Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Just sharing some of the fun stuff that comes my way.


Are you stashing cash in the lining of your mattress yet? Won't be long now and it'll be every man, woman, and child for his or herself. The hits keep coming with collapses of major lending institutions, insurance companies, secondary mortgage market players, the stock market, and the dollar overseas. Inflation has arrived and it's going to take a big chunk out of your wallet. Have you felt it yet? Retailers have.

Prices on everything are set to go up in Q4, beginning October 1st. Manufacturers have sent letters to distributors and resellers informing them of widespread price increases. Everything you bought yesterday will cost more tomorrow. For a while, the retail sector sought absorb these increases - hoping to win the price battle, trading margin to keep volume up. But they can't sustain the loss any longer. These price increases are about to get handed off to consumers. Get ready to tighten up that belt.

It won't be obvious at first. Large grocers, for example, know the secret to phasing in the price increase. They'll eat the cost of milk - a staple with which we're all familiar - and keep it hovering around the $3 a gallon mark. This lulls consumers into a false sense of economic security. As long as milk isn't going up, our subconscious tells us, prices across the board will be fine.

And then we see the total at the check out. Our $40 purchase is now $63.50. That $75 trip is now $101.24. Everything else we're buying is more expensive. Another tactic? Impossible math. You'd have to be Rainman to calculate the unit price of anything in the stores these days. This is something that has personally bothered me for years, but why can't the store ever tell me how much just ONE of something costs? Everything is 5 for $11, or 3 for $8.88, or BUY TWO, GET ONE FREE. I have to bring a calculator shopping to figure out that, on a per unit basis, I'm getting robbed.

The reason, of course, is simple. Grocers don't want you to know how much just one costs. That would make you an informed shopper. And informed shoppers are not good for business. What they want are zombie shoppers...people pacing the aisles, unwilling or unable to calculate costs on the fly, grabbing products and filling their carts. 6 for $10? Sounds like a great deal! Until you do the math and realize that $1.66 isn't a bargain for fucking yogurt.

Get smart. Do the math. Read the fine print on those tags where they list the unit price (if you can). Be informed. Make smarter decisions. Save money.

And stuff those savings in your mattress where they'll be safe.