Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Random paranoia

Banana prices have gone up 18% at SFW, where they used to be 33 cents a pound. They have also gone up to 39 cents a pound at the korean market where they used to be 27. My natural thought is that the banana republics that used to have their currency pegged to ours are getting unpegged. But maybe it's due to bad weather, or the vagaries of the market economy.

Salmon prices are up from $4/pound to $5 and sometimes $6. The korean market sells whole salmon for $3/pound, though. They used to sell salmon heads for $1.50 a pound but they don't have them now -- however they have cod heads for $2.00. And they have whole tilapia for $2.50 too.

At SFW the cheapest cuts of beef are up to $5/pound, from $4, not counting heart at $3 and kidney at $2.50. The korean market has beef shank at $2.50 a pound and beef hind shank at $3. But flank is up to $6, skirt is up to $5.50, frozen tendon is $3.50, tripe is $2, tail is $3.50, and frozen neck bones are $1.35.

Chicken is up. I can get a whole chicken for 99 cents a pound at the korean market, but it's one of those strange-looking ones. They have small frozen turkeys at 99 cents a pound, and frozen duck for $2 a pound.

Green beans are 95 cents a pound at the korean market and $1.65 at SFW. Tough-skin tomatoes are 95 cents at the korean market and $1.79 at SFW. Romaine lettuce is $1.75 a bunch both places.

Milk is $2.50 for 1%, $2.65 for 2%, and $3.05 for whole milk at SFW. That's by far the cheapest, milk costs $3.49 at CVS and $3.69 at Safeway.

Eggs are cheap, 89 cents an extra-large dozen at SFW and 99 cents at the korean market.

Beans are expensive at the korean market (and presumably higher quality), they're up at SFW, most kinds of dried beans were 69 2 weeks ago but 78 today, with some variation. An exception is dried split peas, which are 62 in the american aisle and 45 in the hispanic section.

Canned peaches have gone from 89 to 1.05 at SFW. The light syrup ones have sugar now instead of pear juice, but there are still canned pears in pear juice.

Cheese is up. Bread is up. Fresh produce is up. This is inflation. But you can get a lot more computer for the same price than you used to, which for some people makes up for it.

I've noticed myself buying extra food for emergencies. One day's worth of canned food for the car, in case we're driving and people get hungry. Another week's canned food plus vitamins to put in the car quick if we want to. It doesn't really make sense -- if you can get gasoline you surely can get food. I feel comforted to have it.

A couple months of dried food -- rice, beans, flour, pasta, oatmeal, vitamins, etc. More trouble to cook but cheaper and bulkier and so less valuable, less worth stealing. Ten gallons of water stored and stuff to purify creek water.

A couple weeks of backpacking food, mostly dried with a little freeze-dried for emergencies. It doesn't make sense -- how far could I get on foot with a 2-year-old? It's a comfort.

A candle stove in the car (and can opener, and spoons), and a zip stove with extra batteries ready to load.

All things I kept in california in case of earthquake. There isn't going to be a major earthquake in northern virgina. Somehow I feel a little better to be a little bit prepared. I'd feel better still if I knew what I was preparing for.

3 Comments:

Anonymous how to cook lobster said...

Hi J Thomas
I never realised that so many different types of blog would show up if I did a search on something like How to cook chicken. I'm still not sure how well Random paranoia fits into that category, but I've enjoyed visiting :0) Adios Amigo.

8:07 AM, November 05, 2005  
Anonymous salmon said...

Well, I've enjoyed my visit to Random paranoia, but I'm not sure it's what I was looking for. I was actually searching for articles on salmon - these search engines are weird! Just thought I'd say hello while I'm here :0)

10:46 AM, November 10, 2005  
Anonymous nick said...

This is rational fear, not paranoia. Inflation has been rampant for at least two years in commodities, housing prices, medicine, and college tuition, among other areas. The CPI mostly ignores these, focusing on consumer goods where prices have gone down due to cheap imports from China.

Inflation is the inevitable consequence of the massive deficits our governments, especially federal, have been running. The same thing occurred in the 1970s following LBJ's spending spree in the mid and late 1960s on welfare programs, Vietnam, and the moon shot.

Unless there's massive accounting fraud going on where they compute the CPI, we should see a substantial uptick in the CPI soon. People who bought bonds or loaned out money at low interest rates will be burned, so interest rates will also spike.

In any case, the CPI is useless because it is a lagging indicator. To predict inflation look at commodity prices. Gold and oil prices have nearly doubled in the last two years, for example.

12:15 PM, December 29, 2005  

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