Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Price of Things

“Price of milk reaches all-time high,” screamed the headline on my computer screen. At that moment it occurred to me that I couldn’t guess the price of a gallon of milk within 50 cents if my life depended upon it. It’s not that I haven’t bought a gallon of milk at the grocery store before, it’s just that I never pay any attention to the price. What am I going to do, shop around for the best deal on milk? No, when we need milk, we buy milk. The price is basically irrelevant. You can’t pour water on your cereal.

Be that as it may, it still bothers me that I am so unaware of the price of something so basic to my way of life. I know how much a gallon of gas costs. I’m completely up to speed on the costs of coffee and beer, other must-have life liquids. How did I get so out of touch with how much stuff costs?

So, I decided to give myself a little test. I wrote out a list of staples that we buy at the grocery store every week and made my best guess at their price as follows:

1.     Gallon of milk             My guess…$2.50……….actual price…$3.65

2.     Dozen eggs                  My guess…$1.75……….actual price…$1.82

3.     Box of cereal               My guess…$2.23……….actual price…$3.98

4.     Loaf of bread               My guess…$2.00……….actual price…$2.03

5.     Pound of bacon            My guess…$4.00……….actual price…$5.58

6.     Jar of peanut butter      My guess…$2.10……….actual price…$2.40

My Guess total...$14.58

Actual Price...$19.46

Pathetic. Stuff costs roughly 33% more than I think. I take away two lessons from this exercise. One, I am a terrible consumer, and two, when in God’s name did bacon become a delicacy? $5.58 a pound? Are you kidding me? What…did hogs go on strike or something? I don’t remember reading about a pig shortage down in Smithfield. Has the government slapped some kind of obesity surtax on the stuff? Is this some sort of politically correct punishment for our insensitivity to Muslims? What in the name of Porky Pig is going on?

I guess its simple supply and demand. In a country that serves up triple baconators for lunch you have to pay to play. Maybe if we didn’t love the stuff so much it would be cheaper. Still, I can’t help but be a little resentful of the big shots at Smithfield Foods for hogging all of the profits. The Chairman of Gwaltney gave a press conference the other day to try and explain the high prices. I’ve never seen a more HAMfisted performance. Total HOGwash, a complete boar.

I’ll stop now.

One more…who was Porky Pig’s favorite President?   AbraHAM Lincoln.