Paper Towel Shrink Ray {Shame on you, Viva!}

Why do so few people pay attention? It’s frustrating to be one of the minority of shoppers out there that notice how big companies squeeze more money out of us each time we go out!

In today’s “Shrink Ray” post – it’s again about Paper Towels.

We last mentioned how Wegmans effectively raised the price of their paper towels by 25%. It was a combination of LESS product for MORE money.

In this instance – it’s the VIVA brand of paper towels.

Viva says “same product” – “new look” (leaves out lies)

We had to make an emergency pitstop for paper towels the other day (shame on us for not having an adequate supply). Ran into an area Rite Aid.

They have awful prices, but I studied the prices and true unit pricing (sq. ft.) to determine the best value at the moment. I decided on VIVA because they do make a decent product.

But lo behold – they had both “old” packaging – and “new” packaging.

The new package had a sticker: “SAME PRODUCT – NEW LOOK!”


It may have been the “same” KIND of paper – but they were NOT the same AMOUNT!

Viva now offers 7-14% less product

Viva used to come in two “styles” if I recall correctly (IIRC in internet acronyms). “Viva” and “Viva Vantage.” The Viva Vantage was the more economical one.

Here – they changed the more premium Viva – into Viva Signature Cloth.


  • The “old look” had 241.8 square feet of paper.
  • The “new look” has 224.4 square feet of paper.
  • A difference of 17.4 square feet. About 7% less paper. It’s like getting charged sales tax twice.

And here – they changed Viva Vantage – into Viva Multi-Surface Cloth.


  • The “old look” had 261.0 square feet of paper.
  • The “new look” has 224.4 square feet of paper.
  • A difference of 36.6 square feet! About 14% less paper! So if it took you a week to go through the old pack, now it’ll be done in six days for the same money.

Getting less for the same money is BS. Just their sneaky way of raising prices without the customer’s knowledge. They love saying “new low price” when things go down – but you’ll NEVER see a sticker on the package that gleefully says “Hey look – you’re getting less! Hooray!”

That said – we bought the last two packages of the “old” paper they had left in the store. Not sure what to compare that moral victory to. The last drink before prohibition?

Even more ridiculous marketing – works better when wet?

As a side note – we saw this nonsensical marketing mumbo jumbo. “Traps Mess 2x Better” is what an ordinary idiot would see. They’d probably think “Wow, this is awesome!”

Take a look at the fine print – and it says “when wet.”

Then even more fine print off to the left says “when compared to this exact product when dry.”

How outrageously dumb is that? What is going on at these corporate marketing departments? What next? Telling people how great a bar of soap works when mixed with water?

The stupid, it burns.

Is this even necessary? What next? You move faster when you run instead of walk?

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.