$3.99 a bag?


I took a long walk this morning. A beautiful summer day.

On the way home, I stopped at a Stop & Shop supermarket.

I was about to buy two bags of Wise Ridgies potato chips. I did not look at the price.

I put them on a scanner at checkout and the price popped up on the screen: $3.99 per bag.

A price of $3.99 for a bag of chips?

I left the bags on the counter and left the store without buying them.

This got me to thinking about inflation and how outrageous it is. I seem to notice it most with the prices of little items.

I know it’s a topic about which there’s really nothing to say. Everyone already knows about it and experiences it continually.

But …

I was discussing the same thing with a friend the other day.

My friend was telling me that he has been feeling pressure recently to earn money because his spouse wants to purchase an expensive car.

I wrote thusly in an email him:

A “sinkhole.”

But, you know what? It seems like no one nowadays has enough $$$.

I’ve given up trying to keep track of or control expenses.

Breakfast in a diner in Manhattan is over $20 and a can of soda or a small bottle of juice usually costs two bucks and sometimes more. A medium sized coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts is over two dollars.

A hot dog from a street vendor in Manhattan costs three dollars.

T-shirts in New York City department stores are priced at thirty dollars each. (My wife often manages to buy them cheaper on sale.)

The newsstand price of the Sunday New York Times is five dollars.

It got me thinking about various comparisons between now and then. For example, I recently went with a friend on a two week trip to Spain. The hotel prices were cheap by US standards, usually around $150 a night.

But I recall when my parents took me to New York City for a trip that I have never forgotten in 1953. We stayed in the Edison Hotel in Times Square. (It is still there.) A room for the three of us was four dollars a night.


— Roger W. Smith

      August 7, 2016


About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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