Letters to the Editor

Why must shopping be made confusing?

I am disappointed at how shoppers are treated at discount and grocery stores.

Fortunately, I seldom shop but feel for those who do. It appears to me that manufacturers and retailers have instituted a campaign to confuse or trick the consumer.

I can understand an occasional pricing error, but tricking consumers is unforgivable.

Coffee and ice cream are two examples where the multiplicity of sizes and prices is onerous for shoppers. Coffee is no longer sold by the pound, but by the ounce in 10 different sizes, not including flavored coffee. Most ice cream containers have shrunk to 1.5 quarts. Why? Cans of tuna no longer work in recipes without using a can and a half.

Is this the kind of help our manufacturers and retailers provide busy shoppers?

Look at cereal. Kellogg's sells the identical product in two box sizes, but one contains air and 18 ounces while the other holds 24 ounces. Then the stores have "buy one, get one free" for the 18-ounce size of cereal and place it right next to the 24-ounce size, which is full price. This is intentional trickery.

Additionally, the more sizes, the higher the manufacturing and shipping costs. Fortunately, most discount stores limit the sizes they carry of most products and pass on their lower prices.

Shoppers do not care to spend their time deciding among scores of different sizes to determine the best price. Maybe we need a new packaging standards czar to join all the other do-nothings in Washington.

Jim Dove