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April 16, 2018

Here We Downsize Again (2018) – Part 1

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:04 am

In the never ending saga of products shrinking in size as a means to pass on a sneaky price increase to consumers, we offer these three new ones thanks to our eagle-eyed readers.

John R. spotted this gem in the dairy case. As he points out, orange juice makers laid the groundwork for being a commonly downsized item when most brands discontinued half gallon containers in favor of 59 ounce ones. And now at least one big brand is at it again.


Simply Orange

Simply Orange has just gone from 59 ounces down to 52 ounces. On its website, the company explains their decision:

The decision to reduce our 59-ounce PET package was made after careful consideration of the current cost pressures within our supply chain as well as clear data on consumer’s price preferences. We are committed to bringing quality juices and drinks to the market and have decided to reduce our 59-ounce PET package in order to keep prices fair for our loyal customers. As part of our ongoing commitment to keep shoppers well informed, we are communicating the new 52-ounce PET package size on the Simply website and we are making the package weight more prominent on our front-of-pack labeling.

The ever-shrinking toilet paper roll is getting smaller again, at least for purchasers of Quilted Northern. Our ace downsizing detective, Richard G., found the latest example.


Quilted Northern

The “mega” roll has gone from 330 sheets to 308 sheets.

Lastly, TRESemme shampoo has downsized at least one of its varieties again.




Most varieties of TRESemme were 32 ounces originally. Then they were downsized to 25 to 28 ounces depending on the type. Now a “new look” bottle signals yet another change — this time it is down to just 22 ounces for one variety.

Thanks to Richard G. for finding this latest change. If you spot a product that has shrunk in size, try to send a sharp picture of both the old and new package to Mouse Print*.

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April 9, 2018

A Macy’s Rebate Gone Wrong

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:00 am

SensorGel pillowRight after Christmas, Consumer World promoted a deal on a SensorGel pillow at Macy’s as “Bargain of the Week.” It was $20, but there was a $20 full price rebate.

In January, MrConsumer’s own rebate submission was denied by the rebate fulfillment house indicating that no receipt was received. Of course I had included it. Calling them quickly revealed that indeed they had my receipt in their records, and the rebate was approved.

Then in February, some consumers contacted me saying that their rebate was denied because they purchased the pillow online rather than in the store. Here is what one consumer was told when he engaged the rebate folks in a chat session:

Macy's rebate denial

After complaints like this starting coming in, we checked the fine print of the offer on the rebate form.


Macy's rebate fine print

Clearly, right on the rebate form itself, both online and in-store purchases were permitted for this rebate.

Since it appeared that many purchasers may have had their rebates wrongfully denied, we contacted Macy’s PR folks, asking them to investigate, and if they discovered that customers were indeed owed money, that they honor those submissions. After multiple contacts, Macy’s did not reply to our inquiries.

So, MrConsumer had to use some back-channel methods to get Macy’s to do the right thing. He contacted the former CEO of Parago, the rebate fulfillment house that Macy’s uses, to ask her help. This remarkable woman dropped everything eight years ago to address a similar problem with a Norton rebate. She did the same again by contacting the new CEO at Blackhawk Network, the new owner of the fulfillment house.

A week later, a representative of Blackhawk called to say that after discussion with Macy’s and a review of all the denied rebates, they are making good for some 150 customers! And they are also going to more accurately state on the rebate form when an offer is restricted to in-store or online sales only.

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April 2, 2018

This Lifetime Warranty Enhanced with Levity

Filed under: Humor,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:13 am

Just in time for April Fools’ Day, we discovered that The North Face tries to set consumer expectations high for its products but rather ambiguously and with a bit of humor in the terms of its lifetime warranty:


North Face warranty

What’s not so funny is the circular reasoning used for their lifetime warranty. It basically says that the product will last as long as the product lasts — whatever its life normally is. How ambiguous.

If you spot a bit of humor inconspicuously tucked into a company policy or contract, please submit it.

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March 26, 2018

Tropicana Kids: No Nutrition Sacrifice?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:12 am

Tropicana is known for its pure juices, many not made from concentrate. Now they are coming out with a new product line called Tropicana Kids, which was just announced via a press release.

Tropicana Kids

Looking at the front of the product label reveals that it is organic, which certainly implies to many that this is a healthy choice. And their senior vice president touts the product, saying:

“We’re thrilled to launch Tropicana Kids, offering an organic, premium fruit juice drink for busy parents who don’t want to sacrifice their kids’ nutrition, …”

Indeed, the words “real juice” appear on the front of the label, but it is hard to read the smaller type above it.


It says “Sweetened with real juice.”

Huh? That is an odd expression for what one might assume is a juice product to start with.


Tropicana Kids

There’s the answer! The first ingredient in this juice drink is water! And their press release announcing the product offers what might be a surprising explanation to many :

Tropicana Kids is an all-new line of certified USDA Organic premium fruit juice drinks offering delicious taste for kids with nutrition parents expect. Available in three flavors—Fruit Punch, Mixed Berry and Watermelon—Tropicana Kids is made with 45% real fruit juice and mixed with filtered water, with no added sweeteners, no artificial flavors and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Plus, the packaging features a clear panel so moms and dads can see the goodness inside, and feel good about serving Tropicana Kids to their children. [Emphasis added]

While it is a big plus that there is no added sugar or corn syrup, we’re not so sure that grossly diluted juice is a better nutritional choice for parents to make for their kids than 100% juice.

And certainly, the real nature of this product is not obvious from looking at the front of the package, peekaboo window or not, because parents can’t readily “see the goodness inside” just by visual inspection.

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March 19, 2018

Weight Watchers: Get Paid $100 to Lose Weight?

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

Did you see the Weight Watchers commercial last month that promised to pay people $100 to lose weight? Really? What’s the catch?

Weight Watchers make $100


The $100 offer stays on the screen for exactly two seconds at the end of the commercial. In that time, never mind trying to read the mouse print, you can’t even read the large print, which says to qualify you have to lose 10 pounds in three months and that a purchase is necessary.

The reasonable consumer might therefore believe you have to buy a membership for at least three months, and then you qualify for the money back. Not so. You actually have to remain a member and pay membership fees for six months — twice was long as what some might have expected.

So how much do you have to pay to get back $100? The company has several membership plans, and the pricing varies by region. In Boston, the online only membership plan works out to $3.07 a week (or $79.82 for six months); the in-person meetings plan is $6.92 a week ($179.92 total), and the “coaching” plan is $12.69 ($329.94 total). [Note: These plans incorporate a discount because they are being purchased on a multi-month plan.]

So if you pick the online only plan, they literally will be paying you to lose weight because you will come out ahead by $20. For the other plans, the $100 rebate is a significant reduction from the regular price.

Other than potentially leading consumers to believe they could quit after three months, Weight Watchers seems to be doing exactly what they promise. How novel!

But not so fast. We asked their PR folks to confirm that a member choosing the $79 plan will in fact get back $100. We got no reply. Twice.

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