Monday, February 28, 2011

Why have one dress when you could have six?

Long time no post! I have been eaten up with the planning for and going on a fifth grade school trip with my daughter to Washington, DC. I'll do a post about that soon. It was fantastic. Every time I am in DC I think - How can we afford all this majesty for the little taxes that we pay? We have a great Capitol and a great country of which to be proud...more on all that later.

This is a little bit about the Oscar show last night. Our Oscar party included beer, pretzels, pita chips and was in my basement fun room and only my husband and I were invited :-) . When we lived in LA, our downstairs neighbor worked for a PR company that represented a nominee and on the big day, a lovely stretch limo arrived at our front steps and swept my neighbor off to the festivities... I was a little jealous.

I don't really care much about the whole thing. I am usually lucky if I have seen even one of the nominated films for best picture...this year I had seen two of them! Woooo Hoooo! I love it that we record it and start watching about an hour after it's actually begun. We skip through all the boring commercials, speeches, etc. Go girl to Anne Hathaway with her gorgeous display of designer gowns and for doing the twist in the funky beaded/fringed one! The blue one made me think of a shiny cigarette lighter and looked stiff and uncomfortable.....but it's not about the comfort. I am impressed at her ability to walk around in the shoes!! I couldn't beI think it is funny that at the end of the evening I could not tell you if James Franco had any wardrobe changes. I did notice that presenters were made to coordinate/compliment each other almost to the point of wearing the same tux just different ties... The women looked lovely as usual but too many people wore fleshy-blah-toned gowns that washed them all out. They all got the memo that beige/platinum/white-ish colors were "the thing" this year. It didn't work for any of them. The big jewelry designers were all on the same page too... so many people were wearing giant emeralds on their necks, ears and hands. I guess the emerald miners have a "deal" with someone to promote this neglected mineral.

At least no one seemed to have the spray-painted tan this year. I wonder what's happened to Charlize...she must have had a rough year.

Anyway, the only awards I really cared about were best actor and best picture and the only non-Pixar movie I have seen in the last two years WON!!
Without a doubt, The King's Speech was one of the best movies I have seen in years and years. It ranks up there with Shawshank Redemption and To Kill a Mockingbird. If you haven't had a chance to see it, make plans and go! Also, if you missed Toys Story III (the only other movie I saw this year..) I recommend that one too! Just remember to take a hanky. I have not found any woman, man or child that didn't shed tears in this one...

Cheers to you! I hope Spring has sprung where you are...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shrinkage or Blimpage

In the borrowed cadence of a Longfellow poem, “Our consumables are shrinking, our consumables are shrinking!” To arms, to arms... The world of packaged goods wages a war on our pea-sized consumer brains on a regular basis. Packages shrink, or come in gigantic quantities or mini or fun sizes... Sheesh! and the hope is that we are not paying attention. Most of the time we don’t notice that a sauce that used to be in an 8 oz can is now 6 ounces. Instead of getting a half gallon of ice cream, a slightly smaller version appears for the same price as the larger one. I guess companies don’t want to raise their prices too much as their costs increase or maybe they really just want to make more profits off of less product. Companies have to make money, I don’t fault them for it, I just wish we could know when the packages change size. Some products come in different sizes depending on where you shop. You can get the MEGA cereals at the big giant stores and the dinky-sized things at convenience stores and have them cost about the same price... A “FanceeShmanzie” grocery store opened nearby and my food bills went through the roof. Oh, they play relaxing music, have clean floors, and take the stuff out of your cart, etc. and they are the closest store to my house, but they never offer to take the precious goodies out to the car for you unless you are at least an octogenarian... I digress. We pay a premium for convenience and still don’t necessarily get the level of service one would expect.

The sneaky aspect of the size changes drives me crazy. The stores try to help by labeling the price per unit so you can really compare the costs, but the print is so small you often have to look hard to find this and if you - um don’t bring your glasses to the store you are SOL. It all happens in such a subtle way that we hardly notice, and I don’t hear any organized marches or consumer advocate groups complaining. It just happens and we, the sheep of the United States and other places too (we don’t have the market on stupid completely cornered), continue to plod along like domestic zombies up and down the aisles, throwing things into the cart.

The toilet paper market really chaps my behind ( :-) ). Seriously, you can buy a gazillion tiny rolls that vanish into thin air in about five seconds or a six pack of ginormous rolls for the same price that don’t fit on a standard holder (whose stroke of brilliance was that??~!) Companies constantly repackage stuff, I mean really, it’s hard to make tp very exciting so they just make it confusing... If you buy a mop and don’t buy a ton of replacement mopheads, when you go to buy a mophead they will all be redesigned and won’t fit your existing mop and you will have to buy a new mop.
As much as it drives me crazy, this process employs people and keeps the mop business from going down the drain... okay that was bad.

Anyway, my most recent madness was when I saw some yummy Haagen Daas on sale and went to toss a few pints into the cart... and they weren’t pints. Here are some ideas for selling this new “Not quite a pint.” “Now fewer calories!!” “Less fat!”” “Reduced sugar!“ “Go ahead eat the whole thing, you won’t even feel it!!” “Now, easier to carry!”

If you have any examples of this in your world, I’d love to hear about them.