The Cost of Things

Three times now in the past month I have had serious sticker shock at the cash register.

First, I was out with Gal Smiley at a bookstore and she found some little toy – a special effects noise maker. It’s a little box that fits in the palm of your hand like a smartphone, with a bunch of buttons on it, and when you press one there’s the sound of hands clapping, or a spring going BOING, or burp sounds, or other such hilarity. They have one like it on iCarly, which is an old TV show no longer airing but we have recently burned through on Netflix, and she really wanted it, and her birthday was coming up (was actually yesterday, she’s 10 now, but that’s a whole other crisis). So I agreed to get it for her, figuring it was a loot bag type trinket that cost maybe $4, but then, upon arriving at the cash, found out it was $16. SIXTEEN DOLLARS. I almost balked but she offered to pay for $10 with her own birthday money to bring the cost back into a reasonable range, so we made the deal, but STILL.

Then, we were out at Best Buy shopping for a new TV for our basement (pics coming soon! I swear!), and one of the children who shall remain nameless was having a Breath Issue, so I went over to the cash to buy a pack of gum. They only had these plastic cup style things of gum that have a bunch of chicklet style pieces, and when I went to pay for it, it was $5.30. OVER FIVE DOLLARS. FOR GUM. If it hadn’t been such a serious Breathing On Me Emergency, I wouldn’t have paid it.

And THEN, I was at IKEA getting some plastic storage boxes for the basement, and I needed these specific ones to fit into the unit we already owned, and I had already planned out the contents of each box, so there was no going back, but these (somewhat) crappy plastic bins cost $18. EACH. And I needed like, 10 of them. Spending $180 on storage solutions for my sewing stuff in the basement seemed absolutely ridiculous, but the plan was in place and I feared piles of fabric scraps all over the place for years to come while I tried to think of some less expensive solution, so I just did it, but I felt all kinds of dirty doing it.

So my point here is: a) is this how one becomes an old crone who says things like “back in my day” and “young whippersnappers”; b) how long will it be before I am giving poor teenagers who work the cash a hard time about the cost of things (admisssion: the young lady at the Best Buy did get an earful about the gum before I realized how I must seem to her); and c) are things suddenly more expensive now, or have I just been out of the retail loop for so long I didn’t notice, or d) have I been asleep, Rip Van Winkle like, for a couple of decades without noticing?

I feel old. But still: FIVE DOLLAR GUM. Excuse me while I make clucking noises and clutch my pearls. I mean, REALLY.

13 thoughts on “The Cost of Things

  1. I KNOW. See the price of toilet paper lately? $20 for a big package? ITS TOILET PAPER, not cashmere. Cereal at $6/box (with much smaller boxes, have you noticed?). Its insane.

    1. I have the same issue with toilet paper – my mom has taken to calling me when she sees it on sale at the Shoppers Drug Mart so we can both run out and stock up. I have become my mother – and I’m liking it!

  2. I know of that noise-making device at Chapters. Luckily my guy already had a “Flarp” (a noise-making gadget specializing in fart sounds) to meet his button-pressing noise-maker needs.

    Stuff is so dang expensive. Let’s not even talk about the cost of THINGS.

    1. Biway! Do they still exist? They were my go-to in high school when I was trying to clothe myself on my minimum wage library job. Ah, good times!

  3. It does make me feel old. Fast food lunch for over $10?!? Wendy’s combo #1 was $4.36 including tax for about a decade…and remains the yardstick by which I base my “gut feel” on pricing for fast food.

    My parents complain about the aches and pains of getting old. But, right now I’m noticing the “grumpy old man” aspects. Like, the cost of things. Ugh.

  4. Yup – our favourite restaurant to eat with the whole family is The Newport which is SERIOUSLY CHEAP (with big portions and fries hand cut in the kitchen). Whenever we go anywhere else we do the old – “we could have had TWO meals at the Newport for this amount.”

    Also, it’s better to complain to the company. Quaker re-packaged all their cereals a while back (Life, Harvest Crunch, etc.) into much tinier, and slightly less expensive boxes that blared out “Our new lower price!” – or something like that. So, I called them and asked how half the amount of cereal being ten per cent cheaper was a lower price, and also I was wondering how ethical that type of advertising was, and they sent me several coupons good to cover the entire cost of a box of cereal and told me they would be changing the packaging not to talk about the new lower price.

  5. I filled up the car the other day, and the kids were watching. They were amazed at how much it cost for gas. Ha!

    I’ll tell you what, though, I bought a loaf of bread – just one – on my way home one day and it was $4.19. For a regular, whole wheat, plain-Jane loaf of bread. That seemed outrageous to me.

  6. smothermother

    every week i always gasp at how much i spend on groceries. I can easily spend over $100 and only fill one and half bags. It’s outrageous. And they really have us by the short and curlies, because the whole having to eat to survive thing.

  7. Just about everything astounds me with how expensive it is. Except for that slice of pizza from the metro for two dollars, including a drink. That’s cheaper than my cup’o’tea from the coffee shop!

  8. Mike and I have been talking and complaining at length about the trend in the grocery store lately, prices stay the same, but they’ve made the sizes smaller. So 375g of bacon instead of 500g, 750ml of chocolate milk instead of 1L. It’s so annoying and we’ve actually found we’re getting better value for our money at Costco in many cases. I mean really… who wants less bacon?!

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