If I were to start all over again, economics would be in the bottom tier of a selected field of study. I just don’t have the patience to drill down into the whys and wherefores of how a 2×4 piece of wood can quadruple in price, seemingly overnight. Rather I am one of millions of Americans who will defer building our dream barn on some nice piece of ground until things return to normal. The question is, will they or will it be like it has been historically, and you are seeing the new normal? Let’s look at what is happening to us “out there”.
This musing was prompted by an addiction. I love Sonic Diet Cokes, preferably with vanilla added, followed closely by a shot or two of cherry syrup. Either way, I like easy ice and a couple of cherries tossed in the cup as a treat after draining the beverage. Drinks are a high profit item for the restaurant industry, with the cost of the cup likely exceeding the cost of the drink it is holding. Sonic now counts the cherries and charges you a dime a cherry when they toss these morsels into your drink. Really? Sharon and I are eat out a lot kind of people, too often I suppose, especially given her culinary skill. At one of our very favorite breakfast eateries here in town, I uttered a quiet “Uh-Oh” when the server handed us a brand new menu, as the old ones seemed fine last week. Bingo, an omelette that we share is now 12.00 and comes with a single piece of toast. Coffee is now hovering around 3 bucks a cup…well you get the idea. I get it, labor is higher and commodities are too, therefore they have no choice but to pass it on.
A Facebook friend, obviously an impulsive one, was pulling his RV through Cincinnati last week and drove by a Ram dealership. He had decided his half ton pickup was over worked and is in the market for a new diesel pickup….something that is absent from dealer’s lots because somebody in China or Ethiopia or somewhere is holding on to a “chip” we should be making in America. This lot was sporting 3 new Ram 3500 diesels and he stopped in to check them out. As luck would have it, he fell in love with one of them and asked the salesman to “run the numbers”. The salesman proceeded to “work up” a sheet and the buyer noted an 8K “value added” addition to the MSRP. The dealer explained the up charges as a result of the scarcity of these trucks and my friend bolted from the store after deciding his current truck was doing just fine. Makes dime cherries in a soft drink a little more palatable. Sharon and I love to buy high and sell low, keeps the economy jumping, but the annualized increase of up to 40% in used vehicle values is another indication of the “I” word, inflation, steaming along at about 5.39% these days. The good news here is that if you have owned your home for two or three years, you are enjoying ownership of something that has increased in value, a lot actually, over the past several years. Unfortunately, this value will pass to your heirs when you go to your reward, as selling and buying will eat the increase up in a hurry.
Back to the cherries in my nearly daily elixir. If you use the Sonic app on your cellphone, drinks are always half price, so we can afford to order up two or maybe three cherries with the offset in price. I pass the savings on to the carhops, who I genuinely admire if no other reason than they are actually working. The bottom line is we live a comfortable, middle class life, drive one of those hard to get Rams and want for nothing, so why the fixation on the damned cherries?
I told you that economics is not my strong suit, resulting in a penchant for getting lost in the details rather than the big picture. Maybe we should all adopt Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman attitude of why worry. Cornpop Biden and his band of merry fruitcakes are going to keep handing out money until the presses run dry anyhow.
One last point….it is impossible to count the cherries you have paid for until you drain the cup. To add insult to injury, often they short you on the cherries or don’t put any in your cup. Come on man………!
Have a great week!