Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let the prices soar

There’s been a lot said lately about everyday items like food and clothing getting more expensive.
Is the era of overabudance nearing its end?

I’m going to break from the whimpering masses and say, good. It's about time.

It seems consumers have been lulled into a false sense of wealth-and-plenty - disconnected from the reality of what things should cost and what they can actually afford to buy.

I'm talking about "average people," with 2,500 square foot houses for four, TVs in every room, driveways clogged with cars and garages full to the roof. If something breaks, discard and buy a new one. Heck, buy a new one simply because a better model is available and the price is right. Keep buying unnecessary items with money you don’t really have. It's as if they've been asleep in the American Dream so long, they believe they're entitled to a standard of living that exceeds their incomes.

Is it any surprise the economy is looking like a puppet show that’s starting to expose its strings?

Sure, Walmart keeps rolling back its prices. You can buy a massive bag of shrimp for about $10 at Costco. But is that really what it's worth? My dad is the only person I've ever heard complain about a price being too low - "how can they sell it for that. It's not right." If he were given to using buzzwords, he would have said, "it's not sustainable." Either way, he's right.

What many of us fail to realize is that we're occupying such a small blip in history. Apparently, a hundred years ago average people got excited over a crate of oranges at Christmas. Right. And how much of our food goes into the trash without so much as being tasted? Is that progress? Or does progress look more like a global living wage to produce what we consume? Should that ever occur, prices will rise – to a level representative of reality.

Regardless of the reasons, if I'm paying $30 for a bag of shrimp, rather than $10, I’ll be less inclined to let it spoil. Perhaps I'll strive to eat no more than I need to stay healthy. We may no longer be a society that has to spend money to lose weight. Perhaps we'll find ways to consume less and won't end up having to ship our trash to outer space...

So I say, rise baby, rise. Let the prices soar. This could just be our saving grace.

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