Inflation has been a big story in the news recently, with its impact on the public being most directly felt and reported on in regard to grocery bills. I didn’t notice this as much just coming out of pandemic (I was more exercised by the fact that gym memberships doubled), but more recently it has been showing up on my radar.
The pizza place across the way, for example, always used to sell individual slices for 99 cents. The same now cost $1.67 (and they’re cut smaller). Quite a jump, percentage-wise! On average, grocery prices went up 10% last year, which was considered huge. That’s a number to keep in mind as we proceed.
Most of my grocery shopping is done at a No Frills store which usually has the lowest prices around. Indeed, they used to match any lower price advertised by a competitor, though they stopped doing that just before COVID. Today I think they’re still probably the best place to get groceries in town, but even so there have been some price hikes that have caught my attention.
A large bag of Doritos, for example, now regularly goes for $4.50. Before the pandemic it would be $3 tops and sometimes $2 or less when on sale. Now I realize there was a major conflict between Loblaws and the major chip suppliers a year or two back that was eventually settled, and that the store probably doesn’t have a lot of leeway to set these prices, but it still led me to dig in my heels. I haven’t bought Doritos in over a year, and I do like them.
A bag of water softener salt now goes for $7. Before the pandemic they would be $5 tops and usually $4. $2.50 when on sale. Ouch! That’s a big increase for something you have to buy. Literally money going down the drain.
A box of breakfast cereal used to go for something under $3 but now goes anywhere from $4 to $6 depending on the brand.
I often buy specialty ciabattas (sun-dried tomato, black olive, cheese and onion) either to eat with stew or make a sandwich out of. These used to go for $2.50 but now are priced at $3.50. So I only pick them up when they’re on the 50%-off “enjoy tonight!” shelf. Because I don’t believe in expiry dates.
One of the biggest jumps I’ve noticed is for cucumbers. $2.79 for a single cuke? These used to be $1.50, or 98 cents on sale. I like to slice up cucumbers to put them in a salad or make them part of a sandwich, but there’s no way I’m paying $2.79 for one of them. I don’t know what’s going on there. I know cucumbers aren’t in season, but neither are peppers and they don’t cost twice as much as they did a couple of years ago.
So yes, prices have increased — in some cases quite considerably — just in the last couple of years. And I think some of this inflation is more than the producers can attribute to higher costs. It is also the result of “greedflation,” which has been defined as taking advantage of high inflation to earn excessive profits at the expense of consumers.
In any event, one thing seems a safe bet: we’re not going back to 2020 prices again. It’s dieting time!