Sunday, June 13, 2021

Prices are up. Is it inflation, socialism, getting even, or just plain greed?


Tampa Bay, Fl

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

If you have done any shopping lately, you are probably very much aware that prices are going up. In the news, there is a lot of talk about inflation.

We had not heard much about inflation during the Trump administration but now that newly minted President Joe Biden has gone on a cash giveaway spending spree inflation is often leading your local newscast.

Here is a definition of Inflation:  A general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.

As more money is pumped into the economy, more money is available to purchase goods and services, so prices have a tendency to increase.

The problem with that is: the more people talk about inflation on the news in all the media and especially on social media, the more people out there began to believe it.

Most people think inflation results when suppliers of basic goods begin to increase prices. 

Inflation can be a two-way street. If the suppliers of basic commodities see retailers such as restaurants, bars, grocery chains, and car dealers raising prices, they will have a tendency to follow. All of this becomes a runaway train.

Businesses start raising prices. Suppliers start raising prices. Producers start raising prices.

The real question is are these price increases due to the cost of commodities going up or are they just someone's opportunity to charge a little more and get some of what they lost during the pandemic back?

The point of all this is: you need to be cautious as you enter back into the marketplace for services and products. Situations like this corona virus and the growing inflation talk provide excellent opportunities for the people and businesses we purchase products and services from to take advantage of us.

Is the former $6 hamburger now really worth $12.00? And has the purveyor of that hamburger actually seen that much of a cost increase?

There's also a lot of talk about, I had to pay my people more money. Did they really? Are they really? Or is this just another excuse to raise the price, pad the profits and smile all the way to the bank.

So here’s the deal, If you go to your preferred restaurant and your lobster bisque, chicken wings, fries or your favorite meal has jumped in price two or three dollars you might want to consider dining elsewhere. There will be a real tendency, especially in small businesses to try to make up lost revenue as quickly as possible.

Do not bother to object. You will be met with indignation and a long-winded excuse about how bad things have been.

I will be happy to patronize my favorite restaurants, bars and other establishments, as long as they treat me fairly. I understand the issue of lost revenue, but I do not see it as my individual responsibility to help them make it up in the short term.        

There’s a lot of this, “We are all in this together” stuff going around. We’re not exactly all in it together if some of us are busily trying to take advantage of the rest of us.

So, beware of the up sell.

One of the best ways we can deal with this problem is just don’t buy the $12 or $14 hamburger, the $16 cocktail or the $8 designer beer.

It might be a dollar here and a dollar there on your favorite menu. It might be those increased charges at your local grocery store. 

If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, you probably are being taken advantage of.

You can either pass or report it to the Attorney General’s office.

If you think, you have been a victim of price gouging, you can call the state's Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or file a complaint online here:  Price Gouging Complaint Form.

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