Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Inflation is Everywhere

This past weekend, I needed to do some minor grocery shopping, and so I went to the local "99 Cents Only" store in the area. It had been a while since I'd been there last, and so I was a bit surprised to learn that even this bastion of inexpensive merchandise was not immune to the epidemic of rising prices that has hit everywhere else recently.

Now, I'm not saying that, all of sudden, there were prices over 99 cents at the store. I doubt that will ever happen. Certainly, if it does, the store will need to find itself a new name. Rather, I was surprised to find tags like this one, which itself makes me wonder how accurate the name is these days:
But how is this a sign of inflation, you ask? 59 cents is still less than 99 cents. But what I haven't mentioned is that it has always been the case that the "99 Cents Only" store sold quite a number of items that were worth less than a dollar. But they maintained their gimmick of all prices being "99 Cents Only" by making these smaller items available at, say, "2 for 99 cents" or "3 for 99 cents." Although there are indeed a few tags of this kind still at the store, it's apparently the case that 99 cents is no longer the "only" price at the "99 Cents Only" store. If this item used to sell "2 for 99 cents," it will now cost $1.18 to get two of that item now that it's priced at 59 cents.

Likewise, for this item, which used to be available at "3 for 99 cents," it will now cost $1.17 if you buy 3 of them. Ah, well. It's getting harder and harder to get by these days, and that applies to merchants just as much as to the rest of us. I can't say that I'm all that eager to buy an extra bottle of "Clam Club" anyway!

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