The Price Of Ice Cream and Tampons!

Okay. This makes me crazy. Stay with me here.

I noticed it starting about 25 years ago. With tampons.

Now before you go running off thinking I just brought up a taboo subject, hear me out:

I used to get a box of 40 Tampax tampons for $4.99. A decent price. But then I began to notice the price going up. $5.99. $6.99. Every couple months. Infuriating to say the least. And then suddenly, the price dropped back down to $4.99! Woohoo.

But it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that the box had shrunk to only 30 tampons.


About a year later, it started again. The price went up and up and then back down and now the box only has twenty. And now the price is climbing up again. That box of twenty is about $6.99 now.

At this rate, I will eventually see an empty box for $4.99. How far can this go? And how stupid do they think we are?

Of course, now to get a box of 20 for $4.99, you have to buy the store brand, which is still made by Tampax and you think you’re knicking the big company in the pocket.

“Hey, hey hey!” you’re chuckling. “What do I care about  – those things?”

Well, you should absolutely care about those things. Here’s why:

Whenever marketers want to try out a new trick, they start with women shoppers. Where better to get the most accurate picture of the average shopper. So tampons it was. And it worked. Although the flaw in the plan is that women who use tampons are NEVER going to go without; the options are too icky.

However, in the end, it worked. And here’s where you non-tampon users come in.

Look around. You’ll see them doing this little ploy everywhere!!

My personal current bitch is with ice cream. I used to buy a 2L carton of ice cream for $3.99. No bitching there. But then the price went up and I stopped buying it for quite a long time. Then I noticed the price had dropped again, back down to $3.99, and I bought some. Funny, I thought I used to be able to get at least 7 servings out of a carton. Now, the kids and husband are all looking at me like I ate half of it.

Closer inspection of the carton says that’s because there’s only 1.89L in the carton.

Shifty guys. Ooh, that makes me mad. They even made the print smaller and buried it into some fancy graphics.

Round two came within a year. Now there’s only 1.65L in the same damn carton.


I saw an episode of Marketplace where they examined this (at least fifteen years after I began bitching about it openly) and, sure enough, it’s not my imagination. I was right.

Turns out the marketers have decided that while we – the consumers – are not willing to pay a higher price, we’re willing to accept less product for the same price.

Even if this were true, we wouldn’t be so ‘accepting’ if it were out in the open. But they’re sneaky and they hide it ’cause they think we’re too stupid to clue in.

It’s everywhere. Cans of pop, blocks of cheese, boxes of cereal. Hell, even the Canadian government got swindled into switching the country to metric for the oil companies ’cause they were pretty sure we’d never pay a dollar for a gallon of gas. Now, at $1.27 per litre, we’re paying $5.77 per gallon.

Wow. Who knew.

Check your labels, know your prices, and watch for sales. When ice cream drops to $2.99 for 1.89L, stock up!!