The final straw

Published 11:03 am Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If it&squo;s not enough to have struggled for months with gasoline prices that left us gasping at the pump or having to figure out which child to sell in order to afford a gallon of milk, we consumers are now being hit with the latest rip-off: the reduction of actual product you purchase at the same price. You have to look hard~ companies have become exceedingly cunning. Turn over your jar of &dquo;Jif&dquo; peanut butter and you will notice the bottom of it is concave, thusly giving you about two inches less than normal. Dial soap has an enormous swipe cut out of it in order to make it easier for your hand to grip, they baldly lie. Tropicana Orange Juice has a new &dquo;Easy Pour Spout!&dquo; which is nothing more than narrowing its neck to remove a few ounces of liquid.

It makes me mental. It really does. Are we Americans seen as that stupid that we won&squo;t notice?

Evidently so, say market analysts. These folks say, &dquo;Well, people are used to paying a certain price for Jif and they simply won&squo;t cough up the extra 30 cents that inflation has created, so the manufacturers, instead of raising the price, just give people less and they really don&squo;t notice.&dquo;

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Well, I have. And I noticed something else. Beyond criminal. Demonic, really.

Hershey&squo;s chocolate, that iconic American product, that name that inspires a Pavlov response in both man and beast alike, has removed cocoa butter from some of their candy and replaced it with (cue the &dquo;Psycho&dquo; shrieking violins) vegetable oil. Yep. Just in case you don&squo;t know, cocoa butter is what gives milk chocolate it&squo;s chocolate flavor. If you buy some Peanut M&Ms, for example, you will see that they are now shiny and, being loaded with oil, have absolutely no chocolate flavor at all. Same with &dquo;Mr Goodbar&dquo; and &dquo;Krackle.&dquo;

I&squo;m sorry but a woman can only be pushed so far.

Fair warning, Hershey: there is half the population of this country that, once a month, desperately requires chocolate. Get my drift? A handful of us have actually committed murder and have escaped conviction because of the emotional duress of hormonal activity, generally provoked by some guy asking, &dquo;So, what is it, that time of the month, or what?&dquo; The holidays are upon us just in time to heap added stress and you are trying to pass off &squo;mocklate&squo; like that is going to take the edge off our crankiness. So let me just give you a heads up:

We can live without peanut butter. We can even handle having less orange juice. But we women are coming for you, Hershey, in an ovulating storm that will turn Pennsylvania on its ear. Give us back our chocolate and no one gets hurt.