Caveat emptor

I’m currently wearing shoes that are a half size too big on me – a lesson learnt the hard way as even though I’ve been buying the same model of Converse knock-offs at a local discount store for years, at some point the manufacturer must’ve decided to save a few pennies by making them a little bit thinner. I naively bought two pairs (one with flowers!) and only upon actually wearing them and getting the soles dirty did I realize they were way too narrow for me. Of course by that point, the sales receipt was nowhere to be found. Not finding the same shoe anywhere else, I opted to purchase the larger ones this year for extra room lengthwise and though it sort of works, I’m now tripping over my too-long feet.

I’m also become suspicious that shirt manufacturers are using the same cost-cutting tactics. Three-quarter length sleeves feel awkward on the arms like they can’t decide between going up to T-shirt length or down to the wrist and I’m convinced manufacturers purposely design them to stop mid-arm to save material. You think you’re getting sleeves but you’re not really getting the full deal.

Socks – hah! There’s a reason when you walk into retail outlets you see a wall full of ankle socks. That’s because nobody’s buying them. Somewhere along the line, socks got much shorter and much thinner as have some shirts which, besides missing part of the sleeves, are made of fabric so thin you have to wear another shirt underneath, negating the whole concept of a summer wardrobe.

These admittedly First World problems, however, pale in comparison to our Sales Coordinator’s chicken noodle soup experience. Opting to purchase the ‘less sodium’ formula of the classic dry noodle and flavour pouch concoction, she discovered it’s ‘less sodium’ in that you only add three cups of water as opposed to the usual four. She paid the same price for someone to remove all the salt from the end product.

More fuel was added to my smouldering flame of moral outrage this week when I purchased rouge – that small container of red packed powder you brush on your face to look less dead – at a large retailer. It was only after getting home and opening the package (thereby voiding the return policy) that I realized it didn’t include a brush.

Now, every rouge I’ve ever bought in my life came with a brush. That’s how you put the damn stuff on. What am I supposed to do, hold the product up to my face and rub it in circles?

Venting to the soup lady led us to compare countless experiences of reverse creep, where amount of actual product goes down while packaging size remains the same and the price often increases.

The back page of Consumer Reports monthly magazine contained a feature called ‘Selling It’ that would showcase amusing retail print ads replete with typos, misleading information, and blatant lies on their products.

But I’ve yet to see them include a rouge that’s purposely sold without a brush in the package.

That’s just mean.

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