Amidst global reports of raging inflation and all of its impossible permutations it appears we have taken our eye off the shrinkflation ball. Things we know and have got used to are reducing at a rate below the threshold of our consciousness and we are expected to live our lives in innocence of them.
The accepted position for recognition of upper middle age is that policeman appear to be nine years old and no-one over 50 is surprised at the lack of their presence on the streets, recognising they must be having an afternoon nap just before their paper round. However, did you know that Walkers recently cut two bags of crisps from its 24-bag multipacks, keeping the price at £3.50. Robbery! Smith’s Frazzles and Chipsticks now sell in a pack of six bags instead of eight for £1. Thievery! Bags of KP peanuts are now 225g instead of 250g for £2.50. Larceny! Even the American's very own Cadbury's is at it; offering Creme Eggs in packs of five this Easter, rather than six. As soon as we find out who Mondelez International are, and how we get in touch with them, we are going to have a small word (shrunk from the larger one we had planned at the beginning of this article).
It is an 'accepted' way of making more money under the counter. 'Accepted', that is, by vagabonds and nobblers who we can't even trust to deliver a cheeky snack without robbing us blind. Even Vladimir Putin is at it; he is shrinking the truth to such a microbial size that it appears as a dot at the other end of an extraordinarily long diplomatic table. Whilst we are with him, and our stay will be brief, what kind of maniac orders the shelling of one of his own kindergartens full of innocent kids as a precept for war? The morals of the man, if made of beef, couldn't be found by a hungry dog in a small kennel.
Everyone is at it; the Tories have kept taxes at the predictable rate of about 32 per cent (growing to a record-breaking 36 per cent of GDP by 2026), but we receive fewer services in exchange for them. Back to snacks; a box of Jaffa Cakes once contained a dozen biscuits, but now you only get ten. And of course BPP have reduced their face-to-face lecturing for CPI from a miserable two a course, to none (whilst offering a shrinking five for their Joint Board courses, stuck right at the end of a lecture-free year like an embarrassed exclamation mark). Rest assured there is nothing reduced about the costs of said diminutive courses.
Over in East London, landlord Canary Wharf Group are looking for flexible ways of delivering office services to a shrinking tenant group. With reports last week that one in six people are still working from home, commercial property owners are having to seek out increasingly more imaginative ways to deliver value. One such way is a "flexible office service"; businesses are reducing the number of desks required and expanding communal areas, partly to attract employees in to work. Nothing says "ooo, enjoyable!" after slogging your way through eight miles of stationary traffic, or standing nose to dreadlock on a crammed bus, like a room full of oversized chairs and a free coffee.
Is it enough to offer in-house dry-cleaning and Mexican food stations when you can access them both within 200 metres of your front door, wearing a pair of outdoor socks or fashion-unconscious espadrilles? Life has changed; some things are smaller but our expectations have not shrunk. We are the vaping generation of mindfulness and, if necessary, we will buy teo boxes of five Creme Eggs and be damned.