by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
A new word crept into the vocabulary of many businesses in the late 20th century - downsize. It was kind of a polite way of saying “We aren’t making money so we have to lay off some of our staff.” Of course, many of those people who were downsized went to work for the government; an entity that has never made money so they just borrow it from China to pay the employees. Then companies that produce household goods went the extra mile and began downsizing their products.
If you have reached the age of 40 or over, you may remember the three pound can of coffee. It’s not in a can anymore, and now is in the 34 to 36 ounce range. So now we get to toss half again as many of those plastic containers into a landfill somewhere, because the coffee companies think we won’t buy three pounds all at once if it would cost over $10.00. Of course, you could buy a 12 ounce bag of mocha, vanilla, hazelnut, flavored gingerbread spice coffee. At least the bag won’t harm the environment, but the price could harm your bank balance. Moving right along, whatever happened to the 5 ounce bar of soap? If you look hard, you may be able to find a 4.5 ounce bar, but most are now 4 ounces. I have even seen 3.2 ounce bars at the dollar store where they can hawk 3 bars for a buck. Once you get the package home and open it, the bars are smaller than those furnished at drocks $15.00 LaCrosse motel. Hey businesses! Why not upsize your product and save on all that packaging? Do you think we are so stupid that we think 12 - 4 ounce bars of soap is a better deal than 10 - 5 ounce bars? We seniors can figure it out in our head, and the younger generation can figure it out on their cell phone.
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and the other beverage companies aren’t quite as bad. Years ago, I drank Pepsi from 12 ounce returnable glass bottles. Later they upsized to 16 and then 24 ounces. But then they switched to the plastic bottles. I hope there’s room in the landfill next to the empty coffee containers. Fortunately, the soda pop makers also package their product in a 12 ounce aluminum can. There’s still hope for Mother Earth. When I was a kid we could get a 4 ounce bag of sunflower seeds for 19 cents. Now it’s about a dollar and a half but at least it’s still 4 ounces. Thumbs up, Fisher’s!
What about that bottle of booze. We could buy a quart, but the liquor companies decided that a fifth of a gallon looked like a quart and could fool the drunks into thinking they could get more for less, when they were actually getting less for more. Then along came the Liter, and the 750 ml bottle. Now even sober people can’t figure out what the best bargain is. You just have to stock up on Black Friday at 5:00 AM when everything is 50 - 70 % off.
If you’re still reading this, we have gotten around to our friendly neighborhood bowling pro shop. For years and years I purchased many 16 pound bowling balls. You needed to throw man weight or be laughed out of your league. But as time went on, the coverstocks and weight blocks got more aggressive, and people were discovering that 15 pounds worked as well. Some even went to 14 pounds. But even though the ball makers downsized the balls, they have upsized the price. And the price is the same no matter the weight. But bowling balls are not sold by the pound like frozen turkeys. However, I have heard that some people still bowl frozen turkeys down the supermarket aisle.