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.