Stuff that’s gotten more expensive

May 31, 2021 • 9:15 am

There’s not much news to post about during this Memorial Day weekend, so here’s a small kvetch about consumer prices.

We all know that gas has gotten more expensive, and in Chicago, City of the Big Gas Prices, petrol is inching up towards $4 per gallon (yes, I know that sounds cheap to Europeans). Gas prices in May were up 22% from a year ago. (I remember fondly when gas was 19¢ per gallon; but of course I couldn’t drive then.)

Here are a few other things that I notice have risen substantially in price during the pandemic:

a.) Meat (this is reported on the news as due to a shortage of meat-plant workers and truck drivers). I don’t eat much meat these days, but I do like my weekly or once-every-ten-days steak. (Duke Ellington had steaks every day, and often tucked a steak sandwich in his pocket.) The small T-bone I bought yesterday was normally $16/pound for choice grade, but it was on sale for $6.99.

b.) Grocery prices in general. As CBS News reports:

Demand for groceries rose 11% because people hunkered down at home, putting pressure on suppliers, which drove up food prices.

“This’ll start changing as people shop less at grocery stores and as they go out more to restaurants,” said Feler, who doesn’t think it’s the start of an inflationary period. “This is very different than 1970s. Consumers have a lot more power these days.”

But consumers can still expect basics like toilet paper, diapers and toothpaste to cost more. Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Coca-Cola announced that they are increasing prices because they’re paying more for raw materials in short supply.

As I’ve said before, toothpaste is one of the great ripoffs for the American consumer. If you can get Pepsodent for $1 per tube, which you can, then equivalent toothpastes, which can cost three or four times as much, are true ripoffs. Now, of course, I use a special and expensive prescription extra-fluoride toothpaste for my aging choppers, so the days of Pepsodent are gone.

Bob Vila gives a list of ten grocery items with the biggest price increases during the pandemic, with some suggested alternatives. Among the overprices goods are canned tuna, dairy products, cereal, and fruit & veg. Can you believe that I paid 88¢ for a single green pepper yesterday? I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t have a hankering for tortilla, refried beans, and sauteed green pepper.

c.) Haircuts. Before the pandemic I would pay $22 for a haircut and $20 if I got it on Tuesday (“cheap day”). When I got one yesterday, it was $30. That is at least a 36% increase in price. (The tip was correspondingly increased as well.) I’m not sure why the price increase, unless it’s to make up for money lost during the pandemic when barber shops were closed. Is this true for other readers who visit the tonsorial parlor? (Yes, I know that women have to pay more for haircuts, which I regard as a reprehensible act of shaking down that sex.)

But at least I look reasonably unshaggy:

d.) Stamps. The U.S. Postal Service is about to increase the price of a first-class stamp from 55 cents to 58 cents, an increase of 5.5%. Stamp prices keep going up faster than the cost of living, despite the increasingly poor quality of USPS delivery. Were I smart, I’d buy a few hundred dollars of “forever stamps”, which have no printed value and are good for first-class letters forever.  But something seems wrong about spending so much money on stamps at one time. The Post Office seems to be run by a bunch of chowderheads and I’ve noticed that for some reason Post Office employees seem to be mean.

What have you found that is overpriced these days? I can understand some explanations as reasonable, for example the rise in meat prices, but other stuff, like my haircut, seems like simple price-gouging, with the pandemic being a reason to raise prices in the hopes that people will ascribe it to the virus.

91 thoughts on “Stuff that’s gotten more expensive

  1. New numbers from the National Association of Home Builders shows that since mid-April of 2020, lumber prices have risen by 130%, and those increased costs have increased the cost of single-family homes more than $16,000 on average. It’s even worse in areas like Boise, Idaho, where new houses grow like mushrooms and demand is high.

    1. There is a dire housing bubble across all of Canada right now pushing people out of home ownership (and into the street most likely because rental prices are high too) so even little towns seems mall 900 foot homes go for upwards for $500,000, The government doesn’t seem to want to take counter measures so this is going to get messy.

        1. Oh tons was built here. Condos like crazy in Toronto but the bubble has been allowed to grow – people buying and flipping. There are a lot of crazy factors.

      1. I have never seen anything quite that crazy in the U.S. You are saying 900 sq. ft. home? That is really small. $500,000 – that’s around $555.00 per square foot. $150.00 per Sq Ft is considered high end here.

        1. My apartment in Bristol was more expensive than that in a per square foot cost and it’s not particularly expensive for what it is and where it is by UK standards.

          1. More expensive than what? The cost I put down – $150 per or what her cost per sq. ft. would be $555.00

              1. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone can buy a house at that price except the rich. If I bought a half million house here in Wichita, Kansas it would be around 3600 – 3800 square feet of house. Probably 4 bedroom/ 3 bath minimum.

              2. Houses are crazily expensive in the UK too. I live in one of the more attractive cities in the UK and my flat is located in a particularly nice spot. I’m located right next to the SS Great Britain and a 5 minute ferry ride to the Bag of Nails. Prices vary throughout the UK quite considerably, but where I live, a footr bedroom house, if you can find one, would cost considerably more than $500k, or £500k for that matter.

                I imagine the same applies to some parts of the USA. Do you think prices in San Francisco or New York City are similar to those in Wichita?

              3. I tried sending you a reply but it did not seem to work. Will try once more. I do not know anything about New York, I am sure NYC area is much higher than the rest of the state. In California, the LA and bay areas are very expensive but even there I don’t think $500 a square foot is required. Wichita is certainly much less than those areas but so are many other areas in the Midwest or South. I could say that many states through out the middle of the country are in that range I gave for Wichita.

              4. Replying to Randall: A few years ago (I’m sure it’s even worse now), a friend’s family home (where they grew up) sold in Bellevue, WA (suburb of Seattle) for >$800/ftXft.

                My old place in Renton, WA, sold a few years ago at $540/ftXft. 1957 year built. Small rambler. (I paid about $120 many years ago and thought I got a great deal.)

                Out home in suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul is worth $192/ftXft. (per Zillo, the county valuation is somewhat behind this; but based on info from a family friend who is a realtor, I think Zillo is close to the mark.) Our neighborhood is nice, good schools, etc.; but really not that special.

                Housing has gotten very expensive.

                We are about to retire and I am very grateful we already own our retirement place. (This is not an accident, of course.)

          2. The 1-BR next door to mine in San Francisco, 600 sq. ft., sold a few weeks ago for $880k. Not posh, neighborhood middling. And supposedly condo prices have been soft here.

        2. Hmmm. Lessee, 30sq.m home is 320 sq.ft. That’s about £140/sq.ft, which is what in dollars? 120? 100? (No idea what the exchange rate is this decade.)

            1. Oh, sorry, yes, going the wrong way. So, housing costs here would be considered relatively high by comparison to American ones?
              Gods, I hated doing expenses in 5 currencies.

    2. Yeah, I came here (late to the party) to write ‘lumber’. And it was the first item mentioned.

      1. The inflation happened well before lumbar. It’s been getting worse and worse and the pandemic has worsened things. A colleague of mine bought a 1800s cottage in a small town for $500,000. It’s about 900 sq feet or so.

  2. The big banks in Canada all increased bank fees or minimum money to keep in an account before getting these bank fees. They were outrageous especially since banks have made huge profits during the pandemic while many others are suffering financially so bank fee increases will hurt. There is a lot of criticism about it. Thankfully, I don’t bank with these institutions and left one of them (where I had had an account for some 45 years as I opened it when I was a child) when they jacked up how much money had to remain in a chequing account before bank fees for every single thing were charged.

  3. My haircuts are costing the same as before the pandemic. But I’m tipping more out of gratitude for not having to cut it myself.

      1. A year ago, I sent $100 to my hair stylist, as her business had just stopped. I told her it was a pre-payment. Later, she told me that I was one of only 2 of her regulars that did so, which surprised me–she’s single mom with a kid, and was having to find house-cleaning jobs to make up for her loss of skilled income. Last year really sucked.

    1. Mine too. I haven’t had a haircut since … 2014, IIRC.
      Now where the hell did I put that “cut your hair like this” photo the wife had printed?

  4. We used to joke about rising prices using beef tongue as our standard — “Have you seen the price of tongue lately?” until it pretty much disappeared during the pandemic. This may be one cause: “Japan’s Newest Food Trend: American Cow Tongue.”

    1. Ditto, though only about a decade in my case. I never liked getting my hair cut – I look back on my “freak flag” years fondly.

    2. My last haircut was just before 1970 with one exception: I let my son’s girlfriend make a mess of it once and only once. So I already almost won this contest— >52 years. Way back then, long hair seemed to be a sort of sign of anti-Vietnam war attitude, though short hair wasn’t the opposite analogue. It still seemed awful long around 1983 when a university pic still used was taken. That included also a beard from 1971 to about 1991. Then I noticed the little jowls, but too late, it’s cut.

    3. Oh, and gas prices. It was about 25 cents a gallon when I started driving (late ’50s) and I still remember the shock when we first encountered 40 cent gas (near the Grand Canyon, as I recall, so we attributed the high price in part to ripping off the tourists).

      1. Remember gas wars, when two gas stations across from each other would try to undercut the other guy. I recall getting gas for as little as $.18 a gallon in the late 1960s.

  5. It sounds like house prices in the US are crazy at the moment – my sister put her house on the market in Oregon in the past couple of weeks. On the very first morning she got an offer about $35k above the asking price, and things have gone steadily upwards from there.

  6. I would also include housing prices as they are going up a bunch everywhere. The price of everything that goes into building one as well. If you live in one have you notice the price of everything – an electrician, a plumber, air condition/heating man. And as those housing prices go up, so do those property taxes. Auto prices also going way up and becoming scarce due to shortage of computer chips. I pay three times as much in property taxes now as rent I paid on an apartment 45 years ago. I paid about $150 for my first used car in 1966 and I pay $30,000 on a car now without even thinking about it.

  7. I have cut John’s hair for all of the 41 years we’ve been together. Two years ago I bought a hair clipper and set of combs, and learned to cut my own. It paid for itself in two haircuts, so now I’m ahead.

    I don’t buy milk, for obvious reasons. (I hate the taste of store milk anyway.) The restaurant is having to pay more for meat, dairy, and produce, and also stuff like paper products and takeout utensils and packaging.

    My biggest beef is with the price of disposable protective gloves, which we use in both the dairy and the restaurant. Before the pandemic, they were $8.00 for a box of a hundred gloves. They are now around $28.00 per box, and I’ve seen some priced at $38.00 a box! Talk about price gouging.

    Slightly off topic: It really irks me when I hear Republicans object to raising the minimum wage by saying that if we raise the minimum wage, businesses will have to raise prices and they will lose customers. You never hear them making the same objection when other prices go up, only when it involves actual people. I’m sure that the companies that manufacture those gloves are not passing any of their increased profits on to the little people who actually make them. Upper management is benefitting, so it must be OK, even if businesses have to pass the costs on to their customers by raising prices.

    BTW, the Federal minimum wage for tipped workers is still $2.13 per hour.

    L

    1. I am old enough to remember hair cuts for 50 cents. Now I pay $20 plus a tip. What is that, about 4000 percent increase.

    2. But the cost of living, with all these raises in prices will negate any uplifting life style in the new minimum wage advances.

      1. My blue collar income has increased 71% since our the beginning of March. I think I can take the hit lol

          1. Drive people, for myself and for Uber. From the end of November, to the beginning of March, my income was down to $650 per week. Since the beginning of March, there is a huge shortage of Uber drivers. My business is all but kaput, but Uber is booming. Since M<arch, I have been averaging $1200 per week. This is about thirty five hours of driving. Uber prices are up. Some passengers complain, most understand

              1. Dat’s da plan. If this keeps up for several more months, I will be completely outta debt, with the exception of my vehicle and mortgage. Then I can start my new business. If that works out, great. If not, its back to driving

  8. Fluoride :

    My teeth would occasionally hurt while brushing after eating fruit. I recently started deliberately using fluoride mouth rinse at 0.02% fluoride ion (0.05% NaF). It seems to have made the pain reaction during brushing go away.

    I have to see how the peaches do with the season approaching – those can be killers.

    1. Yeah, the local arthouse boosted its prices by a couple bucks a ticket. Plus I had to renew my annual membership even though I’d renewed just two months before the pandemic shutdown, and was unable to use it for the rest of the year.

      But it’s a civic-minded nonprofit that performs a valuable community service, so I’m biting the bullet with a minimal amount of grousing. 🙂

  9. Lumber in the US. Up 3X to 4X what it was last summer. I about fell over when I bought 200 ftXft of cedar siding to repair our house a month ago. $700.

    This is primarily due to COVID/border issue and supply chain problems. This should clear up in the next year. Demand is up too, so prices will remain relatively high.

    Houses: Way up in price. Supply and demand issue. And low interest rates. We didn’t build during the great recession and now we are seeing the results.

  10. Now that lockdown is being eased I went out for a steak dinner. The chef came over and asked how I’d found my steak. I said that I just looked at my plate and there it was, next to the potatoes!

    Don’t blame me, PCC(e) asked for jokes in an earlier post today. He didn’t say they had to be good. 😁

  11. It’s fresh produce that is most noticeable for me. Lettuce is usually around a buck for a head of leaf or Romaine at this time of year, and it’s still $2.50 right now. Peppers, too, as PCC noted, are ridiculous right now.

  12. I went to the PO a couple days ago to buy two books of stamps. I asked the clerk for “forever stamps” and she said that’s the only kind they sell anymore.

    The barbershop where I go, haircuts were 25 bucks before the pandemic and $25 after — which is cheap in this town. But it’s a small, old-fashioned place, hidden away down an alley. It’s the spittin’ image of the barbershop my dad used to take me to as a kid. Got the same rotating pole with colored stripes outside, the same hairy-armed, tattooed guys cutting hair inside. Except these guys are Cuban instead of Italian, and on the radio they listen to rap and heavy metal instead of Vic Damone and Perry Como.

  13. I build my own PCs. Computer component prices started to rise during the pandemic as more people worked and met online and the flow of computer hardware from China and other Asian countries slowed. High end graphics card prices are outrageous. An Nvidia RTX 3080 gaming card lists at just under $700. None of the major dealers have them in stock and if you can find one on eBay or elsewhere, you will pay over $2,000 for it. I have seen listings as high as $3,000. These prices are mainly due to bitcoin miners snapping up graphics cards by the case as soon as they become available. These folks will pay whatever it costs to keep their bitcoin farms operating at maximum. Even used graphics cards that are two or more years old now sell for double or even triple what they cost new.

    1. Yeah, the GPU shortage is crazy. When I heard last year that the 3000 RTX series was due to come on the market, I told a pal that I would sell him my 1070 (fine for Minecraft!) when I bought a new 3070. We’re both still waiting, with no real hope of getting new cards anytime soon. Maybe next year?

      1. It was so bad, that I was considering having one of the custom PC companies build me an entirely new system so I could get an RTX 3080 at something near list price. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. The builders are now charging scalpers’ rates for the high end GPUs. I recently managed to find a Radeon RX 6700 XT for a not too scary price (I needed the upgrade to run DaVinci Resolve and render video at a reasonable speed). Custom PC builders are now asking $400 above what I paid for the same card. I hear prices won’t come down for at least another year.

        1. I don’t know anything about computers but there is a parking lot at MSU that has hundreds if not thousands of GM cars, new, sitting there because they can’t get the sim cards.

    2. The GPU shortage has nothing to do Bitcoin anymore. The computing power necessary to mine Bitcoin has long since exceeded what GPUs can provide. Bitcoin miners use rigs made of custom ASICs. The GPU shortage is because of other cryptocurrency. You can still mine Etherium with GPU based rigs, for example.

      Besides the GPU shortage caused by cryptocurrency mining, there’s also a general chip shortage that does seem to be caused by the pandemic. Last year practically all the fabs in China shut down for a period, and we’re still feeling the effects.

      1. I do not understand money or cryptocurrency.

        Is the idea that one computer guesses another computer’s random number generator output, and that number therefore becomes worth something?

        1. That’s not far off the truth. The energy cost of guessing the random numbers for Bitcoin is roughly the same as all the electricity in Argentina. Cryptocurrency has become a disaster of epic proportions.

          – It is an environmental catastrophe

          – it’s caused a shortage of high end graphics cards

          – It’s the only reason computer ransomware is practical

          – Lots of people are going to lose their shirts gambling on it.

          1. Thank you for this Jeremy.
            I agree with the bad outcomes, especially the last-listed.

            Seems like a ponzi scheme, pure and simple to me. But maybe I’m missing something.

            I recently had an online “conversation” with my honorary niece (daughter of a good friend), in her early 30s. Not sure which generation that makes her. Anyway, she was asking for investing advice (this was at the height (I think) of the GameStop thing).

            I told her that buying the market (mutual funds, broadly diversified), even at a low level, over your lifetime works well. (It has worked out well for us. We have more funds that I ever thought we would.) She said, basically, Nah! Boring!

            I did not pursue it further (she isn’t very open to advice from elders); but what I usually say to people is: If you really think you are smarter, more well-informed, and faster on the trade than people who live on Wall Street (or The City), live this stuff 24/7, and have all the connections that implies, then good luck to you! Get out there and day-trade! Or try to hit that “home-run”.

            I have known three people who really tried this. In each case, they either guessed wrong enough or, the common case, they had a life crisis that took their eye off the ball, and they lost their shirts. One good friend lived like a monk in the 1990s, pumping all his income into individual stocks, and emerged from the decade with empty pockets (lost it all in the 2000 bust). The one good thing for him, though, was that he never sold (didn’t see the point). And one of those stocks did, finally, come back and he made some good money off it. Don’t lock in your losses, if you can avoid it.

            1. Bitcoin isn’t a Ponzi scheme in the sense that there is no one person or organisation trying to scam you out of your money.

              The mechanism by which people make money on Bitcoin is completely transparent. You make money if you can sell your Bitcoin to somebody else for more than you bought it. The profits of early speculators are financed by the money off later speculators. This is the same principle as speculation on commodities and stocks and shares. I wouldn’t call this investing, by the way, I’d call it speculation. Investing is where you put money into a company in exchange for a share of its profits.

    3. I think GPUs are being driven higher by a number of influences that don’t affect CPUs. AI and games need faster, bigger GPUs more than faster, bigger CPUs.

    4. I haven’t investigated the details, but I was recently getting “back” into desktops in order to step up from my commercially-made NAS, which is creeping towards 80% full.
      So, it looks like I missed the bottom of the big disc market – they’ve gone up by about 15% in the last couple of months. “Rude words were said.”
      But while considering USB3 cards, I stumbled into a lot of adverts for devices that will hook a 1-slot PCI bus onto a USB socket, meaning you can hook a lot of graphics card onto one machine. Enough that your actual power supply is probably the next choke point.
      I infer, from the way the advertising copy is written, that these are for Bitcoin mining. Small amounts of data into and out of the card, lots of processing onboard.
      It’s making me think more about graphics cards than since Tomb Raider came out – and I’m wondering why my decade or so old laptop produces better graphics results under Linux than when it gets it’s weekly boot into Win10.

      While on the subject of buying computer bits, does anyone else use “sniping” software to try to wring the last few % value out of Ebay? Now that a lot of European sellers are simply not accepting orders from the UK, I feel the need to really wring the last penny out of each penny.

    5. “I build my own PCs”
      Jesus! Respect, mate.
      I can barely USE mine which I had my company’s IT guy buy for me. Guess we’re not put together the same, but nevertheless I admire you!
      D.A.
      NYC

      1. I have only owned two pre-built computers: a Commodore 64 and a Packard Bell 386 system which cost over $2,000 and did not include a CD drive or sound card! My first build was a Pentium133 system with 16 megabytes of RAM and a whopping 210 megabyte hard drive! It also had two floppy disc drives as well as a 2X cd-rom. Since then, I just upgrade every couple of years, and after five year, pretty much every component including the case has been replaced. Photo and video editing takes a lot of horsepower, especially 4K and now 8K video. I also get to maintain my geek credibility.

      2. After having “the hood open” on my desktop PC a few times now, to add HDDs, swap SSDs into HDD slots, etc., I am not afraid to build my own PC at this point. The innards are extremely standardized. It’s rather like Lego.

        But I found that, for what I wanted in my most recent PC (about 1 year ago), there was a Dell that did the job for very little more than I would have paid for parts. I’ve been very happy with Dells, so I went that way. Every successive PC I’ve bought has gotten: Hugely more capable and much less expensive.

  14. Car rentals are through the roof. You could rent a decent car for twenty bucks pre lockdown. I just paid $70 for a compact! Seems they got rid of a lot of their inventory, so now they don’t have enough.

  15. A good counterpart to this topic might be “stuff that is still reasonably priced or has gotten cheaper”

  16. Kitty litter and cat food. Litter now runs $20 for a 14# box. I remember 99¢. Cat food $49 for 15.5#. Granted I feed good stuff but still…

  17. I know that women pay more for women-targeted beauty products that are otherwise similar to cheaper male products, but I always thought that paying higher prices for getting their hair cut was justified, based on their desire for fancier hair styles than men. I’m assuming it’s fair if you look at what they charge on a time basis. It also takes more skill than the average man’s haircut. I assume women rarely say “Just a little off the top, please.”

    1. I’ll tell ya what hasn’t gone up, the wages for being a special education paraprofessional or that or being a home healthcare worker. Nothing says you so rewarding work like a paycheck that won’t pay the bills. Good thing the superintendent got a $40k a year raise though…

      Edit: Turdpress did it again. My comment was nowhere near this one yet here it is. Might as well throw in something about haircuts. I’m sick of paying for crap haircuts from not-so-great clips or the more expensive unsportsmanlike clips. Why weren’t these women , and they’re all young women, not taught how to do sideburns? Is it that damn hard to make the damn things level AND even? Apparently it is. I miss my old barber. He knew how to use clippers, make sideburns even, and was half the price. Damn him for retiring!

  18. If our host refers to Colgate’s PreviDent 5000 1.1% sodium fluoride toothpaste, it’s worth more than every penny, if my anecdotal experience means anything. As a heavy-duty chocolate & ice cream consumer, I haven’t had a dental cavity in > 20 years.

    That expensive stuff is only 1/2 to 1/3 of one’s dentifrice expense, and the rest can be effectively eliminated by using plain old baking soda, as I have been doing for almost 70 years. Certain swindlers, e.g. toothpaste floggers, insist that it is too abrasive, or some such nonsense, but again my experience proves them wrong.

  19. I’ve been reminding trump fans that price increases are the result of the prolonged shutdowns which are a result of their refusal to wear masks.

  20. ” . . . for some reason Post Office employees seem to be mean.”

    I trust that I may not cause offense by conjecturing that (at least) a small part of this Post Office employee meaness is caused by their having to deal with mean customers. Re: “The Customer Is Always Right.” (And also perhaps caused by the onerous requirements, financial and otherwise, the omniscient Congress imposes on the Postal Service.) Civility among U.S. citizens has taken a significant hit during the last twenty or so years.

    I remember standing in line at the Post Office a few years ago and having to bear up under an adjacent customer, so exquisitely focussed on his personal convenience, kvetching about there not being enough counter clerks to service the number of customers in line. (I gather that business can wax or wane according to the time of day.) I wanted to tell him that he would have to pay me a not insignificant fee to attend to his chin music. For the sake of Keeping The Peace, I instead refrained from asking him if he would also have a problem with there being (what he perceived to be) too many clerks for the comparatively smaller number of customers (at that given time of day), and what solution(s) he would offer to optimize the clerk/customer ratio, regardless of the time of day or the circumstances.

  21. Your stamps are still cheap. It’s 85p ( $1:21 ) to send a letter internally in the UK ( with a land area approximately the same as that of Oregon ).

  22. I think I disagree with the whole premise of this post. How much has the minimum wage increased in the time period you mean? That tells you something about what the true rate of inflation really is.
    With a few exceptions, the current inflation fears are mostly being stoked as cover to oppose the present administration’s spending plans.
    As much as I enjoy this site, I do feel that you get easily conned into doing your part to fight for team Trump.

    1. Lumber is now (where I live) about 4X what it was last year. This is real. But I think it is a temporary distortion of the market due to, mainly, COVID/border issues.

      1. Yes. I think you expressed part of what I meant better than I did. Thanks. There’s a few bubbles and some temporary spikes. But I’ve noticed that as soon as we have a Democratic president, a lot of the media gets hung up on inflation and national debt fears. It’s frustrating!

        1. Yeah, the same old usual crap. Give trillions to the top 1%? No problem! Make $15/hr mandatory, all hell will break loose!

          As I’ve said here before, I’m OK with Biden’s priorities and am even willing to pay more in taxes. Voldemort’s tax “cut” was the biggest tax increase in my lifetime (I’m 60), and for what?: To further enrich those at the very top. No thanks.

  23. Well while we’re sitting around like old dudes complaining of prices, let me put my $0.02 (now more) cents worth in: razors and razor blades. I live in Mhtn and I’m used to high prices but there’s something about how they sting you with cartridges that grinds my gears.
    So there. Now get those kids offa our lawns!
    D.A.,
    NYC

    1. Have you considered Double Edge Safety razors – e.g. Derby brand with a Merkur stainless steel handle.

      Alternatively

      Solimo brand from Amazon – not a bad price, IMO. The same product can also be found at, believe it or not, some grocery checkouts under a different name brand.

      Never Gillette for me

  24. Considering Congress crippled the post office more than a decade ago by making them pre-fund all retiree’s health care for the next 75 years, forbidding them from adding even the most modest sensible improvements, It’s a wonder they’re holding on.

    Then subjecting them to Trump’s self-appointed axe man, Postmaster Louis DeJoy— banning overtime, extra trips to deliver mail, removing high speed mail sorting machines and collection boxes, causing even more delays during the height of the pandemic,— I think the USPS is doing great.

    And as selling stamps is about the only way they exist, I’m happy to shell out that extra 3¢ per forever stamp.

      1. He can only be fired by the board and until just recently there were not enough appointees willing to do so. I think the process is probably underway at this point and suspect his days are numbered.

    1. Having used postal systems around the world (at least 25 countries on 5 continents over the last 30+ years), I can say with great confidence that the USPS is an excellent system, reliable, and a bargain.

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