I know I should just call this Shrinkflation: Part 2 – because you just know this ain’t the end of nothing – but I have too many numbered series on this blog, so I didn’t wanna. However, who knows when I’ll get around to being pissed enough about this phenomenon – or some random and mildly annoying aspect of it that probably only I notice – to add a third installment to the Shrinkflation saga?
Even in starting this post, two other things I should probably post about instead have caused me to almost abandon this entry. And you can rest assured I’ll probably forget what they were by the time I finish this.
Here’s the deal, though, it’s getting worse! And if you’re recreationally conspiracy theory minded, as I am, it’s simply out of control.
Now, I should note that this is undoubtedly enhanced by my Saturday night of doing nothing. I’m incensed over a
potentially imagined recent offense at my local watering hole, so haven’t been there at all this weekend. Making matters worse is that the Silver Fox was in town, but had other plans for his Saturday night. Assignations, if you will.
Ergo: I was in my own.
Since I wasn’t going to Tanner Creek Tavern, and wasn’t going to risk going to any other of my haunts since they invariably lead to an expensive trip to the Reverse ATM, I decided to have a Dry Weekend.
And this brings us back to the cost of bubble water in Portland.
Before, I was mainly pointing out the difference in price a brand name can cost a consumer – cost of advertising be damned, since even the less glamorous brands I mentioned in that post advertise. The thought behind that post was enough to make me pony up for a Soda Stream and just make my own.
Sadly, just when I needed a refill, my nearest Bed, Bath & Beyond closed. A week later, I decided to order a new tank of CO2 on their website. They were out of stock on the singles and I didn’t want to order a two-pack, since I already had one empty and three seemed…fraught. I need to keep my tank rotation at two.
So I’ve had none. And truthfully, my bubble water consumption is down. I haven’t pivoted back to soda – at least not completely. I’d say the non-alcoholic beverage split is 50% soda, 35% still water (in a victory my liver and kidneys gave up on ever seeing last century) and 15% bubble water.
I’ll check that math a half dozen times before I publish this post and still get it wrong.
Why was I suddenly so resistant to buying bubble water? They committed an egregious – to only me, I’m sure – offense. The industry seemed to pivot in unison from 12-pack cans to 8-pack cans. Without lowering the price!
That’s very not ok.
A) an 8-pack is an insufficient quantity. That’s like a two day supply. Does not compute.
B) compounding that minimal supply is my retroactive offense at paying too much in the past simply by not taking advantage of the three 12-packs/$10 (or $11, once inflation started ticking up) deals because I didn’t want to make multiple trips to my car for groceries. Now I’d be making multiple trips for two 8-packs simply to have a reasonable supply on hand versus the oversupply situation of the past deals I’d eschewed in support of my inherent laziness.
Obviously, I was completely powerless in this situation that was clearly quite beyond my control. Just look at what happened last time I tried to do something: an entire Bed, Bath & Beyond closed! Obviously, challenging the system has a high price.
Nevertheless, last night I realized that the situation had deteriorated even further.
Now these loathsome 8-packs are going for $4.49. That’s $.50 more than I was paying for 12-packs a year ago!
This is not ok.
Is there some sort of cabal of bubble water producing companies I’m not aware of? An OPEC for enhanced drinking waters? The Organization of Bubble Water Producing Companies…OBWPC? An organization powerful enough to take retaliatory steps to close a big box retail location?
I do not know. But as a consumer, I will dare to speak for us all when I say that I am not down for this sort of corporate rogering.
Making this situation even more rewarding to my recreational conspiracy theorist is the timing of my realization: the very week that BB&B announced the closing of its remaining stores.
Going hmmmm at things that make you, am I.
The latest price increase is poorly-timed for an innocent industry. Although, I’ve clearly made the case for conviction in the court of public (me) opinion.
It’s enough to make me consider my options. Namely: trekking out to suburbia to a remaining – for now – BB&B for a refill cartridge or even trying a Walmart – since the Triple-B Ranch has proven its proficiency at being out of stock on these in the past, when things were only bad for them and not in their current state of cataclysm.
The Silver Fox suggested Amazon this morning during our coffee walk. And, yes, obviously. But also, no, because of all the bad. Also, I checked and shipping on CO2 cartridges is a full week, so…
Although, they do offset their corporate awfulness by offering a $15 gift card with their canister exchange program. Mind you, you got a $15 credit with the in-store canister exchanges at brick and mortar retailers, so it’s kind of same shit, different marketing. Plus, Walmart offers the same program, not that they aren’t just as bad – or worse – on a corporate level.
I just know I’m going to end up driving all over kingdom come to rectify this – and then still end up ordering future replacements through either Amazon or Walmart.
It’ll be Walmart, strictly for this reason. Fifteen bucks buys a lot of cheap Mac & Cheese. But I’m just as likely to say fuck it and go back to soda. Stay tuned.
Until then, just know my neurotic ass will be tying itself into absolute pretzels.
Also, I just had a premonition that Shrinkflation 3: The Unmitigated Gall will be about me discovering that Walmart’s $.47 Mac & Cheese – $.34 on sale! – has become $.60/box, reducing the buying power of my $15 exchange program gift card by one-third.
Goddamn, I am craving Mac & Cheese something awful now….