Friday, March 14, 2008

Just Wondered...

Currently Reading: Still on the Bridesmaids. It is telling the story of Princess Grace, and offers some great insights to girls growing up in the 1950's! I'm on chapter 5. And this empties another box downstairs! In the next box are a bunch I brought home from my paternal grandmother's house last summer; mainly fiction.

And my marketing material finally arrived! 3 separate packages, the last one arriving yesterday. Why didn't they just ship it all in one large package?

After listening to several people griping about the rising gas and food prices, the thought occured to me....

Are we doing the same thing our grandparents did when their prices went up?

I mean, think about it. Hubby remembers being aghast when gas prices rose to (gasp!) 60 cents a gallon! How many of us would love to see 99 cent gas again? Yet thirty years ago, that's how much it 'rose' to.

I don't remember gas ever being lower than a dollar, except in the early '90's when a gas station dipped the price to 79 cents occassionally.

And I remember paying $1.19 for a pound of shaved ham.

Bread? Around fifty cents.

And even laundry detergent was around the $3 mark...for the generic Tide that I used to use, but can no longer find.

$1 for eggs, butter, and my Plent-i-Pak of gum.

$2 for milk, cheese, lunchmeat, and various other items.

And yes, I'll toss this out: Fifty cents per candy bar! Now it's more like an entire dollar?

What will our kids grow up thinking? Prices high or 'normal'? And how many of us shook our heads at our granparents and cheerfully paid for something they eschewed, because it was 'too high'?

I did.

I used to take my great-grandmother shopping. She was in her 90's at the time, having been born in 1902. She'd always clipped coupons and bought the brands that were on sale. Myself at the time, if my brand wasn't on sale, I bought it anyway, or stayed with the generic. Grandma would ask me, "Do you need any soap?"

"In about a week; why?"

"I've got a coupon for Irish Spring."

"Sorry Grandma; we use Zest."

"But I've got a coupon...use it anyway."

And being the docile grandchild I am, I would take the coupon, buy the Irish Spring, and then donate it to GoodWill, because no one in my house could stand the smell!

I caught myself doing this when milk jumped so high. I flat-out refuse to spend more than $3 on a gallon of milk. When it's on sale at CVS, the grocery store, or even the gas station, I'll buy several during the length of the sale and freeze it. And it never fails...the price of milk falls, and my kids won't drink it. But now I'm having trouble finding it at my price, and my kids have suddenly developed an insatiable thirst for milk! Classic law of supply and demand...

In the meantime, I've slightly adjusted the calculator in my head and can still make a pretty close guesstimate as to how much I'm going to spend at the store, as long as I stick to the list. Add in a husband and 3 kids, and I pretty much can bet it will double.

And that's okay...I'll let you in on a little secret: I estimate high, so there is a built-in margin of error so we're not completely caught off guard.


barbara huffert said...

When did cheese start costing more than lunch meat?

My very first job was working at Woolworth's. Candy bars were 5 for $1. Now I really feel old.

Kelly Kirch said...

I remember 76 cents a gallon in Texas and that was an increase which miffed a lot of college students.

My grandfather sat down at the diningroom table every Saturday with his notecard file, coupons, and shopping list for the week.