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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fringeville #99, January 19 2014

Sticker Shock
Holy Sh*t...

My wife has been working late shifts for months. I've been doing a lot of the shopping. She's on a new shift, and gets out in the early evening. That means she's back to a normal sleep schedule, so we can actually go to the store together.

Last evening we went to Wally World in Pittston Township. As we went up and down the aisles, this was the mantra escaping my beloved's lips:

"Holy Sh*T! Look at the price on this!"

"Holy Sh*t! The cheese we buy has gone through the roof!"

"Holy Sh*t!" Look at the bacon prices! It'd be cheaper to buy the pig!" 

The only genuine bargain we found was Eight O'Clock Columbian coffee K-Cups, the elixir of the gods-too-lazy-to-grind-beans-at-six-AM.

The really bad news is that price-wise it's even worse in other stores.

So where do we shop?

Ranked by preference (meaning we actually enjoy the overall experience), we do the bulk of our shopping at Schiel's in Parsons. The service is excellent (I hate lines).
None of our other stores match Schiels on getting you through the line quickly. The prices and quality are good, and it is also closest to where I work.

Next on the preference totem pole is Weis Market on River Street in Plains. Like Schiels, good prices and quality. Schiels gets the edge because it is usually next to impossible to get out of Weiss quickly. There are just a handful of checkouts and they're not all manned.

Price Chopper would get more business from us if they were closer, but they refuse to move the store. Their selection and quality is great, it's just their location relative to our abode.

Wegmans is heaven for selection and quality ...I could live out my life in their olive bar ...but the prices are too steep and the crowds are unnerving.

Wally World is reserved for odds and ends and things we just can't get cheaper. It is always the worst possible experience. There are 60 bajillion checkouts, and maybe three or four manned at any given time. Kind of like going to the bank these days. Lotsa people, lots of lines, zero service. And Wally World either has chimpanzees stocking their eggs or they use the egg display for bazooka practice. But Wally World is generally the cheapest and they tend to save us trips out for other things totally unrelated to grocery purchases.

Now if I rank these stores by where we actually spent the most, the batting order is: Schiels (46%), Wally World (26%), Weiss (23%), Price Chopper (4%) and finally Wegmans (1%). I've got to say, that was a surprise to me, because we don't make that many trips to Wally World. But when we do, we spend. When the cheapest place, where we spend more than 1-in-4 food dollars, elicits sticker shock from my wife, this can't be good news for the overall state of the economy.

It's the inflation that isn't happening and it is the inevitable and predictable result of printing money out of thin air while vastly increasing national debt. Mix in the myriad and rising taxes at all levels of government, the falling actual wages, and we've got what some call the deliberate destruction of the American middle class.

I think it is far, far simpler: We have a vast and growing government that is utterly incompetent, hopelessly corrupt, and completely out of touch with the people they serve. A government which believes, perhaps correctly, that we serve them because we certainly vote that way.

Whatever the cause, here is the cry we're all going to hear going forward from the shoppers of America: "Holy Sh*t! Look at the price of the toilet paper. Time to stop mulching and use the leaves!"

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