Sunday, April 06, 2008

Prices Going Up...

Everyone has complained at one time or another of the rising gas prices. Even the price of milk-a necessity for survival to some- has gone up with inflation. This morning I went to Starbucks to order my usual venti nonfat nowhip Marble Mocha Machiatto and when I pulled up to the window the cashier said, "That'll be $5.25." I didn't give one moment's hesitation before I exclaimed, "Did they go up!?!?" Granted, I am used to suckering out $4.95 once a week but anything over $5 for a hot milk just seemed ridiculous! She said, "hold on" and fidgeted at the register and with another guy for about 2 minutes. The other guy came to the window and tried to explain to me that since my drink wasn't on the menu I would be charged extra. I put a smile on and said, "I am really not trying to be rude at all it is just that I have been ordering this drink for over a year now and I have never paid over $5 for it... may I change my order?" They gave me my drink for the regular price but advised me of the change for future references... Sheesh.

I get these emails all of the time that claim if everyone refuses to buy gas on a certain day that the market will suffer so greatly that particular day the prices will have to go down. Do I forward them? No. Have I started turning off all of the lights when daylight is enough and switched to Publix brand ziplock baggies and laundry softener? Yes. Nick and I have even swapped cars during the week so that his gas guzzling truck won't travel the extra 110 miler per week (22 miles to Millbrook, 2 x per day, 5 days x week = 220 miles) versus ( my drive to work is only 11 miles, 2 x day, 5 days x week). It makes a difference in the times we both need to fill up on gas. I would love to work it out that Nick drops me off at school in the morning on his way to work and then picks me up on his way home. That would save even more. Not only is this better for the environment but it does have small advantages on our monthly budget. Especially since Knoledgy went up this month and with summer on it's way Alagasco and Power bills are sure to rise. Plus, our lawn is growing at rapid speeds due to the rain and humidity which means any gas we are saving by carpooling will have to be poured back into our lawn mower each week just so we can see out of our windows! It might be cheaper to pay someone to come and mow our yard. I'll do the math and get back to you on that.

I am sure all of you have these exact same thought processes and discussions among your own families and what I am saying is not anything new. I can't help but wonder if what we are going through, which could get much worse, will produce a more money conscious and appreciative generation? Tom Brokaw said that our grandparents were "The Greatest Generation." World War Veterans, the Holocaust, and The Great Depression Survivors are among this generation. Women's Rights Activists and parents of Civil Rights Heroes were all working together not at overstocked/under employed Walmarts and McDonald's but at small "convenient" family owned stores where it mattered to the owner that your needs were met and the buyer cared that the owners were able to provide for their families. Has anyone watched the scene in the Godfather II where young Don gets laid off at the grocery store because Fanucci threatened the store owner into hiring his nephew? The store owner is devastated that he has to let Don go and chases him down the street with a basket full of bread and other goods so that he will have something to provide to his family... but Don refuses to take the gift. Where is that relationship in businesses anymore? My mother can tell me stories from growing up in Hayneville, AL where she used to visit my Grandfather's cafe after school in the afternoons with her friends and each school girl would order a Coke and bag of potato chips for a nickel. She used to love going because she loved to see the "goings on" among the adults who were there just to get a quick bite to eat, socialize a bit, and head home. Where do we go to do that? Where could our kids WALK from school to do that? Is that day in age gone? I guess so and I guess it has been long gone because I never got to do that growing up.

I want to teach my children the beauties of a simple life. What is simple? Nick and I live in a beautiful home with AC, plumbing, instant meals, cable, wireless internet, etc. I guess what I mean is, I hope that we can teach our children what it means to work for rewards and to appreciate the good things God gave us that you can't put a price on.

I am being challenged everyday to make sacrifices in preparation of the coming of our two daughters. I won't even say how much my face moisturizer that I am running low on costs because I am not sure if I should even order it again. I reason back and forth on why it is worth it to pay this amount (quality skin care is important to protect against the sun's damaging rays and replenish moisture to prevent wrinkles and age spots) but then feel guilty when I realize what else I could do with this money if I'll just buy the "cheap stuff" at Walgreens. So that is NOT my biggest dilemma ... what kind of face cream to buy... it was just an example. I'll never forget an episode of Fresh Prince when Will and Vanessa are arguing and she comes to realize her fault in the argument and says, "You're right Will, my problems are just luxuries." I saw that when I was very young and have never forgotten the line because it is so true for my life. My "problems" are so luxurious.

To go full circle with the purpose and title of this post, "Prices Going Up" I'll conclude by saying that I will be thinking a lot this week about where we put our values and where we put our worth. Do I spend my energies and other resources on "things" that are not worth inflation or do I "save" and watch the appreciation grow on the things that are invaluable... or a little bit of both?

P.S.
I received an email from Cesar Milan Inc. that "with warm regards" informed me that my question to Cesar has been denied review because there are thousands of other emails that Cesar receives that are basically more urgent (worthy of viewer's ratings). The email did, however, remind me that if my question is an emergency that I should contact a local pet healthcare provider and that I, of course, should continue to be "calm and assertive." Thanks a lot Cesar.

9 comments:

luke said...

price was higher because it wasn't on the menu?

i'll say it, with cuss words and all: what the fuck? i have NEVER heard that as an explanation. water's not on the menu either, but they still don't charge for that.

someone sounds dumb here.

LMilky said...

yea i was surprised and again, i didn't want sound rude and be "that" customer but that is what I was told. I guess ill have to find a new favorite.

luke said...

what i can best figure is that the drink is no longer on the register screen and that the person ringing up charged you for either a Mocha or a White Mocha and added a $0.30 charge for the extra syrup.

which they shouldn't have done. as a macchiato, you shouldn't be getting the full 5 pumps of either white or dark mocha, therefore you shouldn't be charged anything extra.

ugh.

Mary Tyler S. said...

I have the best face cream. 2 bucks at CVS and it has lasted For-EVA. Eucerin. Have I told you lately that I love you?

Jason said...

Fantastic post ....I have spent the last two days talking to my brother about customer care/service and where it has gone ...
LOVED your blog and BLAH to Starbucks...I have not had a drink from there since we were in Memphis

The Bean said...

My favorite Starbucks drink now that it's getting warm is a Java Chip Frappachino (now decaf of course. I save where I can on non name brand items but there are some things (like cascade) that I have tried to go cheaper on and my dishes suffered. By the way, I understand the rising gas prices are hard (especially considering our car takes only premium) but until gas hits $5+ a gallon I am not really too worried. After all, the Europeans make way less than we do annually, are taxed more and pay nearly $6 per gallon for their gas.

Nice post though! And we walked to and from school in elementary school. It was Great!

Carrie said...

great post laura! I was thinking about similar things this weekend and composing a post in my head about the simple things. i was watching pride and prejudice and becoming jane and thinking how nice it would be to escape the the 19th century for awhile where things were a little simpler. I would miss AC and TiVo. But I wouldn't mind it for a little bit.

Nick M. said...

I have to agree with my sister on the dishwasher detergent thing. We used to buy the Publix brand and it was terrible. In fact I bought some new stuff today because it was "Buy One Get One" and now I'm nervous that it might be as good as the last kind I bought.

M'elle said...

I echo the sentiments of everyone here (especially about Pride and Prejudice - that's been my escape lately!). And as for Caesar - to heck with him! He doesn't have to worry about the price of anything at Starbucks...