Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Wagon Wheel Effect

A product that grows in size as you do.
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Many people are familiar with that feeling that sweets were so much bigger when we were kids. That, as the years have gone by, our favourite treat has gradually been whittled down to a mere sliver of the gigantic, big-as-your-head confections which once roamed the planet in our primordial youth.

The prime exemplar of this effect is the Wagon Wheel; a gigantic, round, marshmallow covered biscuit enclosed in a chocolatey covering that, in former times, required you to hold it steady in both hands whilst you spent days nibbling at its outer edges. Consuming the whole thing could take weeks or even months. These days you could probably dunk one in your coffee without touching the edge of the cup; the Wagon Wheel’s content having been systematically reduced year on year, by confectioners anxious to reduce production costs whilst increasing the amount of pocket money that they take out of the hands of small children.

However, rather than airily waving aside the protestations of weasel-faced manufacturers that this scenario just isn’t true, I believe it is time to take them at their word and remedy this whole Wagon Wheel Effect issue.

I therefore propose a line of confectionary to be produced in, say, 25 different sizes (after that, people seem to just get wider rather than taller), with each size to be limited to persons of a specific age. So, a size 1 wagon wheel could only be sold to a 1 year old, a size 2 to a two year old and so on. The largest size being sold to 25 year olds and up. The difference in size would be equal to the average proportionate change in size between each age group.

One problem I can foresee with this excellent scheme, is that it might create the Wagon Wheel effect in an even more irritating way. A child starting out with a smaller size sweet might anxiously look forward to growing up in order that they can buy one of those gigantic Wagon Wheels, eight times the size of your head, that the adults have, only to find that when they reach the appropriate age, the sweet doesn’t seem to be any larger than the ones that they bought in their youth. In order to mitigate against this problem, the sweets will need to be sold on a behind-the-counter basis, so that they are not visible to customers.
DrBob, Sep 02 2011

Wagon Wheels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_Wheels
[DrBob, Sep 02 2011]

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       Yes, with gaggles of squeak-voiced nippers soon to be found clustering outside tobacconists (trans. drug stores), hassling grown-ups to enter and buy for them as large-age a WW as the aggregation of their pocket monies will allow, this being good training for future proxy purchase of white cider.
calum, Sep 02 2011
  

       Also, by my reckoning, a 25yo's four finger KitKat would be equivalent in size to four Chunky KitKats smooshed together. We need to make this idea happen.
calum, Sep 02 2011
  

       methinks [DrBob] exaggerates a wee bit.
po, Sep 02 2011
  

       Amazing. Have we discussed the Wagon Wheel effect here before? Because I've been using the term Going Wagonwheel for years now to describe shrinking or increasingly air-filled products.   

       I'm sure it started with Wagonwheels. Wait, which came first, Wagonwheels or soft ice cream?   

       It was Mars Bars, actually. Back in the 1970's, each one filled the entire back of a transit van, required four adults to lift it, and contained enough fat and refined carbohydrate to cause an entire class of primary school children to go straight into hyperglycemic shock, with plenty left over. The wrapper was big enough to be an effective cover for a Ford Cortina. And they cost 6p.   

       Now, they're about the size a Milky Way used to be ...   

       // methinks [DrBob] exaggerates a wee bit //   

       Silence, child !
8th of 7, Sep 02 2011
  

       Doesn't Bill Bryson write similarly about the Hershey Bar now being about the same size as an After Eight?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 02 2011
  

       Yes ... he's just another victim, like everyone else ...
8th of 7, Sep 02 2011
  

       <sucks thumb> [8th] yes, daddy! are we nearly there yet?
po, Sep 02 2011
  

       We don't know, because we're lost, but we won't stop to ask directions ...
8th of 7, Sep 02 2011
  

       who cares! <no male ever asks directions - whatever planet they come from>
po, Sep 02 2011
  

       Hershey bars..... the smaller the better. Sweet brown wax.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 02 2011
  

       //increasingly air-filled// The Wagonwheel effect is reversible, then. Haagen Dazs reversed the trend towards increasingly air-filled ice cream.
mouseposture, Sep 02 2011
  
      
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