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Harris Blackwood: These people must think we're stupid
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Food processing companies must think we, the consumers, are not very smart. For several years, they are putting some of their products in smaller containers so they can sell them for the same price as the previous larger containers.

Have you tried to buy a half-gallon of orange juice? More than likely, you’ll find a 48-ounce size rather than 64 ounces. The same is true for ice cream.

Your jar of peanut butter may not be as big as it once was. Even your toilet paper may have fewer sheets.

It starts in the morning; many breakfast cereals are now in a smaller box.

Fortunately, milk is still in gallons, half-gallons and quarts. So you may have milk left over after finishing off a box of cereal.

If you drink coffee, most bags or cans of what we used to call a pound of coffee are now a few ounces smaller. Some of them even have the same size can, just less stuff inside.

Remember Juan Valdez; he was the guy from Colombia who brought bags of coffee beans on his donkey to create flavorful Colombian coffee. Even Juan Valdez was not real, an actor with another name played him. He was first played by Jose Duval and later by Carlos Sanchez.

Is anything real anymore?

Six Flags over Georgia, the amusement park west of Atlanta, claims there have been six flags that have flown over our state. There have been two more in the last 20 years. There was the Roy Barnes flag, which flew for about 10 minutes. Then, there is the current one, which has been around for nearly two decades. So, the place should be called Eight Flags. They are charging money for six. Where are the other two?

We used to buy a quart of mayonnaise. Of the major brands around here, only Dukes has 32 ounces. Kraft and Blue Plate only have 30. I’ve seen the smaller jars for about $3. That equals about 10 cents an ounce. I think I would pay 20 cents more to get a full quart.

A friend of mine once worked for a family grocery store. The owner’s wife was known to take a couple of slices out of every loaf of bread and would have a mixed loaf for free.

That’s wrong.

The manufacturers aren’t stealing out of the jar, they’re just selling less stuff. Duke’s Mayonnaise prints the words, “Still 32 ounces” on some of their jars. I think the others should have to print “Not a quart” on their 30-ounce jar.

Fortunately, things like gasoline are regulated by the Department of Agriculture. If you went to a station and they sold you 3 quarts of gasoline for the price of a gallon, I think you’d be pretty upset. I’m glad that we still sell that by the gallon.

So, manufacturers, get the message that we are not so dumb as to not recognize your smaller containers. I’m going to go have a pint — or what’s left — of ice cream and think about it.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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