If you’ve ever opened a bag of Potato Chips, you’ve experienced some version of what I call Diner Disappointment. That is, you grab what looks like a nice big bag and, when you open it, you find it’s only part-full of product. There’s a good reason for that, but not for what one Chip maker has been doing…
You know how Potato Chip bags always feel plump and full when you pick them up off the shelf, but turn out to be, like, only partly filled when you open them? That’s because the manufacturers intentionally pump air into Chip bags when filling them to help keep the chips from getting crushed in shipping. They do that to keep their customers happy. You can’t dip a Chip crumb.
Also, Chips are sold by weight, not by volume, so the bags can be totally legal weight-wise, based on the labeling but appear somewhat low on product when opened. And don’t forget, commodities like chips will settle during shipping.
So why are folks who bought Wise brand chips suing the company for puffing air into its bags?
It seems that Wise has been selling big ‘family size’ bags that contain only a few chips. The so-called ‘fill line’ on Wise bags is about 1/3 of the way up the bag. Other Chip makers fill their same-sized bags 2/3 of the way up. In both cases, the bag is puffed out with air as explained above. The only way to tell whether a Wise bag is a good bargain is to compare weights in your hand – or read the small print that tells the official weight.
Plaintiffs Sameline Alce and Desiré Nugent alleged, in Southern District of New York federal court, that Wise is deceiving and maybe even cheating its customers. Alce and Nugent are asking that Wise be ordered to package their chips with much less air and pay fines of up to $1,500 per violation. Multiply that by a lot of bags of Chips!
We’ll see what the court has to say. If I was Wise, I’d settle out of court before a few million become tens of millions…
~ Maggie J.