The blind robbery of inflation

Neha Seenarine, Associate Arts & Life Editor

If you thought inflation was bad, just wait until you hear about the latest selfish move companies are making. 

“Shrinkflation” is ruining my life. It is when companies are reduce the sizes of products while the price remains the same or goes up.

This year, wallets suffered more from increased prices. I’ve shed tears watching gas prices go up, but five fewer chips in the Doritos bag is where I draw the line. 

“Inflation is hitting everyone … we took just a little bit out of the bag so we can give you the same price and you can keep enjoying your chips,” a Frito-Lay representative told Quartz. 

Supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic are a strong factor leading to shrinkflation. The problem isn’t that the Doritos bag is practically 90% air and five chips out of the bag will make it empty. The problem is that consumers are not getting the entire value out of the price they paid. 

I’ve noticed shrinkflation in headlines focusing on the snack industry. Then, I found a subreddit on shrinkflation and my jaw dropped. 

The most shocking post was about toilet paper width shrinking. Charmin cut its toilet paper roll of 20 sheets from 264 to 244, according to AARP. Although that doesn’t seem like a huge drop, the impact can go a long way. 

Depending on how sparing someone is, 20 sheets can be another two to three goes in the bathroom, causing another roll to be used and soon another trip to the grocery store. People shouldn’t have to spend their money sooner if they don’t have to. 

Shrinkflation is inflation’s evil counterpart. Companies find ways to reduce the quantity inside of products without losing profit. Its product changes are so slight that customers don’t notice a difference.

I had no idea that the product sizes are decreasing. Although inflation rose 7.9% in the past year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it feels like businesses are keeping a secret from me like a cheating boyfriend

I found myself to be more frugal. I don’t buy the things I want anymore, instead I focus on my needs knowing my monthly bill will be higher each time it comes around. 

As a single woman without children, I can most likely survive a jump in prices. I’m purchasing for one person: myself. However, what about people with dependents? 

There are people who work tirelessly to afford their bills and put a roof over their family’s heads. Rent is up 15.2% from last year, according to Redfin. Imagine you’re working day and night, so you don’t get an eviction notice. Then, you constantly have to make a trip to the grocery store because you finish eating faster than you expected. 

If people have to bust their butts to keep a roof over their heads, can there at least be enough chips in the bag? The small transactions from the bank account add up, and companies slowly taking away their products is unfair.