29 July 2008

Ben Bernake Ruined My Dessert

Ben Bernanke ruined my dessert. He did. Imagine it: I'm innocently living my LA life, filled with parties, and dinners out, and Sundays on the beach, and I decide, "Well, it's been a tough Monday, I'm going to reward myself with a roasted chicken, some mac-and-cheese in a tub, and some Dreyers Premium Grand Rocky Road Ice Cream." It's my favorite. I've worked hard in my life, and I deserve it. Even my trainer would agree.

So I get me on over to my local grocer and buy my chicken, my tub of mac-and-cheese (Who knew Country Crock made mac-and-cheese? What executive planning committee came up with that over some lunch in New York?), and I mosey on over to the ice cream isle.

Now, those of you who know me know several things about me: I eat what I please, and I'm still skinny. Before you say, "You're so lucky" I want you to imagine being called skinny for 30 years. I want you to imagine being beat up in the school yard, being too lanky for sports, being forced therefore to play D&D with other skinny kids where we imagined we were warriors or Elven wizards who could--with a flick of their skinny wrists--pummell the bully warriors into fantasy pulp. I'm not saying I did any of these things, I just wanted you to imagine them.

Back to the frozen foods isle, where my story is getting cold.


I reach for my ice cream and LO! Something isn't right! For a moment, I'm confused. Yes, it still says Dreyers. Yes, it's Grand, and yes, it's Rocky Road. No problem there. The container has the same circumference; the print has changed a bit, but that's no cause for alarm--WAIT!! Something is missing!!! I heft the half-gallon container in my hand, and it feels light.

Now, you must understand that I can have a half-gallon of ice cream in my freezer for months--literally--and not eat it. I forget about it. It doesn't call to me. But I KNOW how much it weighs. I can feel it. And the damn thing is too light.


So I do what anyone else does, I checked the label for the weight. 1.5 Quarts!!!! A growing realization dawns on me: They've chopped off the bottom 2 inches of ice cream. "Well," says I, "At least I'm not paying for..."


WHAT?! The price has ALSO gone up $1?!

For those of you not mathematically inclined, this is what ran through my head, in an instant:

25% less ice cream, with a 20% increase in price works out as follows:
  • If a half gallon, or two quarts, cost 5 bucks, that amounts to about $2.50 per quart.


  • Now, 1.5 quarts costs $6, or $4 per quart


  • $4 is a 60% increase from $2.50!


Imagine me, standing there in my tailored suit, numbers blazing in front of my eyes, temper rising, and the over-priced ice cream melting ever so slightly with the rise in my body temperature. Approximately 60% increase in the price of a goddamned half-gallon, no!, quart-and-a-half of ice cream!



But wait, it turns out I have another half-gallon of ice cream in my freezer (don't be so surprised, I wasn't kidding about forgetting the stuff) and it isn't a half-gallon either! It's been 1.75 Quarts for who knows how long! That still makes the increase 40%!


Now, the fashionistas among you have surely noticed the ratcheting up of designer prices. Do you know that clothing is actually one of the few areas of our economy that has DISinflation?! That's right, folks, the government says that clothing prices have been declining for years. Please don't expect them to look at designer stores; they only look at t-shirts at WalMart and jeans at CostCo. This is, afterall, a consumer economy, and most consumers aren't shopping 3.1 Philip Lim.


Quelle Surprise. The geniuses at the Federal Rerserve decided a few years ago that they'd put on blinders and ignore any source of inflation built into their calculations. These are the same good-natured folks that brought us the housing debacle--"stimulating" average Americans to load up on debt they couldn't afford in the form of bloated housing prices. Are they included in inflation? Nope. "Owners equivalent rent" is, and it hasn't gone up that much. Right... Food and energy? Excluded. Clothing? Doesn't matter if YOUR prices are going up, production costs in China are down, so we'll say the cost of clothes is down, too.


So basically, the nut jobs ignore anything that doesn't fit, and arbitrarily assign an inflation number. You heard it from me, kids--rates are going up. Way up. They have to.


Housing market be damned--and it is--core inflation is rising and the Fed is sleeping, too afraid to do it's job. Instead, we get brilliant things like this:




Here are the phrases to beware: "baseline forecast" (which means they don't take any responsibility for it), "work itself out" (which means no new help from Uncle Fed), "inventory of unsold homes comes down" (which means prices have to decline steeply to get those homes moving), and "strengthen somewhat" (another phrase that abdicates responsibility). He knows he has to raise rates later this year, and that the housing market will get even more damaged in the process. He has to. Prices on everything--including ice cream--are going up.

I love this blog: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

So now, as I sit here typing, eating my bitter, bitter ice cream, I fear I may have bored you, dear Reader. Fear not! I'll blog about more fashion and style in the next entry. In the meantime, Diabolina has done a nice job for me, here.

And--assuming our dollar is worth anything tomorrow--here's something pretty I like:



And I bought a great pair of sneakers at DDC Lab in water-repellent grey suede with black soles. Delicious, and will look smashing with my new Kasil jeans (bought 30% below the store's cost!). See--I can get a deal, too.

Now, I better get off the computer and back to my ice cream. I can't afford to let it melt...

4 comments:

WeezerMonkey said...

I bet you were just as miserable as a skinny kid as I was as a fatty. I was 4'9" and 155 pounds at age 9. Horror!

Diabolina said...

I think you have the makings of the next Andy Rooney.

So many good turns of phrases. I marvel at your ability to weave all these topics together. You are good. Damn good.

Kate of All Trades said...

When I start to get down about the shrinking size of ice cream, I just hold it in my hand and pretend that I grew.

Rocky Road is my favorite too. Especially with a healthy dollop of peanut butter.

lookrichbitch said...

"I want you to imagine being beat up in the school yard, being too lanky for sports, being forced therefore to play D&D with other skinny kids where we imagined we were warriors or Elven wizards who could--with a flick of their skinny wrists--pummell the bully warriors into fantasy pulp. I'm not saying I did any of these things, I just wanted you to imagine them." OMG.. I was giggling like a silly school girl.

No wonder Diabolina loves you! You're wit is to die for!