I grew up in a family who practiced the "clean-plate" rule, which, in a word, sucked. If we did not adhere to said rule, then that meant no ice cream. Theoretically, we could’ve had ice cream every night had we been able to choke down our dinner, but the clean-plate rule left us with ice cream maybe two or three times each week.
It wasn’t that my mom was a bad cook; it was what she cooked: lima beans, liver, sauerkraut, peas, various casseroles, and stuffed green peppers. (As an adult, I still don’t eat that stuff.) As you might imagine, dinner at our home was often a tumultuous affair, replete with angry father, crying children, and lots of gagging through tears. My father was fond of telling me I could always move out of his house if didn't like his rules. My mom, on the other hand, was more empathetic, telling us starving children would kill for our dinner. Serving liver and onions to 10-year-olds? What were they thinking?
Fast forward to 2009. Earlier this year, I became the shopper, a job I thought I would hate yet find peaceful and relaxing. I eye the new products, look for deals, and have a pretty good time overall. A couple weeks ago, we decided to buy some ice cream. As I stood in front of the freezer doors awed by the different brands and flavors, I was equally shocked by the price. Was there some sort of shortage? Milk was still the same price.
I waited a couple of weeks for a sale and lucked out, as I bought two half gallons for $10. At home, I thought felt light as I put them in the freezer, but I didn’t give it a second thought. The next night, we made a great meal and pulled out dessert. However, they still felt light, and I wondered if someone had already eaten out of the containers. No, maybe there was an air bubble below? Upon initial inspection, they even looked small. I looked at the front of the containers for the size and discovered they were the exact shape and feel of a half gallon but were shorter, and contained 1.5 quarts (a half gallon is 2 quarts). Although we ate the ice cream, I won’t buy it again. More importantly, I had to find out what happened. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found the information.
The great ice-cream rip-off started in 2003. The premium makers, like Ben & Jerry's, Blue Bunny, Häagen-Dazs, Breyers, and Edy’s cut the size but kept the price constant. According to the June 13, 2008 USA Today, this was due to the dairy crisis.
"We did not in any way try to hide this," Tim Kahn, CEO of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, which also makes -- and has shrunk -- Edy's. "The package size change couldn't be any more visible."
What a weasel! If it’s all so aboveboard, why didn’t they bother to mention it instead of playing caveat emptor? Perhaps it's because they were afraid their sales would reflect the announcement. In the long run, though, they’ll lose more customers by being shady. Personally, I won’t buy premium ice cream anymore, and according to research, I’ll tell at least ten people. They want to play cheap games and screw people? Revenge is best served cold, not frozen.