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Americans Frustrated by 'Trickflation' as Brands Employ Deceptive Tactics Amid Rising Costs

A Reddit user recently took to the social media platform to highlight how brands use opaque tactics to charge more from consumers.
Cover Image Source: (R) TikTok | @earlypete | Reddit | r/mildlyinfuriating
Cover Image Source: (R) TikTok | @earlypete | Reddit | r/mildlyinfuriating

Brands relying on deceptive tactics is not news but it's increasingly becoming bothersome for Americans who are currently grappling with the rising cost of living amid inflation and growing credit card debt. A Reddit user recently took to the social media platform to highlight how brands use opaque tactics to charge more from consumers, coining the deceptive technique "trickflation."

The post uploaded on the subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating back in March by u/inasimplerhyme included a photo featuring two cans of Coco-Cola containing the same amount of drink despite looking very different. 

r/mildlyinfuriating | Reddit
Image Source: r/mildlyinfuriating | Reddit

Under the cans, the Reddit user wrote that the original can which was shorter cost $1.05 while the new one cost $2.37 despite both the cans containing the same amount of Coke. Many people then took to the comment section and pointed out that other brands were using the same tactics to attract more customers by giving them the idea that their product is the most value for money. "Colgate tubes always feel full and plump when new. About 1/4 of the way in, you hit this air pocket bubble and you’re gonna squeeze the tube and feel it deflate and deflate and at the end of that, you’re now holding a much flatter tube," writes dbx99.

aplascencia1997 | Reddit
Image Source: aplascencia1997 | Reddit

Many also said how the brands are now paying marketing psychologists to study this, to which one writes, "This is true. Companies pay consultants to help them increase revenue through a study of tricking people into using more of their products. For example, toothpaste tubes. Ever notice how the packaging states a "pea-sized amount" but commercials show them spreading it across the whole toothbrush? Well, they redesigned their tube ends to be larger, increasing the amount of toothpaste used, live4peedgt writes. 

In another TikTok post, Pete (@earlypete) took to the popular video-sharing platform and compiled different tactics that the brands used to trick people into paying more. His list also included the Reddit post. "The grocery industry apparently thinks the average consumer has the intelligence of a 6-year-old child," he noted. People in the comment section were pretty familiar with these deceptive ways. "Don’t forget the one where they flat out lie. I saw a TikTok where the package said 36 cookies but when they counted them it was 32," writes Westport. KC.Dude. 

28_raisins | Reddit
Image Source: 28_raisins | Reddit

While another sheds light on how the taller cans are not very great for the planet and also not cost-efficient. "Someone did the math on these cans. The tall cans use about 7% more aluminum than the standard 355ml cans. So more expensive and more wasteful," writes, Damin Loi. Meanwhile, some showed appreciation for the taller cans, "I actually love the taller skinnier cans. They fit better in my fridge as I have a ton of wasted vertical room," writes Lunatics.

@earlypete If it didn’t make me so angry, I would honestly be impressed with the creativity the grocery industry comes up with to rip us off ##foodfacts##groceryhaul##exposed ♬ In The Hall Of The Mountain King/Grieg - もつ


The Coke cans seemed to catch people's eyes and not in a good way, with even the employees in the warehouse taking a dig at it, "I literally work at a Coke distribution warehouse and we hate these new cans! But yes... that's EXACTLY what they're for," writes The_BenMiller.

Coco-Cola reported higher earning in Quarter 4 with profits higher than anticipated, despite actually setting fewer products, which was made possible by raising prices. 

For more such content, follow r/mildlyinfuriating on Reddit and @earlypete on TikTok.