It’s a metaphor of Brexit. The price of bog paper. Shrinkflation. A new deceit. An economy going down the pan. The price of my usual loo roll brand has remained the same for several years, at £1.99 for six (or for all of that time should I say £1.99 for four rolls plus two free!). But I gradually began to realise that something wasn’t quite right, so I compared the product I bought today with some in the cupboard (one wishes to keep well stocked up). Amazingly, the latest rolls have ten more sheets, yet were somewhat thinner. How has this miracle of inflation busting been achieved? By going from three-ply to two ply. In effect, a one third cut. That’s Brexit for you. After the Toblerone fewer humps scandal, which appeared to me at the time more to do with them keeping their chocs in Poundland than anything else, I now realise shrinkflation is rife. Talking of Poundland, their pack of five glue sticks are now 71% the size they used to be. A little thing perhaps, but which most manufacturers must be hoping we won’t notice. Toblerone made the mistake of reducing their size in a crassly obvious way, when they might simply have reduced the overall size in a couple of discreet stages. I suppose shrinkflation has been with us for some time, but now it seems to symbolise the age we live in. To be honest, the biggest form of shrinkflation happened in local government, long before Brexit. When the Tory-coalition government froze council tax for five years, councils shrank. Social care was ravaged, along with all our other local services. Seen the state of the roads lately? Now we’re beginning to count the cost, with a five per cent council tax increase this year, which isn’t anything like enough to cover the cost of the damage already done. At some point the deceit has to come to an end. But it takes time to really notice how things are getting crapper, that false economies were made. On the bog paper front, let’s hope there is an awakening before we move into Izal territory. I assume that Jacob Rees Mogg will have it that Izal was a great British experience (for the oiks) and come March, 2019 it will be back in the shops again. Rejoice!
I’m sorry. I wandered a little off piste there, even if my last remark may contain a truism. I’ve just checked the ONS website and they say “ . . . despite some media speculation, there has not been a change in trend since the EU referendum – our data shows that shrinkflation has been used in practice consistently across the past 5 years.” (See here) So we can still blame our dear government for ushering in the New Age of Deceit.