It’s a common experience that when you see someone frequently, you are less likely to notice changes than if you see them infrequently. Hence, we don’t tend to notice changes in ourselves until we see a picture from several months or years earlier. And friends who we haven’t seen in months or years appear so much older and grayer, that we are socked by the change.

I have many food vices; fortunately, doughnuts is not among them. When I travel, I’ll eat at Tim Horton’s from time to time, but it’s the bagels that tempt me, never the doughnuts; I’m savory rather than sweet in my taste preferences. As a result, I haven’t had a commercial doughnut in about 10 years; since the Krispy-Kreme craze came to town and people lined up for hours to get one of their fresh confections (they eventually went pretty much bust in Canada, victims to the low-carb movement as well as Tim Ho’s dominance of the market).

Last night we took Roxie to the vet for her first check-up (she’s 15 weeks old and has gained 6 pounds in the 10 days we’ve had her, for a total of 36 pounds). Everything was good; staff at the clinic oohing and aahing her – Briards are pretty rare and she is only the 5th one in this large clinic’s practice history. On the way home, we passed a Tim Ho’s and I had a sudden desire for a doughnut. I fought the urge, but by the time we passed the third store in as many kilometers, I succumbed. Unfortunately, my wife is very indulgent of my whims and went along with the idea of getting one doughnut each.

I went into the store alone and emerged with a six-pack of assorted doughnuts. She glared at me disapprovingly in the car. At home we opened the box and looked at each other with surprise: Man, these doughnuts had really gotten much smaller in the intervening years! They were about half the size of a regular Timmy from the last time we had one. Believe it or not, we didn’t see this as a bad thing, especially when you already feel guilty eating one. But, if I were a regular doughnut-eater, this would qualify as a real example of “product shrinkage”; a classic marketing maneuver to squeeze out more margin by ever so subtly making products smaller over time.

But the move seems to also fly in the face of the “supersize” mentality so prevalent in the fast-food industry. Interesting. And, BTW, the doughnuts really weren’t very good…it’ll be another 10 years before we do it again. By then, the doughnuts may be the size of the Timbits “holes”.

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