It is becoming more and more popular for manufacturers to put various labels on cereal boxes, such as “Large Size,” “Party Size,” “Family Size,” “Giant Size,” and even “Mega Size.” What is the difference between each one? Recently, my curiosity got the best of me, and while shopping through the cereal section at a Walmart, I actually maneuvered some of the boxes around, and placed the different sized boxes next to each other, to once and for all settle all doubt as to which box is actually the biggest.

I strongly believe that every person should do at least one thing for the betterment of the world. For me, while I hope to contribute positively to the world in other ways as well, this cereal-box-maneuvering-tactic was my personal contribution to society, a move that I think people will be thanking me for years to come. So many people who were having sleep issues will now be able to sleep better at night, with the clear knowledge that “Mega Size” is indeed bigger than “Family Size,” and that “Family Size” is slightly bigger than the “Large Size.”

Or so I thought! After a little bit of research, I learned that my “experiment” may have been for naught. Afterall, I learned that not all manufacturers use the same labels, which means that there is absolutely no uniformity! One brand’s “Family Size” could be another brand’s “Giant Size,” and so on.

Additionally, MousePrint, a company that focuses on the small details within the consumer world, noticed how over time the manufacturers are actually shuffling the names around like actual sizes don’t even matter. For example, Kellogg’s originally put a “Family Size” label on a 24 oz. cereal box, and then downgraded the actual size of the cereal box to 18 oz. but kept the “Family Size” label! Post originally put a “Family Size” label on a 23 oz. cereal box, and then kept that same label even though the box was made smaller to 18 oz. And so on.

Manufacturers are using psychological ploys to get consumers to buy the same or less amount of product, for more money. They do this by conditioning shoppers to buy products by the size name (“Family Size,” etc.) rather than by the size number (the actual net weight). The new names on the cereal boxes are meant to convince you that you are getting more, when you are likely getting less!

In the world of consumerism, it is important to be educated so we can be empowered to hold off and avoid losing out. My friends, the very same ploy and scheme of labels and conditioning is utilized by none other than the Yetzer Hara himself. This is how he tries to get us. He conditions us to think we are getting something that we really are not. He places enticing names and labels on things, and makes us believe that we are getting a good deal by “purchasing” whatever it is he is “selling” us.

As Yidden, we must stay alert and be constantly vigilant to not get caught up in his plots and plans. Parshas Bahaloscha begins with the lighting of the Menorah. In a world of exile and darkness, we must connect with the symbolism of the Menorah. Connect to the light of the Torah and truth. When we embrace this light of holiness and purity, we will be empowered to make proper decisions and ensure we are not getting scammed by the Yetzer Harah.

Have a holy Shabbos!