32 Comments

  1. You can see the liquid sloshing about in the bottles, but it looks more like they’re twenty or twenty-five percent full, not two percent. While it’s common for manufacturers to keep prices from rising too much by selling smaller amounts at the old price rather than the usual portion at a higher price, they often adjust the packaging, rather than leaving it mostly empty.

  2. The only thing I can think of that’s labeled “2%” is milk, but those doesn’t look like that and they don’t shrink milk containers anyway.

  3. Another suggestion from the GoComics comments was based on the way talk about economic stratification calls the topmost tier “the 1%”. “The 2%” would be slightly larger. And then the point is that the price of milk has gone so high that it becomes a luxury item, not affordable below the top 2%.

    I don’t think that’s it. But also I can’t see how they would try to sell closed milk jugs only partly filled.

  4. As I said in the strip comments, it could be a colorist problem and the containers weren’t supposed to be orange. That being said, even white they wouldn’t look like an milk containers I’ve seen and I’ve never seen any reduction in the size of milk containers. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is regulated by the USDA.

  5. It’s not just the color, it’s bad art altogether: as Xado noted, the fluid level does not match the dialog. If the author wanted him to say 2%, he should have drawn it as 2%, or he could have made the existing fluid line (much) more distinct, and changed the dialog to “Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said 75% off!

    P.S. In the past few years there has been a fad in Germany for bottled (mineral) water with a hint of (fruit) flavor, which might have matched the “2%” idea, but the shape of the bottle is wrong for that, too. Personally, I think the bottles drawn here are for laundry detergent.

  6. Years ago, I used to get Blue Bunny ice cream, and was on their email list because sometimes they’d send coupons. When I received a missive that announced “exciting new packaging”, I knew what that mean. Shrink.

  7. Kilby is right about laundry detergent; Tide comes in an orange bottle with a blue cap. Maybe the bottle contains 2% Tide, 98% water?

  8. Mark in Boston – Depends on the kind of TIde one buys – what I buy comes in a white bottle with a light blue cap – unscented.

  9. @ MiB – Not relevant to the comic, but I happen to have one of those orange bottles (with a green cap) here in Germany. I saved it (from a visit to the US) to use for (powdered) dishwasher detergent, which is sold here in plastic bags that always lead to spills. The nozzle on the Tide bottle is a perfect dispenser.

  10. Reminds me of my shopping trip yesterday. The “Organics” brand regular breadcrumbs & panko breadcrumbs came in the same size container and were selling for the same price; reading the label, however, revealed that the panko style was six ounces per container and the regular was nine. I ended up getting the “Signature” brand regular – same price as the Organics, but a full fifteen ounces of crumbs.

  11. @ Susan – Besides the “organic” issue (I’m not surprised that “Signature” was much cheaper per ounce), the primary reason for the identical prices is simple overhead. Panko is much coarser than regular bread crumbs and cannot be packed to the same density, but the actual amount of material in either box is only one (minor) component of the final price: the manufacturer’s cost for packaging & shipment, and the store’s cost for stocking and shelving are about the same for either package, so the boxes end up “costing” the same, as far as the store is concerned.

    P.S. Just yesterday I purchased a frozen “plain” pizza, and noticed that the price for all of the varieties (plain, mushroom, salami, or even “deluxe”) was exactly the same, making it appear that the toppings cost “nothing”. Well, they do cost “something”, but it is insignificant when compared with all of the other production and marketing costs.

  12. @Kilby now I want to buy a container of regular & panko crumbs, to see how much space is left between the crumbs and the edge of the tube. For science! But I really don’t need 3 containers of bread crumbs…

  13. @ Susan – There’s a classic experiment that is often conducted as a demonstration in physics: the instructor shows the class a large plastic cylinder, visibly full to the brim with stones, but then proceeds to pour in marbles, which fill the crevices, and then sand to fill “all” the remaining space. After getting some poor victim to confirm that the cylinder is now completely “full”, the instructor proceeds to pour an amazing amount of water into the container, demostrating that the effective “volume” of a container is dependent upon the structure of the material for which it is used.

    P.S. I would expect that the panko box on the supermarket shelf will have a disturbing amount of empty space in it, just like those cereal boxes that contain 10% to 25% of nothing but air: the “packing” limitation occurs in the factory, when the material first falls into the box (or bag) and is sealed. After that, the vibration caused in transit allows the irregular particles to reorder themselves into a more efficient orientation.

  14. When I first read Kilby’s last comment (hastily and then interrupted) I saw “demonstration in physics” and “cylinder, visibly full to the brim with stones” and understood “cylinder filled with brimstone” before I was interrupted. I was eager to get back to read about the exciting pyrotechnic physics demonstration that I never got to witness… 😉
    Kilby’s description of the never-ending ability to add more mass to a volume was good though!

  15. @kilby – I’ve heard of that experiment, but it was told as a joke. Instead of water, the professor added beer & said something along the lines of “No matter how full your life is, there’s always room for a beer.”

    As for the “contents may have settled” issue, I would have to gently shake the containers to loosen the contents a bit before opening, if I were to do the experiment.

  16. @ Susan – I doubt that the alcoholic college students who came up with that counter example ever wasted one of their precious beers to actually perform the experiment. Pouring beer into dry sand would produce so much foam that the result would be a horrible mess. Now, if they had used whiskey, then they might have had something. 😉

  17. P.S. Another mantra from that type of scientific “philosophy”:

    Alcohol is indeed a solution.
    However, alcohol is not the solution.
    On the other hand, no alcohol is not a solution, either.

  18. During the pandemic one of the times we went on one of our marathon food shopping trips* the store was out of some of the canned soups we were going to buy in the Campbells brand (which of course is “the best” and “what everyone buys” – well at least our mothers did, so we do so also. But they had did the Walmart house brand of soups available so we bought that instead (in assorted chicken soups).

    To our surprise they are better than the Campbells brand. The Campbell’s chicken rice is can of chicken soup liquid with some rice floating in it – the Walmart brand is a can of packed rice with soup around it. They have a similar type of can of soup of “homestyle noodles” which we have never seen from Campbells – so now we are disappointed when we have to buy Campbells instead of Walmart’s brand.

    Since we did not want to go out – starting in May 2020 we would go food shopping about every 2 months, an exhausting proposition. By the second trip I had the idea of making 2 trips – buy all the non-cold items, pay, bag, take to car (4+ doubled bags). Then go back to the store and buy the cold items – repeat with another 4 or so doubled bags. Much easier than trying to 8 doubled bagged bags of food into the cart at the same time.

  19. I usually get Progresso soup. It’s not concentrated, and doesn’t have the types people use for cooking like tomato or cream of mushroom, but for eating it is a significantly higher quality.

  20. I believe that the space in the bags containing cereal is there to provide a cushioning function, making the contents less likely to be crushed in transit. I note that cereals which are intrinsically non-crushable, such as meusli, are packed without such voids,

  21. I don’t know about that, as the rigid boxes most come it provide a lot of protection. It’s certainly the case for the puffy bags of chips, although the “air” is actually nitrogen gas in that case.

  22. @ Susan – Yesterday I happened to notice a box of panko (from a different manufacturer), right next to the bread crumbs that I usually buy. The panko was actually cheaper (€0.99 vs. €1.29 for the regular stuff), but the difference in weights was twice as bad as your example (140g vs. 400g). Still, I think I might try the panko the next time I feel like making “Schnitzel”, and see whether it’s worth the trouble (and expense).

  23. If you use panko crumbs won’t that mean you are making tonkatsu rather than schnitzel? 😉

  24. Brian in STL – have two columns of Progresso soups. 6 of Campbells/Great Value (WM brand), and two of Great Value broths. Each column is a different flavor of soup and varies in number between (currently) between 2 and 6 cans depending on how many we have used.

    Our kitchen is small and has few cabinets but it does have a small (and I mean small) pantry closet in which the former owner put shelves (then again – it may have been put in by them to solve the problem as it makes no sense as a closet, and the shelves are obviously added – one is on an angle – and it is in the space behind the front hall closet which it backs to. It may have been added when the downstairs 1/2 bath was added as same is technically located in the greater kitchen space and is in line with the closet and the doors to the two of them face each other.

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