I am shocked at the rising prices I find in the grocery store nowadays. Some of the items I buy regularly, cat food for instance, have increased as much as 10-20 % over the past year-and on sale far less. Milk is way higher than a year ago, as is meat. Steaks at $11 per pound?
I made a trip there today to pick up some necessities-I did not have enough butter this morning to slather on my English muffin (with cinnamon and raisins) that superbly compliments my morning coffee. I had only one muffin remaining (and that not my preferred type with those cinnamon and raisins), and my “cow” was getting low. I just needed some staples to last me until Monday when I will shop at the commissary.
I gathered up what I needed, and checked out. My total was $55 plus change-a considerable sum considering that when I got home, I carried my purchases in two hands a substantial distance, maybe 75 yards, from my parking spot to my condo-including a steep, full set of stairs. In my bags were included a ten-pound watermelon and a gallon of milk (eight pounds), just to give you some idea of the paltry remaining amount of groceries I bought for what I consider a big chunk of change.
As I checked out and paid my bill, drove home, unloaded, and walked my supplies to my dwelling, I did what I usually do that entire time in transit lately-ponder how a family of four or five (husband, wife, and maybe two or three children) ever manage to put food on their table and buy the necessities of life (toilet paper to name one) with the prices as high as they seem to be. It must be a considerable challenge for that family unit. It actually worries me somewhat to think about it.
How expensive is shopping today as compared to maybe a year ago? I can give you a specific example-butter. As explained, I needed some. For fifty years or more when shopping, I have always bought a pound of butter when I needed it, with little or no attention paid to the price. I might notice if one was on sale if it was a worthwhile savings over the brand I normally buy.
Today, that changed. As I passed the section stocked with butter, I looked at pound packages. They all seemed to be about the same price-$5.99 per pound. While I say I never paid much attention to butter prices, I know damned well that the prices I witnessed today were much higher than what I had been paying.
To outwit the Stater Brothers, I decided the shrewd move would be to buy one of those small packages I had seen, but never bought, in most dairy departments, and wait till Monday to see what the prices would be at the commissary. That would provide me enough butter to make my English muffin deliciously contemptuous of the “cholesterol cops” (my doctors), and I might save money buying later.
As I searched the butter section-quite large considering the product (I never realized there were so many brands of butter and butter alternatives) – trying to find those mini-packs, a young clerk working nearby must have noticed the confused look on my face, and the wrinkle in my brow.
“Do you need some help, Sir?” I heard a young man’s pleasant voice from behind me ask.
“Yes,” I answered. “I’m looking for those small packages of butter-not pounds-you know… maybe a quarter pound or so.”
I’ll get it for you, Sir. Any particular brand?” the employee of the store asked.
I told him it was of no importance-whatever he thought was a good buy since he worked in that department. Until that moment, I had not even turned fully to face the young man.
(The whole point of this rant, the raison d’être for my angst, the very basis for my writing this to you, is the high prices of groceries in general-but more to the point, the price for a pound of butter-$5.99.)
When I turned to face the young do-gooder, the observant employee who had offered assistance, my suspicions about the high cost of butter were confirmed-no, they were cemented harder than rock. As I looked into the face of my benefactor, I was taken aback by something quite unusual, something you might see on someone up to no good.
I saw immediately that he was, in fact, wearing a black mask!