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Raising Prices By Cutting Diapers: Is Pampers Scamming Parents?

DIE WELT (Germany)


HAMBURG - Train them young! Die Welt reports that a German consumer protection group has charged Pampers with systematically deceiving consumers by reducing the number of diapers in a pack, without changing the way they are presented in the packaging.

"It’s a way of raising prices on the sly," says Armin Valet of the consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg.

Made by the American multinational Procter & Gamble, the upmarket disposable diapers are popular across Europe and the world as well. And while they may occupy the same shelf space in German supermarkets, Valet says that in a pack of Size #4 Pampers today there are 34 diapers. In 2006, there were 47 -- without the corresponding price cuts. "If Procter & Gamble goes on like this, in 20 years the pack will be empty," Valet jokes, adding that the sales ploy represents the fourth hidden price hike in seven years. "And they keep claiming the product is improved. Let’s just say the improvements are not immediately obvious," Valet told Die Welt.

Since this practice tricks consumers, the Verbraucherzentrale had it checked out legally and it turns that in Germany “price rises like this are legal,” Valet says. In fact reducing what’s inside packaging while keeping the price the same is a widespread practice in German retail.

The Hamburg consumer group has been monitoring retail prices intensively for years. Eight years ago, it began listing the companies that used the practice, and there are now some 500 products on the list including detergent Persil, mouthwash Odol, Senseo coffee and the Knorr brand renowned for its dried soups.

While the list is based on research by the group, the brands studied usually are chosen after the complaints of irate consumers. Recently, Valet says, the anger about the hidden Pampers price hikes has been multiplying.

According to Verbraucherzentrale the price of the diapers has over seven years effectively risen by 8.8%. Experts say that the diaper makers opted for this way of raising prices because they are afraid of losing customers if the price rise is upfront and transparent. Procter & Gamble was unavailable for comment.

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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