Why Do They Think Consumers Are Stupid?

Jeff Nolan’s rant on the Grocery Shrink Ray just stroke the right chords with me: yesterday I picked up what may have been the last two 96oz pitchers of Tropicana Orange Juice at Raley’s.  Not that they are out of OJ; there’s a newly designed pitcher, so visibly streamlined that my very first thought was: it must be smaller.  Indeed it is, you get 7oz less for the same price.  But this is the really frustrating part: the try to sell it as a benefit.

Certainly not a rare case: there’s an entire thread on Consumerist about the Grocery Shrink Ray.    I absolutely agree with Jeff who says:

This is bad business for a couple of reasons, but mostly because it’s an attempt to trick consumers into paying more at the point of sale, but also bad because it presumes consumers are, well, stupid and don’t know this is going on. Prices are going up, that is no surprise to the average consumer who is paying $4.50′ish a gallon at the pump, so why would the average consumer not expect inflation at the market? It’s absolutely shameful that marketing people at food producers think that they have to slip in a price increase in this manner.

Personally, I would rather that the grocery store just raise the price honestly.

I’d go one step further: transparency works, deception fails in the long run.  Fire the deceptive marketing consultants, they don’t belong in this profession!

(This must be my Consumerist day: another rant on chocolate rip-off follows soon)


Light ‘n Healthy – It’s Just Water, Stupid…

I did not want to believe my eyes when I saw the “light” version of Tropicana Orange Juice at the supermarket today.  Tropicana OJ is 100% fruit, how do they make it light?   Hm.. the box says “½ Less Sugar & Calories”, let’s check the ingredients:

Filtered water, not from concentrate pasteurized orange juice, modified food starch, citric acid, malic acid, natural flavors, sucralose (Splenda), and acesulfame potassium; Vitamins & Minerals: potassium citrate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta-carotene, tocopherol (vitamin E), magnesium phosphate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), thamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)

Wow, I only recognize one “legitim”  item on this list: the orange juice.  Light juice?  Yeah, right.  I’ve got news for everyone: half the juice will naturally have half the Calories and Sugar in it.  The rest is just water, plain and simple. (well, not that plain considering all the crap added to it).

Of course I shouldn’t be surprised, this comes from the industry that sells us tap water in bottles.

Need I say the water/juice mix and the pure juice are sold for the same price?   So here’s my “light juice recipe”: buy the original, mix half a glass juice with half a glass water on your own, free of extra charge, and PayPal me half of what you saved.:-)

Update (9/9/08): See Consumerist on Apple Juice.