In search of story

September 27.22: Coping, but barely



Have you ever, dear reader, read your Homeowner’s Policy? I have read mine. Every single obfuscating, fog-bound, stupefying word.

I am reminded of this at the grocery store in aisles blocked by shoppers engrossed in the study of labels. The looks on their faces as they read are, I’m sure, exactly like the look on my face as I read my Homeowner’s Policy. It is not the look of enlightenment.

Dan Antion, of No Facilities fame, recently wrote a post touching on the maddening truth that we are paying more for less. Dan has a very sophisticated workshop with tools I’ve never heard of, and that’s how he knows (mathematically!) that his materials are less sturdy. But they cost more.

My workshop is the kitchen, and there is nothing sophisticated about my tools, but I can tell you it’s ditto here. My newly purchased “buttery spread” refuses to melt on toast, and when it melts in a hot pan it becomes a remarkable lot of water. So I took an older product — same brand, packaging and weight — out of my freezer; it is on the left, above. Labels like homeowners’ policies! A plague on them all!

I know the term “shrinkflation” and I don’t like its cuteness. Cheating by any other name is still cheating.



19 thoughts on “September 27.22: Coping, but barely

  1. Truer words were never spoken. The prices are ridiculous, and the quality is ridiculous. Now, we have a butter shortage. So, we can fight our neighbors for the last package of butter, pay more, and get an inferior product. Is this a good world or what? 🙂 You hit a hot topic, Maureen, because we’ve all open that box of cereal to find the box is twice as big as the bag inside or that bag of chips that is only half full. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop and say ‘ditto’ from this person here.

    • Maybe there is solace in a feeling of common experience. You and Dan and I are probably not having isolated experiences. I have no idea what to do about it! It is one thing to have to deal with the rising costs of everything, but it is another thing entirely to deal with the obvious thievery going on. The image of neighbors fighting over the last pound of butter would have been comical at one time. Now not so much. Can’t you just see some loon in antlers fending off fellow shoppers with a clothes pole in the dairy section? (Sheesh, who even remembers what a clothes pole is?)

      • Oh my goodness, but I just had myself a wonderful laugh out loud moment at the antlers and the clothes pole. We are society of sheep so I fully expect the butter section to be low when I head to the grocery store today. I will also look out for any antlers and poles. 🙂

  2. Yes, we cannot be too careful!

  3. Maureen, you hit the nail square on the head. Unfortunately, that nail and hammer cost you more, and the nails are thinner and shorter so they’re not going to hold!

    The “cost of living “ is out of hand. Those of us on fixed incomes are really challenged. But so are large families with lots of mouths to feed and bodies to clothe and feet that need shoes.

    There was a time when doing your own cooking and baking, sewing clothes for yourself and family would save you a lot of money. That’s not true anymore. Plus we live in a world where in most homes both parents work. That doesn’t leave a lot of time or energy for home cooked meals and desserts and handmade clothes.

    Another sad factor here is the number of pets that will be dropped off at animal shelters or left out in the street to fend for themselves because their owners can’t afford them anymore. 😢

    Like you, what really makes my blood boil is the way we’re being taken advantage of. 😡 My dad always counseled, “Be part of the solution, not part of the problem “. How I wish he were here now to help me find out how to do that!

    Good post Maureen. This is a sore subject with many, I’m sure.

    • I had a bit of trouble posting this because it was basically just a vent for me, but I did it anyway. What your dad said is what bothers me: how do we become part of the solution? In my lifetime, I think I have never felt so much that anything I do — or don’t do — is futile. Of course I fight that feeling, but there it is. You have described much of the pain for folks now, and you are so right that it used to be economical to do a lot ourselves: cooking, sewing, etc. As you point out, though, the nails don’t hold. So what’s to be gained by doing it ourselves, whatever “it” is? I agree that your dad should be here to give us some help!

  4. Thanks for the mention, Maureen. I never heard the term “shrinkflation” but I agree, it’s a cutesy way of masking theft. 64% to 39% is huge!

    I installed a new garbage disposer yesterday. The old one mounted to a steel mounting flange and was held in place with a steel ring. The new one mounts to a fiberglass flange and is held in place with a shaped-rubber ring. They branded this “Cushion Support” – like it’s a good thing.

    That tells me they know, I’ll notice the change. The number of ways manufacturers are taking more of our money are too many to count. And yet they want our sympathy because they have to pay their employees more.

    • Exactly so: they put another name on it and expect us to think it’s an improvement! “Cushion Support” indeed. It’s not a bunion, it’s a garbage disposer! Alas, homeowners like me wouldn’t know the difference any more than we would have a micrometer at the ready. But it’s comforting to think that they suspect that you know — you might make them nervous, and that would be great.

  5. I fear our local newspaper suffers this fate. Less newspaper for higher prices

    • That’s one of the saddest signs of our times, I think. The newspaper used to be such an important part of life — and had so many uses. Now, yes, definitely one of those less-for-more things.

  6. I suppose this is happening everywhere. I think most of us just buy what we want and don’t really think about it. Thank you, I will check next time I shop.

    • It may well be the case everywhere. It isn’t possible, I think, for shoppers to remember what labels stated months ago in order to compare ingredients now and then. Not exactly a consumer-friendly system.

  7. Gosh, that is a big difference! It should be announced, at the very least with a new formula flash. Our country is in utter disarray. I’m horribly used to thinking that, and then it gets worse!

    • Yes, I’ve been seeing what seems like chaos there which seems to reflect the chaos here. I no longer say “what next?” when something happens because whatever it is will be, as you say, worse. And, yes, there should be a new formula flash, something in the shape of a pirate, perhaps.

  8. It would capture something of the spirit of the marketing, wouldn’t it?

  9. ” “buttery spread” refuses to melt on toast, and when it melts in a hot pan it becomes a remarkable lot of water”… I find this horrific.
    I Love bread and I Love toast. Although I rarely eat either one these days, when I do treat myself it will be with 100% butter. The best I can afford. Each bite is a divine pleasure, better than any desert and I think less harmful than the spreadable product.

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