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YOU'RE under the shower, soaping up your belly, and suddenly you seem fatter. The bar of soap, freshly taken from its packet, seems tiny in comparison with your looming bulk. You feel like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput.
Here's the good news: for once it isn't you. The bars of soap really are getting smaller. The price of tallow, worldwide, has soared in the past year. Instead of 'fessing up to consumers and putting up the price of soap, the manufacturers have instead decided to shrink the product.
Bars of soap have typically gone from 125 grams to 100 (and in some cases 85). The manufacturers presumably hoped no one would notice. Well, bad luck: we did.
Right at the moment, half the products on the supermarket shelves seem to be in the process of shrinking. Paper towels are narrower; baby wipes are shorter; toilet paper has gone from 200 sheets a roll to 190. Welcome to the world of the Incredible Shrinking Products.
In some ways, there's nothing wrong with this. The weight and specifications are there for all to see, printed on the side of the box. And the shrinkage is due to the worldwide rise in food and material costs, rather than a desire to increase profits.
In countries such as the Philippines they're having rice riots and, given those problems, it may seem churlish to cry poor over a missing centimetre or two on a paper towel or a missing 5 grams in a can of tuna.
Yet just for our own sense of pride, I'd like the whisper to the manufacturers: you didn't get away it. We've all noticed.
Some companies, after all, have gone to extraordinary lengths to try to cover up the shrinkage. Suddenly, the tuna can has subtly tapered sides: the top is still the same diameter and the can is the same depth but the whole thing is 5 per cent smaller.
There are now jam jars with indentations in the base, like the punt or kick-up used to strengthen a champagne bottle. Since strawberry jam is not usually stored under pressure, the hollowed-out base is just an attempt to replace food with air, without anyone noticing. It's Houdini packaging, designed to trick the eye.
Some soap brands are even changing the shape of the bar, giving it a hollowed out shape for "added grip". This is good news for all of us who have been injured by flying bars of soap - slipping out of the hands of the unwary and hurtling across the room, all due to the dangerous "non-grip" designs of the past.
It's mere chance, of course, that the new "non-slip" shape produces a bar that contains much less soap.