A few weeks ago, he received a promising email. A photo of two packages of syrup with a curious difference was included in the message.

A bag of dog food that was 50 pounds was discreetly shrunk to 44 pounds in an email from Mr. Dworsky. The box grew about an inch taller, but was a bit lighter. Younger bottles of detergent have less detergent than the older ones.

There was a cough syrup message. Mr. Dworsky was going to look into it.

Shrinkflation, when products or packaging are subtly manipulated so that a person pays the same price, or even slightly more, for something but gets less of it, is one of the tricks he has exposed.

This strategy has been used by consumer product companies for a long time. Their nemesis has been following it for a long time. A reference to the fine print often found on product packaging is what he writes up on his website. He said that only a mouse could read it.

Shrinkflation in everything is one of the topics he writes about, along with misleading advertising, class-action lawsuits and exaggerated sale claims.

A recent Mouse Print report looked at shrinkflation. Over the last decade, almost every brand of toilet paper has been reduced in size.

ImageTwo packages of toilet paper. One contains 12 rolls with 242 sheets per roll; the other 12 rolls with 264 sheets per roll.
“Virtually every brand of toilet paper has been downsized over the years,” Mr. Dworsky wrote on his website.Credit...Simon Simard for The New York Times

Mr. Dworsky began his career as a market researcher and later became an on-air consumer reporter for local television with Bill O'Reilly. Mr. O'Reilly said that Mr. Dworsky was not one of the slick broadcasters.

He went from working in the Massachusetts attorney general's office to becoming a self-employed consumer advocate.

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The Saudi plan. Despite the scientific consensus that the world must move away from fossil fuels to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, Saudi Arabia is using lobbying, research funding and diplomatic activity to keep oil at the center of the world economy.

The people are being tracked. Climate TRACE uses data from satellites to track emissions from power plants, oil fields and cargo ships. A hyperlocal Atlas of the human activities that are altering the planet's chemistry has been created by the group.

Climate threats in the U.S. The effects of climate change are already far-reaching and worsening throughout the United States, posing risks to virtually every aspect of society. The United States has warmed more quickly than the rest of the world over the past 50 years.

He has had his work cut out for him. With inflation at a 40-year high, business owners have been shrinkflating their products in an attempt to hide prices.

The president of consumer product goods at Iri said that companies are doing it out of necessity. He said that manufacturers are facing huge costs. They are figuring out how to balance that.

Mr. Dworsky lives alone and works seven days a week from his small condo. He thinks thrift is more than a job. Donations and ad revenue made up the majority of his income last year. He gets by on Social Security and his savings.

He says he preaches what he practices about his own frugality. I don't think of surge as a word. People hunt ducks or deer. I'm looking for bargains.

Procter & Gamble, which makes Dawn dish soap, did not respond to a request for comment for this article.Credit...Photo illustration by The New York Times; Photo by Simon Simard.

Mr. Dworsky started his day with breakfast of a store-bought coffee cake muffin and a glass of apple juice before checking his email and scanning the internet for consumer news to include in his newsletter and website.

He focused on shrinkflation. He was going to talk about the downsizing of Halloween candy on TV.

He is the same person in interviews as he is off camera. He pointed out that some manufacturers have defended smaller products by saying they have less calories. Kids don't care on Halloween. They don't want a lot of candy.

Shrinkflation drew the attention of John Oliver, who noted Mr. Dworsky's quirky TV presence. Mr. Oliver said that news outlets love to cover this, usually with the help of what seems to be the one go to expert on the topic.

That's right, yeah! Ed, you tell them. Mr. Oliver said something. Everything about that man is wonderful.

Academic circles notice Mr. Dworsky's work. The only person he knew of who was documenting shrinkflation was Mr. Dworsky. Hitendra Chaturvedi is a supply chain management professor at Arizona State University.

Mr. Dworsky made himself lunch before going to investigate the cough syrup tip. He can tell you the prices of almost everything in it. The imitation crab meat was still a great deal even though it had gone up recently. He said that the most he'd ever spent on a vegetable was $1.50.

He went down the road. The first stop was a drugstore.

He said it was hard to catch shrinkflation. He can find examples of newer and older packages on the same shelf in stores if he is lucky.

There are clues like "New and improved" on the packaging. He looks at the weight.

He told them to look at the products they buy all the time. When you return to the store, make sure it is the same as your last item.

The maker of Smart Balance said the company had modified some products “to make them easier to spread” but would revert to the earlier formula based on consumer feedback.Credit...Photo illustration by The New York Times; Photo by Simon Simard.

He said it would be difficult to investigate the case of the cough syrup because he called it skimpflation. He would want to know if the contents were watered down so that people would pay the same for less cough syrup. The new bottle of Robitussin has a higher adult dose than the old one, according to the images sent in by the tipsy.

He wondered if other stores had done the same thing. He went to five different drugstores. He was trying to find both new and old products at the same pharmacy.

He's used to being an outsider. He recalled a childhood playing with his favorite toy, a cardboard supermarket, at his father's house and said he had inherited the cheap genes from him. He would put the boxes of cereals and oatmeal in a bag.

He worked for the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation as an assistant attorney general.

Mr. Dworsky walked into Robert Sherman's office in the early 1990s with two packages of anti-dandruff. He said that Mr. Dworsky asked what he saw.

The two packages were the same. Yes, but no. The size of the cap is the difference between the two.

Manufacturers can change their product sizes at will. Mr. Dworsky wanted to let shoppers know that they should look out for price increases.

Mr. Dworsky said he looks out for clues like “new and improved” on packaging.Credit...Simon Simard for The New York Times

His focus was on shrinkflation.

Interviews with people who have worked with Mr. Dworsky show that consumer advocacy is his life's work. At one point, he referred to his shrinkflation discoveries as his family. He said that his children are his favorites. It's difficult to single out the best.

Mr. Dworsky is considering his legacy. The Massachusetts food store item pricing law he wrote in 1987 was his biggest impact. He believes that digital discount coupons are harder for seniors to use because they require technical skill to use.

He continued to research cough syrup. Robitussin had changed its formula several years ago and its store-brand competitors had just recently followed, he said in an interview.

The quality and integrity of Haleon's products is always paramount.

Mr. Dworsky is worried that consumer advocacy is dying and is frustrated at how hard it is to find examples. He said that these are difficult to find. Someone with an eagle eye is needed.

He is happy with his findings. He said it was a high. I hit gold, that's what I said.