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The Baking Soda Crop Was Especially Weak This Season...

By Widge - posted 07.19.08 @ 1:50 am

Baking Soda Time Shrinkage

Update: Speaking of the Consumerist, welcome to our fellow consumers visiting from there. Thanks for stopping by. We invite you to browse our site at your leisure and if you like this mess, to subscribe to our feed.

Well, we've seen a lot of stuff over at the Consumerist where they're tracking the grocery shrink ray effect on various products. But here's a fun one: a time shrink ray. I thought something was odd when I picked up a new thing of baking soda for the fridge (on the right): "Change Every 30 Days"? I thought it used to be three months.

Sure enough, find an old box (on the left): "For Best Results, Change Every 3 Months."

Also notice how the package on the left is Logo, Name of Product, For Best results, Description and then a place to write down the Change Date. The package on the right, however, is all about Change. Change Date comes first--and is huge. Then--in case you didn't get the message with the "Change Every 30 Days," they actually state "Write the date that is 30 Days from opening the box" beneath the place to write the date. THEN--in case you didn't get the message, they've circled the 30th day of the calendar. THEN, because they think you came from some incredibly subpar genetic material and didn't get the point, they say "Use a New Box Each Month for Fresher Tasting Food." That's right, the logo and the name are reduced to tiny tiny bits on a picture of the box that's on the box itself.

In fact, before the box had the 3 Months message on that one side. This new box? Says "Change Every 30 Days" on every side but three. One is the bottom of the box that just has the UPC code. One is the side that has the description on it and one is the front of the box, which instead says "30 Days of Freshness in Every Box." But--Arm & Hammer--you say on both versions of the box that the product is "pure Arm & Hammer Baking Soda." Did you suddenly learn through testing that you product just isn't as strong as you've said it was all this time? And we've been hanging out with fridges that stink for 60 days, blissfully ignorant of your product's lack of potency? Or are you just bastards who think no one's paying attention?

As you can see, we have decided to live on the edge and mark ours down as 90 Days out. I know some people like to take things cautiously but we're rebels.

Update: But wait: there's more! Arm & Hammer responded to our journalistic triumph--see their insane response (and our analysis) here.

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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A Mob Numbering 9

    Hate to use your comments box for evil, Widge, but I'm in a hurry. There's a comedy-drama musical about a super-villain directed by main man Joss Whedon. With Nathan Fillion. For free. I'm assuming you haven't heard, because this sounds like something that would make your headlines. Now, what brings me to the hurrying bit is that the site goes down Sunday. Link it while you can.

    Comment by Blank Mage — July 19, 2008 @ 6:10 am


    Thanks, BM. This is a good time to remind folks that you should never miss an episode of

    Comment by Widge — July 19, 2008 @ 6:20 am


    Touche. I will now find the nearest pointed object, and insert it into a previously un-perforated section of myself. Good day.

    Comment by Blank Mage — July 19, 2008 @ 6:28 am


    Bah. Don't do that. I'm just glad to have that link to fall back on. It's so seldom I get to prove I'm NOT a slackass. :)

    Comment by Widge — July 19, 2008 @ 6:41 am


    Well, it's nice to know my blunder will be forever preserved on needcoffee. Generations of viewers can look at this article, and know that somewhere in the world is a man called Blank Mage, and that he is not observant.

    Comment by Blank Mage — July 19, 2008 @ 6:47 am


    You think you're unobservant? Sometimes I forget what site I'm on. It's not like the logo's not at the top of the freaking page or anything...

    Comment by Widge — July 19, 2008 @ 7:01 am


    Thanks for posting this so I don't have to. I just encountered the same thing.

    Comment by Travis — July 27, 2008 @ 11:18 pm


    That's what we're here for: posting stuff so you don't have to. Now you can go spend that time working on the Unified Field Theory like I know you've been meaning too. Cheers.

    Comment by Widge — July 27, 2008 @ 11:30 pm


    They probably want to wash their hands of the responsibility of the Money Back Guarantee after the 30th day. From the 31st day, they could say 'Sir, you need to frikkin change your box of soda' Done.

    Comment by Sanjay — December 8, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

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