Posted April 16, 2008 in Life • Tags:

I never thought I would turn into one of those “Remember when…” guys, but… Remember when an eight-ounce bag of potato chips cost 89 cents? I do.

It seemed to be a constant during most of my childhood, the late seventies and early eighties. A candy bar cost a quarter and a bag of chips was 89 cents. (I ate a lot of both.) Well. Today I purchased a bag of Lay’s (the most disgusting chips on earth; and considering I live in New York City and have so many better options, like Utz or Herr’s–hey, all I can say is sometimes I get nostalgic for the extra-salty, flavorless chips of my youth) and received quite a shock when I looked at the weight of the bag.

Now I’ve noticed the gradual shrinkage of the standard potato chip bag (and many other products; the coffee can comes to mind) over the years. But I think we’ve reached a new milestone. The size of today’s $1.49 bag of Lay’s? 3 7/8 ounces. That is not a misprint. The standard bag is now less than half the size it was in my youth. If pressed, I would have guessed around five ounces. That’s the last size I recall specifically noticing. And here I thought there was something wrong with me because I finish a bag of chips in one or two days instead of the usual four or five. I knew the bags were getting smaller but less than four ounces?

What’s going on here? I think the snack food conglomerates are preying on Americans’ occasionally correct assumption that productivity increases are providing us real savings. After all, the price of a bag of chips has remained a constant $1.49 for what, a decade now? Given the inevitable inflation, they’re doing a great job keeping the price constant. Except… it’s all a pack of lies. Every couple years, shave off another quarter or eighth of an ounce. Keep the bag the same size, fill it with a little more air. No one will notice the difference. Well, bollocks on that. I am not stupid. I do not need to be fooled into thinking that Frito-Lay is doing me any favors by holding the line on the price of a bag of potato chips.

Just give me the damn eight-ounce bag and charge an honest price for it. I can handle it. The price of everything else has quadrupled (or more) in twenty-five years. Stop treating me like a child. Thanks.

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Comment by Rex

Posted on May 5th, 2010

You don’t really need more than 3 7/8 oz. of chips. Obesity taxes are next — but I’m sure our government is as sincere about that taxes and regulation of tobacco.

Comment by Rhywun

Posted on May 16th, 2010

Ugh… don’t get me started on the government’s desire to tell me what’s good for me. The incredible shrinking potato chip bag might be reasonably construed as an attempt by my betters to restrict my consumption of tasty, salty, fat-laden tubers, but in this case it’s actually just corporate trickery. I’m a dedicated capitalist but I don’t like being manipulated by Big Snack Food any more than by Big Government.