This New Year’s Eve won’t be my first, and with God’s grace, it won’t be my last. But there’s something about every one of them that fills me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, there’s nostalgia in saying goodbye to the year that’s ending, no matter how it played out. I will admit, there’s have been more than a few that I was relieved to see in my rear-view mirror. But, at the same time the new year looming out in front of me holds the “terrors of the unknown”!
Will this year be better or worse than the last? Will the news hold nothing but doom and gloom on a daily basis? It usually takes at least a couple of months before I begin to feel comfortable with Baby New Year. They say there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Well after 50+ years in the grocery business I can add another to that list; vendor price increases. By the end of November, I had received notices from 10 of our large suppliers that as soon as the calendar clicks over to 2022, there would be price “changes”.
We’re all familiar with the inflation that has hit our country in recent months. As an economics major in college. . . (not Home Economics as the Reporter Argus reported in my wedding announcement) . . . one of the things I heard in Macro Economics class that really burned itself into my memory was the old adage, “when more money ‘chases’ the same or less amount of goods and services, the result is inflation”. You can bet the farm on that one. All the stimulus checks coupled with the downturn in production due to labor shortages has had that very effect on the country.
Milk companies in this state are governed by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board. Utilizing a complex formula, the Board determines the minimum price that retailers can charge on every package of fluid milk. This doesn’t include dips, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. This pricing is updated (read-changed) on the first of every month. Sometimes it goes up a few cents, the next month it goes down a few cents and sometimes it changes hardly at all. However, the past several months it has climbed repeatedly!
You can set your clock, however, by soft drink and potato chip companies. They raise their prices EVERY January, some of them twice a year, citing the usual: increased costs, shortage of raw materials, no labor, etc., etc., etc. To prove my point, of those ten companies who had issued price increase notifications by November 30th, eight of them were either, chips, pop or cookies!
There’s little if anything we can do about it as our choices are limited to “pay the new price or don’t stock the merchandise”. Yep, just like death and taxes – it’s a certainty!