Because you're complaining about package size as if it were hidden from you
somehow. Something sneaky. The only to make it clear is to (ready?) make it
clear. I suggested two ways of doing so, both of which you consider silly.
By doing so, you're saying that you consider it unethical to shrink a
package. The only way for them to deal with increasing costs is to raise
their prices, as far as you're concerned.
But: I explained to you that customers have certain perceptions - certain
price levels beyond which they simply will not buy a product. Manufacturers
know what these perceptions are, based on research and product movement
data. I asked you where YOUR limit was for a half gallon of ice cream. You
refused to respond sensibly.
We've covered almost every angle that I had to deal with in a series of
business courses. Same debates YOU would be subjected to if you were the CEO
of a corporation and your board of directors called you on the carpet to
discuss profitability issues. But, you seem to think these ideas originated
in the twilight zone. Do you want to continue, or would you like to discuss
it in exactly the same way you would if you were working on your MBA from
Can you describe ANY way to shrink a package that would NOT be sneaky?
I've told you that there are costs which cannot be controlled. Therefore,
size must decrease or price must increase. You don't like sizes being
changed, as you've repeated a number of times. That leaves price increases
as the only option. You may not have said it explicitly, but since there is
no other option, you've agreed to it.
Customer perceptions (and YOUR perceptions) are silly and irrelevant? Why?
Certainly. If you're reducing the package size by 1/8, the straightforward
way to do it is to keep width and depth the same, and reduce length by 1/8. A
side-by-side comparison of the larger and smaller packages makes the
difference instantly obvious. The sneaky way to do it is with a 4.4% reduction
in each dimension, which is scarcely noticeable, and even if noticed would
hardly be suspected by the average person as resulting in a 12.5% decrease in
Come off it, Kanter, who advertises his product as "Now! Less for your money!"
I didn't say that either. I said I don't like package sizes being changed in a
way that disguises the change.
Wow! Two falsehoods in one! There *are* other options (e.g. cutting costs),
and no, I didn't agree to it.
Again... I didn't say that. You keep attributing to me things I didn't say,
and then demand that I justify them.
No, Kanter, _your_questions_ are silly and irrelevant. I thought that was
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Side by side comparison. OK. You wrote that yesterday. I assume that by now,
you've realized why it's unlikely you'd have an opportunity for such a
comparison. There are at least two reasons.
Nope. If you've already cut costs as much as possible in the area of labor,
and raw materials you CAN control, there are still some things you cannot
change. No avenue left but to adjust size or price.
What business are you in???
Translation: You've never in your life been involved with marketing a
product. So, you bash any idea which might reveal your lack of experience.
Why do you get involved in these discussions to begin with? Feelings of
powerlessness elsewhere in your life?
Whether I have or not is not relevant to what we started out discussing. As
usual, as soon as you began to lose the argument, you tried to change the
subject. Stick to the point, or shut up.
What ideas was I bashing, Kanter, other than labelling as "silly" your
suggestion that a manufacturer should display a banner calling attention to
his smaller package and/or higher price? That *is* silly.
Oh, and what university is your degree in psychoanalysis from?
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
It certainly *is* relevant. You claimed I kept changing the subject. You
kept focusing on "deceptive" and "sneaky". That suggests "covert" -
something manufacturers try and put over on the buying public. The opposite
of that would be "openness", "informative". Instead, you said there was an
in-between: The specifics of the package dimensions. I asked you why this
would be unlikely to work. You didn't respond. So, one by one, you eliminate
Whether in law, science, marketing or philosophy, most decent discussions
involve the introduction, dissection, and rejection/acceptance of wide
ranging hypothetical ideas. (Search the web for transcripts of Supreme Court
sessions, for instance). If you don't have the energy or intellect for this
practice, don't waste peoples' time.
One needs only to pay attention through one's adult life to notice these
OK, enough already. I stopped at the Sherwin Williams tore this morning (on
my way to another paint store) and checked the actual sizes on the
containers. The base for tinting is marked 3 11/16 quarts. The pre-colored
already mixed on the shelf containers is 3 27/32 quarts.
How many "gallons" of paint do they sell in a year? At a million containers
it amounts to 39,062 gallons. If the manufacturing cost is $5 a gallon,
that is $195,312 in added profits. Not bad considering the efforts of
changing a label and adjusting a filler machine.
Most of their other product are still a full gallon.
Lets not overlook the practice of adding a broad yellow band around the top of
spray cans that state "BONUS - 10% MORE!!!" The band usually covers the top
20% or more of the can. It is clearly intended to make you think that the yellow
band marks the amount of "can and product" that has been added.
B&J isn't being deceptive. Those small containers have always been
overpriced (at least from my point of view, but apparently, not everyone's).
Haagen Dasz is the same. Both have created an image which the public has
Were you equally bothered when canned vegetables went from 16 oz to 14.5 oz?
I keep coming back to two things: First, how much did a half gallon of milk
increase in price over the past 5 years? Do you remember? Forget for the
moment that many stores price it as a loss leader much of the time. Or,
consider the corresponding hike in the prices of other dairy basics like
yogurt and cream cheese. There is simply NO WAY this doesn't affect ice
Second: If this discussion continues for one more day, then it's ridiculous.
Wanna flip a coin and decide who gets to write a letter to Breyers, and see
what they say? Somebody's gotta do it. Or, I'll handle Breyers, you handle
Sherwin Williams. :-)
They've still got the basic no-guar flavors alongside the adulterated ones.
I suspect they've introduced the newer crap because what the hell...why not?
It enables them to grab some of the B&J crowd who insists on 118 different
tastes in the same container. (Cherry Garcia, however, is nothing to shake a
stick at). :-)
Here's a scary thought: They almost dumped strawberry about 5 years ago, not
because customers weren't buying it, but because so many stores were not
stocking it. You'd be shocked at how many stupid policies can be kept in
place by just one buyer at a chain's headquarters. Here, for instance, we
have a local brand called Perry's. And, the otherwise excellent chain,
Wegman's, also has their store brand. Both strawberry offerings are sad
imitations. Artificially colored bright pink, guar gum, "other flavors". Our
other major store, Tops, carried Breyer's strawberry occasionally, if you
believed the shelf tag. Out of stock most of the time.
My company was dealing with Wegman's, so I had access to the buyers. I
called the frozen buyer and asked about Breyer's. His response: "First of
all, we don't need it. We carry two other strawberry products. And, nobody
buys it anyway. The movement numbers were real low last time we had it".
Turns out "last time" was 8 or 10 years earlier. I reminded him that nobody
buys it because it's not there. That didn't make much impact, although it
seems logical to me. Anyway, I guess enough people bitched and now they
carry it. (That buyer retired, too.)
I found out later (from a company rep) that local and private label brands
had impacted certain flavors to the point where they were almost
discontinued. Strawberry was one of them. It took some reeducation by the
reps to change this.
Back to the subject: I don't know about how other families shop, but I don't
have ice cream around all the time. When I do, I tend to forget it's there
and go for fruit instead. I'm sure some people consider it a staple item
like milk & eggs. There's always going to be a segment of this group who
will compare the price of Breyer's to the private label or local brands
every time they buy, even though they KNOW the last two are usually cheaper
and are of lower quality. The cheaper brands will consistently snag some of
those customers, SOME of the time. Nobody knows why. But, when these brands
are selling for $0.99 to $2.00 per half gallon, the national brand has to do
SOMETHING. You may recall that not long ago, Breyer's (not on sale) sold for
$3.50 to $4.25, depending on the market. Like me, many people never bought
it at that price, waiting for a sale instead.
That was simply not working for Breyer's. First of all, it's obvious that
they weren't moving enough product. And, it meant that if they offered deals
to the stores, it sometimes did not generate larger orders because nobody
wanted to be stuck with aging product. They don't want to store it, and you
& I don't want to buy it. This generated quite a scam a few years back when
someone in the NYC area altered the freshness dates on a few truckloads of
Breyer's ice cream.
Faced with this, and the drastic increase in the price of raw milk, I think
they had no choice but to change something. It worked. They're moving more
ice cream. Go figure.
In alt.home.repair on Fri, 29 Jul 2005 19:01:15 GMT "Doug Kanter"
Not the best example. Most people can cut down on ice cream, but
being less hungry, and less dirty are very hard to do. Cutting down
on beans, detergent, and toilet paper, because the same money buys
less will just leave people needing more sooner, regardless of how
much money they have.
If emailing, please let me know whether
or not you are posting the same letter.
Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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