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>   (email exchange)
>   On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 1:25 AM, Roger wrote:
>   birds eye view: my son’s 1st weekend back at Google hq in Mountain
>   View after a visit home (he only buys food for weekends)
>   can only get worse this year;
>   the “costs” of financial policy, health burdens & healthcare all run
>   together yet few recognize one of Shewhart’s maxims about the statistics
>   of ANY complex system: “Tune the system, not the components!”
>   we’ve apparently gone from LBJ’s “War on Poverty” to a war on poor people;

I went to the store to buy two meals worth of food for myself. I don’t habitually look at prices when I buy food, I figure that’s the one place where I ought not to cut corners so I focus on the ingredients instead. I get to the counter, and the bill is $31.34 to my great surprise.

Broken down:

parmesan cheese 4.99
tortellini 4.69
tomato sauce 4.69
ravioli 5.49
salami 7.49
blackberries 3.99

That’s going to be supplemented with milk, juice and tea I already have at home, adding slightly to the cost.

Maybe I’m buying fancy stuff, but it doesn’t feel like it. In contrast, I can get a comparably complete meal with way more food than I need at a restaurant for less than $10 even now. Something is really out of whack with the cost of food. The only way to eat more cheaply at home is to buy less nutritious stuff. I didn’t check the price of other produce, but I’ll bet even vegetables are pricey. In even greater contrast, the last meal I ate at work must have cost a ton. Sushi, italian sausage, green salad with 3 kinds of greens and 5 kinds of nuts, lima beans, soybean sprouts, pomegranate kernels, carrots and beets, etc, etc.

If economic conditions are forcing people to eat more cheaply, I predict they’ll eat more McDonalds and wonder bread, while the wealthy will live well. Not good.

Yes, that’s what an export economy looks like you have a job and produce, but you only earn enough to eat and buy gas to get to work as your output gets exported.

We aren’t there yet, but on the way.


7 Responses

  1. I think the email writer, as they say in the newspaper business, buried the lede…

    I can get a comparably complete meal with way more food than I need at a restaurant for less than $10 even now.

    Since food isn’t getting any cheaper, restaurants can only keep prices down by lower profits and/or lower labor costs. Since California law requires waiters be paid minimum wage, exclusive of tips (the federal wage law is that wait staff working for tips can be paid a sub-minimum wage), I’d hate to be in the restaurant business out there.

  2. This guy is probably shopping at “Whole Wallet”. I used to shop without looking at prices, too, when I was single and had no kids – now I shop at the local Market Basket (the local discount grocer in Eastern Mass.) and ruthlessly price compare. I haven’t really seen prices increase, but I have seen that it’s certainly busier at the MB…

  3. Agree with Jim Baird. As a Google employee, your son has apparently had the liberty of never looking at food prices and I also suspect he is shopping at “Whole Wallet” from the sound of the prices. This is more a reflection of your son’s inattention than climbing food prices.. no disrespect intended. “Whole Wallet” can afford huge staff w medical benies because of the prices they charge

  4. Our “Whole Wallet” has a counter which makes great fresh sandwiches for under $8 that my wife and I split (equivalent 2 meals!)

  5. Complaining about whole foods? In St Louis, our local supermarket chains have jacked up the prices so much in the last 6 months that, if the same item is carried by them and by whole foods, whole foods is 15% cheaper. No wonder Walmart is always crowded.

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