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What's Up With Inflation and All These Shortages?

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    #16
    Originally posted by james.hendrickson View Post
    So here are a couple of thoughts:

    First, its probably important to stay positive. My first reaction to all this was "wow, what a jacked up situation, what should I do...is money going to be worthless, can I get holiday gifts for my kids, etc.". That's not a helpful line of thinking. So probably staying positive would be a good first step.

    Second, probably it would be a good idea to start your holiday shopping now.

    Any other thoughts on a rational economic response?
    Whenever possible, consume less. Is it really so terrible if people skip gift-giving this year?

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      #17
      Fuel prices are expected to surge this winter. We are in good shape there. In this new place, we have a 1,000 gallon propane tank. We've only ever had a 500 before. The larger tank will get us through almost an entire year. We filled up in the summer, and shouldn't be due for a fuel delivery until next June, at least. Thus, we are now able to avoid any winter shortages or surge pricing.

      Something to think about if you are on a smaller tank...if you can go bigger, it can save you money.

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        #18
        I have nothing to add to this thread without getting political.

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          #19
          Originally posted by QuarterMillionMan View Post
          My solution let’s skip Christmas this year, baa-hum-bug. No Christmas trees, no presents or gifting. Supply issues will be difficult. Pay down your debts and buy only necessities. Does your kid really need that toy that is financing China’s economy? Ok rant over (lol).
          Ha, if only inflation affected Xmas items. Besides the lack of next generation consoles, electronics and toys are all on sale. The only money you'll be saving by cancelling Xmas is the overly inflated cost of that meal for that day.

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            #20
            The cost of everything. Groceries are getting so expensive. I used to be able to get chicken for $1.99/lb but it's really hard to get below $2.50/lb. I am not seeing the same deals even on veggies. Not to mention how expensive it is to eat out. Eating out has really become a luxury. And the prices are so shocking. So my friend texted me this weekend they went away and he was like "our family of 4 went out for ramen for $96! It did include tax and tip but was insane." I can't disagree my DH had the kid and 3 bowls of noodles and it was $55. The prices of everything just has been skyrocketing. I just really feel the pinch grocery shopping. Eating out we've really cut back but the groceries it's really pricey.
            LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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              #21
              Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post
              The cost of everything. Groceries are getting so expensive. I used to be able to get chicken for $1.99/lb but it's really hard to get below $2.50/lb. I am not seeing the same deals even on veggies. Not to mention how expensive it is to eat out. Eating out has really become a luxury. And the prices are so shocking. So my friend texted me this weekend they went away and he was like "our family of 4 went out for ramen for $96! It did include tax and tip but was insane." I can't disagree my DH had the kid and 3 bowls of noodles and it was $55. The prices of everything just has been skyrocketing. I just really feel the pinch grocery shopping. Eating out we've really cut back but the groceries it's really pricey.
              I wonder why food is so expensive. I wonder if it has anything to do with all the drought, storms, and messed up crops from the weird temperature swings this last year.

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                #22
                Well, this was a surprise. My husband went to a smallish grocery for apples, cabbage, broccoli, and bread. He came back empty handed because there were no apples, cabbages, or broccoli. And the available bread was cheap stuff that we don't care for. I think this is probably a matter of delivery and shelf stocking. It will all probably be there tomorrow, if not some time later today.
                "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

                "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by Joan.of.the.Arch View Post
                  Well, this was a surprise. My husband went to a smallish grocery for apples, cabbage, broccoli, and bread. He came back empty handed because there were no apples, cabbages, or broccoli. And the available bread was cheap stuff that we don't care for. I think this is probably a matter of delivery and shelf stocking. It will all probably be there tomorrow, if not some time later today.
                  This is the theme even for stuff like chicken breasts and thighs. Went to Target and not in stock.
                  LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by ua_guy View Post

                    I wonder why food is so expensive. I wonder if it has anything to do with all the drought, storms, and messed up crops from the weird temperature swings this last year.
                    It's a number of reasons. COVID, obviously, and all of the issues related to that including shut downs at farms and processing plants, shipping issues like shortage of truck drivers, etc. Issues related to climate change and natural disasters are a part of it. The whole distribution system was upended by the pandemic as restaurants closed or severely cut back and home cooking skyrocketed in popularity. Factories that were set up for commercial packaging and distribution had to retool to do consumer packaging and distribution which is an entirely different process with different logistics. There have also been sharp increases in prices for non-food materials like cans and bottles and paper used to make the various containers and cartons.

                    When there was that whole fiasco with toilet paper "shortages" it wasn't because the world was suddenly using more toilet paper. It was just a big change to where that toilet paper was being used. It was no longer in big industrial rolls for public restrooms in office buildings and malls and schools and sports arenas. Instead it was a sharp spike in home usage. It took the factories time to shift over production and put in place the supply chain to get product to retail stores instead of commercial suppliers.

                    Not food related, but my wife saw a story today about toy manufacturers having to raise prices because of how much the costs of packaging materials have gone up. They can still make the toys themselves for about the same cost but to actually pack them and get them to market is costing a lot more so up go the prices.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post

                      This is the theme even for stuff like chicken breasts and thighs. Went to Target and not in stock.
                      Target sucks for groceries. Walmart is gross for the most part buy super Walmarts destroy target in the grocery section.

                      Also, I said it before and I'll say it again. Never let a tragedy go to waste. This is a prime opportunity for manufacturers to stick it to the people. Shortages??? Again, I call BS on most of it. Propaganda at its finest. We all love being spoon fed it. Our thirst for it will never be quenched.
                      Last edited by rennigade; 10-19-2021, 03:23 PM.

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                        #26
                        It is a valid point that some of this could be opportunism. Since 2008 & the following recession, many retailers & service providers withheld on noteworthy price increases. Now that they can blame the price increases on shipping problems & supply shortages, it's easy to catch up from over a decade of compressed profit margins & jump prices up by 25% or more to "catch up."

                        All of this is driven by & in turn cyclically driving the many inflationary forces at work. Pumping the economy with trillions in stimulus & emergency support measures certainly played a part. Likewise, all of the systematic weaknesses & forced or sequential shutdowns impacted the supply-side of the picture. New consumption patterns from consumers (as Steve mentioned) have strained both the supply & demand sides of the equation.

                        As immortalized in the 90s... "It's the economy, stupid"
                        "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by rennigade View Post
                          Also, I said it before and I'll say it again. Never let a tragedy go to waste. This is a prime opportunity for manufacturers to stick it to the people. Shortages??? Again, I call BS on most of it. Propaganda at its finest. We all love being spoon fed it. Our thirst for it will never be quenched.
                          That's ridiculous, to put it politely. The shortages are various, and also global. Not just the US. What you are proposing is borderline conspiracy. Who is creating the propaganda? Who is spoon feeding? Who is thirsty for it? Is it they and them? You don't understand that humans just aren't capable of accomplishing things so neatly on a global scale, certainly not an orchestrated and coordinated attempt on behalf of so many industries and supply chains to raise prices just for the sake of raising prices.

                          While there is some opportunism here and there, like kork points out, it also has very little to do with stimulus or "catching up" on pricing. Corporate profits have soared admirably even before this-- has absolutely nothing to do with compressed profit margins. Again... who? What company? Because there are one or two, does that mean it's a global phenomenon? No, it doesn't.

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by ua_guy View Post

                            That's ridiculous, to put it politely. The shortages are various, and also global. Not just the US.
                            Don't go trying to use facts and logic and truth to combat conspiracy theories. That never works.
                            Steve

                            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
                              While there is some opportunism here and there, like kork points out, it also has very little to do with stimulus or "catching up" on pricing. Corporate profits have soared admirably even before this-- has absolutely nothing to do with compressed profit margins. Again... who? What company? Because there are one or two, does that mean it's a global phenomenon? No, it doesn't.
                              What company? For starters, I'd point to the 8-10 massive food conglomerates (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Unilever, Nestle, Kraft-Heinz, Kellogg, General Mills, etc.) that control nearly every large food/drink/consumer staple brand in the world. Sure, they've still produced large absolute profits ($B), but that's beside the point -- their product development, growth, and profit margins have been lower than historical averages for a long time. This sector's average profit margin traditionally sits around 22-25%, but has languished around 14-18% since 2007-2008. It's also categorically one of the lowest-performing sectors in the market. It doesn't surprise me at all that they'd take an opportunity bump prices disproportionate to their imputed cost increases. I'm only saying that this sort of opportunism is one of many reasons that prices for many goods/services have suddenly jumped by 25%-50% in the last year.

                              As you said, not every aspect of our economy is facing shortages & interruptions... But nearly every aspect of consumer life is facing dramatic price increases. That fact begs the question of what else is happening. As with everything else in our interconnected world, there's not ever one single answer -- rather, it's going to be alot of different factors combining to drive the visible result that is apparent.
                              "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                                #30
                                https://abc7.com/port-backlog-of-los...hips/11142891/

                                Shipping bottlenecks like this are part of the problem. 40% of the nation's shipping containers enter through those two ports. This backlog results in shortages on the shelves and higher prices due to supply-demand imbalance.
                                Steve

                                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                                Comment

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