I am not sure what day of your life the price of everything seemed like it was right for you. But, if you’re a certain age, that day wasn’t today. While a receding hairline, gray hair and a sudden desire for the kids to be off your lawn are part of aging, likewise is that thing you do at the store. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean. You go through the local Safeway, slightly shaking your head and muttering, “That’s so high,” “Too much” and “You’re joking, right?’” Here is Gildshire’s story about this subject. We think the ground beef aisle was where it all began. The tipping point, if you will. A buck fifty per pound of hamburger quality beef. Two bucks for ground chuck. That was about right. But seemingly overnight, four, then five, then six dollars per pound. We started to shake our heads, ever so slightly.
For those who can remember, these were the costs from 30 years ago. They probably feel about right. For the younger crowd, this is a time machine. The prices listed are a national average from August 1988.
Electricity was 8.4 cents for a kilowatt hour. Your electric company charges about $0.014 per kWh today. That’s an increase, but it isn’t the main reason why your bill is higher today. The computer/printer/router/modem team is used much of the day. Also, your BIG flat-screen TV is thirstier than the CRT set you had in 1988.
A pound of mass produced coffee ran $2.74 in 1988. That same can costs $4.29 today. “But, my coffee cost has grown much more than that!” Chances are the coffee hound in your family won’t drink MJB, Folger’s or Maxwell House. If only you had invested in designer coffee when you had the chance. You would be reaping the rewards rather than shaking your head.
What is better than a bowl of ice cream in front of your favorite network sitcom. In 1988 the ice cream would have run $2.44 for a half gallon, watched in front of, “The Cosby Show.” Well…okay. Today the ice cream is $4.66 per a half gallon, and enjoyed while watching “The Big, Bang Theory.”
Bread is higher in price than it was in 1988. In fact, white bread is up about 55% since then. But it’s the vast varieties of bread available today that would widen the eyes of a person from 1988 who drops in today. Whole grains, five-ten-twelve-eighteen grain. Oats, poppy seeds, gluten-free, sprouted seed, and visible fibrous pieces of what we must assume are wood shards are all present in your morning slice of toast.
“Let’s go for a drive, everyone!” Remember when your family hopped in the Fairlane 500 on the way to nowhere? You haven’t done the Sunday drive thing since 1978, not to even mention 1988. The average gallon of regular is $2.87 today. It was at just under a dollar a gallon back in 1988. Of course, most people drive cars that get much better gas mileage than what they drove thirty years ago.
In the years since 1988 bacon’s reputation changed. Once decried as fatty meat, bacon hired a P.R. firm and is now everywhere! Burgers, pizza, fries, chicken, and sub sandwiches all come with bacon now, and “value-priced” isn’t why. In fact, its price has grown from $1.90 per pound to $5.19 a pound, but its mealtime growth rate continues apace.
Is there some good news when today is compared to 30 years ago? For sure, there is. The cost of televisions (except for the really high-end ones) goes down while TV tech only gets better. Entry-level computers are relatively cheap. You can do basic computing with your Kindle Fire. That said, will you continue to believe that “everything is so high?” Yes, you will. It is a rite of passage to think that way. Check your lawn.