Let’s talk about deception. My dictionary defines it as the act of deceiving; a misleading falsehood; the act of tricking someone by telling them something that is not true. The dictionary always gives good definitions, but I have found a better place to learn the true meaning of deception: the grocery store!

Oh yes, and it gets worse constantly. The regular food items that I usually buy are now packaged with an ounce or two less or some with three or four ounces less, accompanied by a price higher than what was charged for the original larger package.

A reminder of this annoying trend came to my attention recently when I noticed that a carton of orange juice that I occasionally buy had the statement printed on the front: Still 64 ounces! So looking at some of the other major brands their deception became obvious. They contained 59 ounces. They just left out 5 ounces. That’s a glass of orange juice. But the cartons were still the same size to hold 64 ounces.

Nowadays breakfast cereals come in boxes so big that they hardly fit in my cupboard. But when I open them, the contents only measure up to about two-thirds full. Now doesn’t it seem logical to reduce the size of the box, thereby saving money instead of having customers pay for empty space inside the box?

Having been a yogurt consumer for many years, I can recall when the small cups held eight ounces. Now they are six ounces at best and who knows how long before they leave out another ounce or two and still raise the price.

But the final insult, to me, comes at the ice cream department. We all know that ice cream is sold by the quart and the half gallon. Since I am an ice cream-aholic it has been my habit to buy the half gallon size. To my everlasting irritation and aggravation this is no longer available.

We now have the choice varied by brands to sizes ranging from one and three-quarters quarts to one and a half quarts. Did the deceivers really think that we wouldn’t notice?

Yet another deception tricked me into buying a carton of what I thought was ice cream. It was a major brand nestled in with their regular ice cream, (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc.) but after I got home, I discovered that it was labeled “Frozen Dairy Dessert” and when I ate some it was disgusting. Sickly sweet, syrupy, waxy chocolate chips and some kind of nuts (maybe) ground up like gravel. After a few attempts — even tried it in my coffee — -I threw it out.

Of course you all have noticed the 16-ounce cans of fruits and vegetables that now contain 14 or 15 ounces. Remember when mayonnaise came in a quart jar? Take another look. Most brands are 30 ounces or less. On and on it goes. A half-gallon is not 64 ounces, a quart is not 32 ounces and a pint is not 16 ounces. Who cares? Only a few unimportant old people who live on fixed incomes. And we don’t like being deceived. I have another word for deception: it’s cheating. Nobody likes to be cheated.

Evelyn Metzger is a member of Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

Contract Publishing

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