Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Rising Prices
Jennifer Flaten

A few months ago, when the economy started to go to hell in a hand basket, our local paper, the Milwaukee "Journal Sentinel," did a little piece on how people were "coping" with the higher prices. The article consisted of the usual person-on-the-street survey, of our cities fair citizens.

Usually, you can empathize with the average person on the street has to say. This is why the quote from one of the "average" respondent, floored me. Her comment said that with the rising prices she now felt it necessary to look at the prices before she bought stuff at the grocery store.

Now, I maybe wrong, but to me this quote implies that this woman, until recently, was going into the store and grabbing whatever caught her fancy. Imagine that! She would blithely go into a store and buy whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted with no regard to the cost. How else do you explain her asinine quote? I can't imagine the average Joe agreed with her statement. I know I didn't agree with her statement.

I must tell you, this quote flummoxed me. So much so, that I found it necessary to do some deep breathing exercises to calm down. I mean, how the heck you cannot look at the prices! I look at the prices of everything, all the time. How else do I make my money last?

Still, once I was enough calm, I began to think about what this woman was saying. I arrived at the conclusion that when times are good, few people ever expect them to go bad. Sure, there may be a few people who are old enough to remember a previous hard time. Women and men who lived through the depression, but there are more good-time Charlies. Yes, the happy-go-lucky people who can't imagine a bad time will ever come. These men and women run up their credit card bills, every month, figuring, some day their ship arrives. Well, this time the ship isn't coming in. In fact, I am sure the ship struck and iceberg and sank. So what are these people going to do now?

Wait for the government to step in and bail them out? Yes, most likely.

Now, I am sure this short-sightedness is universal. So, why does it seem especially common in people from the USA. I can't help think the US specializes in citizens who wear rose-tinted glasses.

How else do explain that people missed prices were going up, and have been rising steadily for years. Prices did not just increase overnight. When is the last time some of these people looked at the price of their food? Well, according to the woman from Milwaukee not in a long, long-time.

That explains no one noticed as a loaf of bread crept up into the $3.00 range. I assume everyone so busy buying fancy bread at $6.00 a loaf, thinking it was worth every penny-why because someone told them, that they failed to notice the cost of good old Wonder Bread going up?

I demand an explanation. I want to know why we have let prices get so out of control. I am not talking about the astronomical price we are paying for gasoline at the moment, and will continue to pay in the future. I know what is driving that! What I want to know where were the complaints about the rising cost of a gallon of milk. There wasn't a peep the price crept up past 2.25, then 2.50 and finally, our milk is now $3.39 a gallon. Yes, that is the price I pay here in the DAIRY state for my milk. I can only imagine what the price maybe for someone living in New York or California.

People have the mind-set that if their pay goes up and everything is all right in the world, then it is all right for prices to go up. Problem is when the economy goes wrong and our pay goes down, those darn prices don't come down. So now gas is over $4.00 a gallon, bread that is over $2.50 a loaf and you and what can we do: nothing. Neither of these prices will come down for a long, long-time. Perhaps don't. People like me will continue to look at the prices and look for the best deals. It is little comfort that little miss I now have to look at prices will be right there with us.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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