ouray

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It's me doing a little posing while taking a break at the Ouray, Colorado Jeep Jamboree in 1995.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prices Are Marching Ever Skyward!

If paying $3 more for a 30-ounce container of coffee last week than I did a year ago wasn't enough of a wake-up call for me regarding the growing inflation, I just got another in-your-face reminder.

I have a client with a unique setup in terms of how its editing functions operate. Publications I have been with previously either had a stand-alone fact-checking arm or fact checking fell to the copy desk in smaller publications. This client, however, has a copy desk that is constantly kicking the vetting of my pieces back to me through my editor. I get e-mails, for example, that ask me to recheck the prices of cars I've featured in a story or other figures I've used.

I recognize that I'm not infallible, so I actually do the work. I'm not sure everyone does. In any event I just completed this exercise for a piece I did on the cheapest family sedans to own and operate. Based on Edmunds True Cost to Own (TCO) calculator, this story presents the five family sedans with the lowest ownership cost over the next five years. I submitted the story to my client six weeks ago; it was kicked back to me this morning to verify my TCO numbers.

In six weeks the TCO of every car on the list but one was up by $200 to $300. In six weeks!

I grocery shop in dibs and drabs. I usually go to the store to buy something I'm out of. I probably go four or five times a week. Because I buy things one at a time, I notice prices escalating and they have been doing so for the past year. Doesn't matter what it is: a quart of milk, a bag of Cheetos, a pound of coffee. Prices are heading upward at an alarming rate.

I don't know if we are ever going to reach the point when we have to take a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread or the price of an item goes up between taking if off the shelf and paying for it, but the trend is frightening nonetheless. I lived through the Carter years when inflation and interest rates skyrocketed; that was scary enough.

I'm not keen to do it again.

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