Economy 1.0

Thursday, October 28, 2022

Some people have mind-blowing wealth. The new British Prime Minister and his wife reportedly are worth about 800M. I think in dollars but maybe that number represents pounds; it hardly matters. The national news keeps us apprised of “wins” by our planet’s richest people. American newspapers tout Elon Musk as the world’s richest man. His activities often seem impulsive, but great money power enables great dreaming power.

I try not to overthink about the overly powerful too-rich. Especially these days, as everyone tries hard to get along with what they/we have.

My personal view comes from clerking in a price-cutting supermarket. I ask shoppers if their buying habits are changing in today’s tough economy. To a person, they say yes, and explain that they’re purchasing fewer impulse items, reading labels, looking for discounts, and at home preparing more from scratch.

In my six months working in that store, average purchase amounts have changed. Early on, shopper tallies averaged $200; lately, they average close to $100. There are exceptions: people on food stamps (there seem too many, receiving too much), those buying for their food cart, coffee shop, and restaurant businesses; and those from living areas far away stocking supplies for several weeks.

In front of my nose, prices rise. A large can of pumpkin, which used to cost $1 now costs $4. Lettuce and cabbage that used to be cheap aren’t anymore. Yesterday, egg prices began edging up.

Every day offers lessons about the economy and human behavior. For example, our store allows a 6-cent discount for each bag returning for reuse. Months ago, everybody complained about forgetting to bring their bags and willingly paid 5 cents for each new bag. These days, most are remembering to bring their own bags for discounts.

I could go on, but you get it.

I’ve begun shopping differently, too. I’m focusing more on needs over wants and striving for low purchase totals.

For we who aren’t among the richest people, perhaps our worries are less about “not having” than about trying to keep what we already do have.

Dear Friends: Survival lessons in today’s unpredictable world economy. Diana

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