Half Sheets (Proverbs 16:11)

Several years ago, before shrinkflation was commonplace, I noticed that some paper towel companies were implementing an interesting variation. Instead of the usual size of the paper towel sheets that tore off at pre-perforated sizes, the size of each sheet was reduced in half. The idea was ostensibly to conserve resources, using less paper towel for activities that did not require an entire sheet. While the idea seemed noteworthy, I soon questioned its merit. Instead of using only the half sheet, I found myself tearing two or more sheets to accomplish the same task. Even when I consciously tore off only the half-sheet, I found myself going back and tearing off another half-sheet.

Frustrated, I asked the co-workers in my office if they were using less paper towels with these new half-sheets. All of them said no. It made me wonder, what if that was the intention from the beginning? What if the paper towel companies, under the pretext of being wise users of resources, were actually promoting a method to use more of their product? Of course, no company would ever harbor such sinister plans for its customers, right?

A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; all the weights of the bag are His concern. 

Proverbs 16:11 (NASB)

When the Bible was written, balances and scales were as critical to carry out trade and commerce as they still are. Most of us are familiar with examples of hucksters using falsely low weights to cheat farmers by paying them far less for their goods. The wisdom that God gave us in the Bible, thousands of years ago, is testimony that this has been going on far longer than the appearance of half-sheet paper towels. I am not implying that this was the paper towel company’s ulterior motive.  However, if I have a healthy level of skepticism, it is because the history of the world is littered with companies who have knowingly cheated their customers. Defunct companies like Enron and Worldcom. Existing companies like Volkswagen and Wells Fargo.

It is instructive that this idea of a just balance and scales, quoted in the Proverbs verse above, is repeated at least nine other times in the Bible. Thanks be to God that He is concerned with all aspects of our life, including our business dealings. Half-sheet or full-sheet. Only God always knows our true motives.

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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