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Facts Will Be Checked.
Your Voice Will Be Heard.

Shapiro: as inflation worries swirl a new phenomena emerges: ‘shrinkflation’

Gary Shapiro
By Gary Shapiro | Point of View

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like snack-sized candy bars. At Halloween, I didn’t want to give them away. Real satisfaction comes from a full-sized or jumbo Snickers candy bar.

If I have a craving for something sweet, I don’t want to grab a fistful of snack-sized peanut butter cups. I’d rather savor the original full-sized version.

Recently, I ordered a bowl of soup from a local restaurant. I’ve enjoyed this particular soup for years. Temperatures were low for Scottsdale that day. Soup seemed to be the perfect comfort food.

The size and shape of the soup bowl was different. I’m pretty sure what used to be a bowl of soup is now a cup of soup. And the price was higher.

On a different day, I had a craving for a pastrami sandwich. I remembered the restaurant would bring out a tray of complimentary pickles. My mouth was watering.

The sandwich came. It was a monster of a sandwich. I’m a happy camper. But no pickles. So, I asked, and the waiter came through.

But their protocol is no longer to seat you and automatically bring on the free pickles. I’m pretty sure some bean counter thought that was a good decision.

On another occasion, I brought a coupon to a neighborhood restaurant. At check-out, the manager rejected the coupon due to some technicality printed in tiny print on the backside of the coupon. His decision won’t be life changing for me, but it didn’t exhibit any long-term wisdom on his part.

On the bright side, Costco continues to sell gazillions of $1.50 hot dogs as a loss leader. The average customer spends hundreds of dollars at check-out. It continues to be a strategic business decision for Costco management.

The past three years have been tough on all of us. We’ve been locked down, locked up, we’ve lost loved ones, and some of our favorite businesses have closed their doors.

We’re coming out of it now. We’re all starting to go out more and I’m grateful my friends and neighbors and remaining local businesses are doing well.

There’s a new term used by economists called “shrinkflation.” It refers to the process of reducing the portion or package size, changing quality, and/or maintaining the old price or even raising the price.

I think shrinkflation is a terrible thing. I’m all in favor of Inflation. This is the perfect time to inflate quality, inflate customer service, inflate portion size, inflate whatever it takes to make our collective experiences more memorable.

We should all be in the business of creating raving fans and ambassadors who will not only come back more often but will also tell others and share the good news.

As businesspeople, it’s up to each of us to explore what we’re doing and how we can make it better.

As consumers, we need to do our part. We should show our gratitude for the people who wait on us or serve us at restaurants, grocery stores, retail outlets and other venues.

Everyone can do their part. Rejecting “shrinkflation” and introducing inflation will be a positive experience. Will you join me?

Editor’s note: Mr. Shapiro is a Scottsdale Charro, Realtor and co-founder of Scottsdale Leadership.

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