the expiration date of the “try me” rebate on the outside of the package so shoppers could see it in the store, and how is it that their P.O. box to accept refund requests through the end of the year was closed. Their UK headquarters forwarded our request to their US office, and no further response was received from the company. However, curiously, the Lime-A-Way website has been changed, and no longer has a money back guarantee.




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October 26, 2015

Reese’s Snack Sizes — Trick or Treat?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:45 am

With Halloween just around the corner, what better time to examine some candy labels.

Nancy S. wrote to Mouse Print* about a strange situation she found involving Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. It seems depending on which “snack size” package you pick up, the size of the snack is different.

*MOUSE PRINT:


Reese 21g - 14 servings

Reese 21g - 7 servings

Both bags are 10.5 ounces, but the top one says it has 14 servings in the bag, and the bottom one says only seven servings. Each individual package inside is 21 grams or 0.75 oz. The difference is on the nutritional label that that seems to have upped the serving size to two patties (43 grams) instead of just one.

But it gets more interesting.

As noted, in those 10.5 ounce bags above, each peanut butter cup is 21 grams. However, each individual “snack size” patty varies in weight depending on how big a bag it comes in.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Reese 15-17-21 grams

So, the “snack size” peanut butter cups ranged from 15 grams each to 21 grams.

We asked the PR folks at Hershey to explain why they use the same term, “snack size,” for candy of varying sizes; and why the portion size was doubled to two peanut butter cups. They did not respond.




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