Dear Folgers: Where's my six ounces of coffee? Back in the dark ages, when I began drinking coffee as a way to cut calories and stay awake, the familiar red can was the only brand in our house. We usually bought a one-pound can - that's 16 ounces. Sometimes, if we were expecting company, we might splurge and buy a two-pound can, 32 ounces.
Soon, folks who decided cut down on their caffeine intake but still wanted the taste of coffee in the morning were rewarded with a green can of Folgers, also in 16 and 32 ounce sizes.
Have you paid attention to the amount of coffee in those same red or green containers today? I'm betting that the bean counters at corporate are hoping you will be more swayed by the numerous varieties of coffee on the store shelves. But look close at the fine print and you will soon discover that the can that at one time contained 16 ounces is now just over 10.3 ounces. I'm no math expert, but I know that's a considerable drop from what we used to buy. Was their a corresponding drop in price? Guess again.
Coffee is far from the only culprit. Try to buy a half-gallon of ice cream. The square container looks the same. but it contains only 1.75 quarts, sometimes less. Canned vegetables seem to have more water in the can than they used to. Buy crackers or cereal and you can often notice that the product doesn't fill the box. Sometimes there is a disclaimer on the package that says some settling might have occurred during shipment. Nonsense! They are just using a box that once held 14 ounces of product to hold 12 ounces or less!
If a person had way too much time on his hands and somehow had access to some of these products from 10 or 20 years ago, he could start a web site alerting consumers to just what companies are doing to increase their bottom line while hoping we won't notice.
In this era when people are suing companies for virtually anything, commercials on TV and radio and ads in magazines and newspapers are containing more silly stuff than ever before. Most broadcast car and truck ads that quote a certain price or interest rate contain a voice of somebody who escaped from auctioneers' school who reads a paragraph of stuff in warp speed and a hushed tone. If you listen closely, you might learn that the deal they just spent 25 seconds telling you about doesn't pertain to you unless you have just won the lottery and you are the son of the car dealer.
In the past few years, we have been bombarded with ads for prescription drugs. It may show a scene of a family with smiles on their faces, going about their business with the mother recovering from some frightening condition, thanks to this miracle drug. But while the scene continues, the positive aspects of the drug are followed by a list of what might happen to you if you take it and you are a member of a small minority. Thank the lawyers for that.
We have been aware of an increase in health care costs of recent years. Doctors claim the number lawsuits they are subjected to and the cost of liability insurance has caused the increase. But I wonder if at least a small part of those increases are an aggravation stipend. If a doctor must take time to explain to a male patient why a drug meant to alleviate problems that plague some females is not right for him, it takes time away from seeing the next patient.
We are also subjected to several ads each hour which promote a product that makes a man able to perform to his wife's or girlfriend's expectations. One such ad shows a guy trying to eat a sandwich when the missus comes in with that gleam in her eye and he drops the sandwich and races after her. Another ad shows the woman calling her man away from his garage. They walk hand in hand across the lawn. Their house falls away and they are shown putting up a tent. The final scene shows them side by side in bath tubs. The moral of the ad is if you take this drug, your house will fall down, you will be forced to live in a tent and the only way you will ever get clean is in a bath tub. No more showers. Now I don't know too much about intimacy, but I do know that not much hanky-panky can be accomplished in separate bath tubs!
Thanks for allowing me to climb up on my soapbox for a few minutes to vent my frustrations. It's 91 degrees here in Davenport this afternoon - too hot to do anything outside. The Cubs are on a seven-game losing streak and I was turned loose in front of a computer keyboard. I just read what I wrote and realize that it might not be wise for an unemployed hack who has applied to several public relations and ad agencies to be making fun of potential future clients. But just maybe somebody will admire my candor and give me a chance. Besides that, the weather is supposed to cool off in a couple of days and the Cubs still have more than a half-season to turn it around. The glass is still half-full - or maybe just over a third full.