John Boston | The Shrinkin’ Stinkin’ Bag of Groceries

John Boston

I’m not the only one to notice this. But every time I go to the grocery store, which is now six times daily, some miscreant has been shrinking my food. 

This all started a while back with my own, personal Holy Water — Orange Gatorade. I’m a big fellow and the 32-ounce container was just about the perfect size to quench my manly thirst. Then, I started noticing. I kept drinking, but I had run out of Gatorade three minutes earlier and I’m swallowing air and Mine Dust. Nine of out 10 doctors will tell you: Mine Dust is much preferable to Mime Dust, which is completely creepy. 

I carefully examined the empty plastic bottle, studying the label. My third year of college revisited and I recalled a Romance Language professor (Dr. Roger Basham) at COC lecturing that “32 ounces equals a quart.” 

That stuck with me. 

My Gatorade bottle? In the teeny-tiniest of print, the label reluctantly confessed: “28 ounces, which, in some cultures, is a quart, and who are we to lay our racist Western Civilization math standards on enslaved peoples?” 

The more I shopped the last two years, the more I noticed this — shrinkage. It’s subtle. Almost subliminal. Certainly camouflaged amongst advertising lightning bolts and bursts on the packaging. For instance, they dropped the plural last “S” in Sugar Pops cereal. It’s now just the singular, “Sugar Pop.” You open the box and there’s the one kernel of a cereal booger, accompanied by a miniature plastic fork and steak knife with which to cut the Pop and distribute to your gaunt family. 

For some reason, government and business can’t monkey with dairy. A quart is still a quart. The same amount of milk just now costs the same as naughty ladies’ perfume. Strangely, this reminds me of when I was 5 and the very first time I was duped. I got my mom to send away for a set of 5,000 sea monkeys for 99¢, plus shipping and handling. All you had to do was put the sea monkeys in an empty horse trough and add water. Magically, the tiny inert mer-soldiers would grow into a life-size aqua army, programmed to do my biding. 

The sea monkeys turned out to be factory floor sweepings from a sponge factory with not much gumption for world domination nor interest in carrying out my orders. 

Fast forward 65 years later, I’m still getting duped, but this time with cans of “refried bean” or Uncle Ben’s Fried Rice. Evil thing about Uncle Ben’s? Rice can be either plural or singular. 

Microwave instructions? 

“Heat for less than a second…” 

Shrinkflation is everywhere. 

In the produce section, “bunch,” like most liberal 21st-century vocabulary, is debatable. A single grape is now considered a “bunch” because to deem it otherwise would be “numberist.” We’ve all seen the big signs at the local Piggly Wiggly: “Grape on Sale! $3.99 Each…!!” 

I’m not going to name names, but I know some SCV families (the Smyths, the Kardashians) who can afford TWO grapes. If it weren’t for the four village idiots on the William S. Hart Union High School District board, someone might be able to give their newborn the powerful, warrior/warrior-ette Indian name of “Two Grapes.” Or, you could be an enforcer for the Mafia — Georgie Two Grapes. 

When I go shopping now, I can blow 200 bucks on groceries without blinking. I have to bring rocks with me to the grocery store so the plastic bags don’t blow away when I waltz outside. I love my Original Recipe Coca Cola. But, the last time I was shopping, I got into a big semantics/cultural appropriations argument with the manager when I had the temerity to suggest that a six-pack should actually contain six cans and the key adjective I offered was “matching.” Six “matching” cans of Coke. Not beaver scent or canal water. I’m not going to mention the store (John Duarte’s Thrifty Shopper) but the manager kept trying to push the argument from math to cultural appropriation, at which point I asked her why she had the gall to be wearing pants? 

I think this has something to do with the Left’s attempt to advance their Pronoun Wars on us common folk. The next thing, the merchants will be putting black shrouds over the cash registers so you can’t see how much your food costs. Why? Because having a rough idea of how much of your savings account is being emptied for a (1) pine nut and a captured waft of bleach from an atomizer would be “know-ist.” 

Damn my eyes. 

How colonialist of me. Slave owners kept books with numbers in them. Why, having a rough concept about the size of my single Grape Nut would be nothing short of being a “Know-ist,” which is against federal regulations. 


Funny thing? 

Food packaging is not the only thing that’s been shrinking.  

It used to be our Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation were hearty, robust, honest, Truth-In-Advertising, What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get proud to be institutions. Except we’re not talking about canned lima beans or corn flakes. We’re talking about what’s inside the box of American integrity. 

Dark forces have shrunken the contents of groceries and governments. The day’s mythology is that the EPA, IRS and uncountable agencies are filled with 99% pure-hearted guardians keen on a life of honest public service. If that be so, how can so many tens of thousands of these warrior angels keep so silent during the now-daily vomiting of lies, ruination of innocent lives and the making of war on those very souls they’re supposed to be guarding? Civil servants with guns are protecting butts, paychecks and their vile, morally corrupt tribe. 

In the case of the ethically shrinking box of FBI or can of DOJ, the American citizen shakes the container, then takes a peek. There’s nothing — nothing at all — inside. 

Well. Nothing that isn’t rotten, top to bottom… 

Santa Clarita’s John Boston is the most prolific humorist/satirist in world history. Visit

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