Examples of process improvement that diminish the end user experience

When I was a youngster, I would very occasionally unwrap a KitKat to find that the wafer within was either broken or missing, resulting in a greater proportion of chocolate. Of course, I considered this a lucky win.
Now that QC processes have improved (each bar probably weighed and diverted off the line if it deviates from the ideal), the solid chocolate KitKat is a rarity, perhaps actually extinct.

Likewise, double yolk eggs used to be a rare treat, but now, they are filtered out of the egg packing process and sold as double yolk eggs, at a premium.

What other examples are there of QC improvements that actually diminish some aspect of the end user experience?

I have, in the past, gotten boxes of Smarties that were all one colour or two colours only (not special promotions or anything). I suspect this is now a thing of the past, with automation being what it is…

For the standard KitKat it may be, but it seems like some of their special editions still offer up that tantalising hope. I recently bought a pack of “Cookies & Cream” (I think) KitKats, and at least half of them had less wafer than they should have, or none at all.

As it turns out, however, I don’t much like “Cookies & Cream” flavour chocolate, so not so much a lucky win for me, there.

Does Microsoft Office count?

Seriously, I think that Office 2003 had a great and usable interface, all the “improvements” that have been since that time have made the software nearly unusable.

It’s not really what I had in mind for this thread - I can see your point (I think it took me 3 years to get completely to grips with ribbon menus myself - and a lot of that time was spent hating them), but really I was thinking more about changes in manufacturing process that notionally deliver a product of higher and more uniform quality, but eliminate things like variability and quirks that people actually liked.

Old time vending machines would sometimes be “gameable”. I remember a coke machine that would refund your money and vend your product if you pushed the selection button a certain way. There was an old parking meter design that could be duped into giving out excess time.

Modern vending machines are more reliable.

Wow, yeah - I remember one where you could insert your money and press/hold a button, then press another one and release the first, and you would get another can.

Heck, I knew one machine where you could reach up the slot and grab whatever you wanted for free.

In my defense, I only did that when the machine ate my money, which being decades old at the time I encountered it, happened regularly.

The thing is, more often than not, QC breakdowns typically don’t mean some sort of bonus on the part of the consumer, but rather that you end up with a can of beef stew with no beef, or a bottle of beer that’s over/under carbonated (have had both from craft breweries lately), or something’s contaminated.

I’d argue that what you’re talking about isn’t so much QC as it’s better manufacturing equipment. Your kit-kat without the wafer that’s a solid bar of kit-kat shaped chocolate wouldn’t likely be something QC would have caught anyway. What probably happened is that someone noticed that the wafer-inserting machine was breaking the wafers or not inserting them properly, etc… and they fixed it. This may be as a result of quality control data working back through the process, but doesn’t necessarily have to be.

It’s most likely a result of processes formerly done as QC (and by representative sampling), being able to be automated and built into the machinery so that they run in real time on every unit produced. We now have the technical capability to optically recognise misshapen bars or failed wrapping, and to weigh bars of chocolate accurately as they move at high speed along a conveyor, etc.

Type 316 stainless steel has to contain at least 2.0% molybdenum. Back when production and analytic techniques were less precise 316 stainless often contained much more than 2.0% Mo on average to ensure that it always had at least 2.0%. There are processes where I’ve had to change the material specification from 316 SS to 317 SS because the 316 just doesn’t last as long as it used to. The minimum still meets the 2.0% requirement, but the average is lower, close to the minimum. 317 SS has to contain 3.0% Mo, and is close to what 316 SS used to be.

You should write to the Professor at Periodic Videos about this because they’ve given Molybdenum short shrift.