Customer Warns That Grocery Stores Are Using 'Trickflation' To Get You To Spend More For The Same Products

He says a new form of inflation is being used to trick customers.

woman shopping in grocery store Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Given the current state of the economy, it’s no surprise that stores are resorting to crazy tactics to make more money. We’ve already watched prices rise with inflation.

Now, a customer has claimed that grocery stores are using a new form of inflation to bring in more money, and others agree with him.

A shopper suggested we now use the term ‘trickflation’ to describe what stores are doing to make money.

A user on Reddit shared what he thinks stores are doing now to make customers spend more money and coined the term “trickflation.”


“We all know about ‘shrinkflation,’” he said. “Can I coin the term ‘trickflation?’”

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Shrinkflation, of course, is “the reduction in the size of a product in response to rising production costs or market competition,” according to Investopedia. “Rather than increase the price of a product, the company simply offers a smaller package for the same sticker price.”


Shrinkflation has become a popular term as shoppers have watched the products they buy become smaller and smaller while the prices remain the same.

Trickflation, on the other hand, is new. To illustrate his point, the man used two Coca-Cola cans. Each was 12 ounces, but one appeared to be bigger because it was taller and skinnier as opposed to the shorter, rounder can. 

The shorter can cost $1.06 but is no longer being sold at the man’s local store. The taller can, which is technically the same size, costs $2.37.



In other words, this man is accusing his local convenience store of selling a can of Coke that is identical in size but not in appearance to an earlier version for more than double the price. In this way, retailers are tricking consumers into spending more money and thinking they are getting more bang for their buck.


In reality, they are buying the exact same thing.

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Changing the shape of a product is a proven tactic to get shoppers to spend more money.

In U.S. News and World Report’s list of “15 Ways Companies Are Tricking You Into Spending More,” “taller, narrower packages” made the list at number three.

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you should judge a package’s cover before deciding to buy it,” the outlet noted.

U.S. News and World Report spoke to David Hagenbuch, a marketing professor and the founder of He said, “Consumers often think that a taller, narrower package holds more product even when it doesn’t. For example, notice how many ice cream containers have shrunk in girth but not in height?”




This directly correlates to the Coke can, which is indeed taller and narrower than its original counterpart. This gives it the illusion of looking larger when it’s really the same size.

Unfortunately for this Reddit user, U.S. News and World Report said that this tricky tactic already has a name. 

“Marketers and economists have a name for this phenomenon, where the packaging gets smaller, but the price stays the same: shrinkflation,” they said. “You think you’re buying the same product as always — and you are, only you’re purchasing less of it.”


Or, in the case of the can of Coke, the same amount.



One commenter pointed out the similarities between trickflation and existing forms of inflation as well. “If it’s the same size and now costs more money, isn’t that just regular old inflation?” they asked.

While this man’s idea was clever, it seems that trickflation really isn’t that different from inflation or shrinkflation. Nevertheless, his new term might make shoppers look at products from a different perspective.


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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.