Death By A Thousand Cuts can refer to:
- Creeping normalcy, the way a major negative change, which happens slowly in many unnoticed increments, is not perceived as objectionable
- Slow slicing, a form of torture and execution originating from Imperial China
~ Source: Wikipedia
Pictured above are two spent cardboard toilet paper tubes; you will notice that one is a bit smaller than the other. My wife is an avid recycler; she retrieves these tubes from our bathroom trash were I toss them and adds them to our household recycling. She noticed that the latest batch of toilet tissue was now being produced in a smaller width. The same number of plies, the same number of rolls per package, and at the SAME PRICE… everything the same with the exception that the customer now get 12% LESS product for their money.
This is not a new tactic in the never ending assault of commercial interests to tap a much of our dwindling consumer dollars as feasible. For example, cereal boxes on the grocery shelf appear to have the same height and width, but the packaging is not as deep; a nuance not readily visible as one browses the grocery aisle. Plastic containers have been redesigned to increase the size of the bottom “dimple” lowering the volume of products by 2 or 3 ounces though the container appears to remain the familiar size. A 6 ounce can of tuna today contains 5 ounces of product.
However this marketing tactic is not reserved only for consumer products. Our health insurance premiums had been increasing steadily at the rate of 11 to 15% each year over the previous years. So we were pleasantly surprised (initially) to find that our cost of our health insurance, which had been $1,150 per month last year, would remain this same amount again this year. Instead the insurance company has increased the costs of deductibles, co-payments and fees for special surgical procedures. We will now be required to pick up the first $1050 in medical expenses before the insurance company pays a cent of our medical bills. The premium has remained unchanged but the additional cost in the not-so-obvious charges essentially results in a 7.6% increase in our costs for insurance over last year.
The trend is clear, we consumers will be expected to pay more for less at every turn… and a great majority of the population will never even notice. I confess that I certainly would not have noticed how we are being gypped on toilet tissue had not my diligent little recycler lady noticed the change.
More than ever the rule of Caveat emptor applies– the trend toward redistribution of the wealth will continue, but not quite in the manner in which the Republicans like to frame the issue.