Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Things Cost More Now

Same magazine, different page. Yeah. I know.

"The Headlines, Explained" in the May issue of Real Simple. "Why do some staples cost more now?"

I don't really need a blurb in a magazine to explain that to me, but here we go. It'll be fun. The little 1/3 page article (not a Real Important topic, I guess) goes on about why food and clothing and energy costs more all of a sudden. According to Vera Gibbons, supermarket goods are going up 3-4% because recent crop failures and an increased demand for food in some countries has left the said demand ahead of the supply. Hmm. Um. A case of too many people on the planet? Hasn't someone I know been saying that? Why yes. Unfortunately, the only answer to this is to try to shop smarter. The writer's advice on this is to seek out discounted gift cards online. BUT WAIT! We can actually GROW our own food, too. We have that technology. We do. It's shocking, yes, but there you have it. We can get back to gardening and canning, like we never should have stopped doing in the first place. Because, and call me crazy here, I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to be in this for some time coming up.

Ms. Gibbons moves on to clothing. The last two years of cotton crops have been destroyed by bad weather. (Climate change much? No? OK.) This will lead to 20% hikes in clothing prices. She goes on to say designers will use cheaper fabrics to mitigate the costs. Her advice on this one? You're gonna love this: "Consider buying garments made of synthetic blends, like rayon or polyester, because they will be priced lower than cotton counterparts." This is about the time I am sure I need to stop reading Real Simple altogether. Seriously??? That's your advice? Buy clothing made with petroleum products and other super-chemicals. How about THIS advice instead: clothing swaps, thrift stores, NOT buying clothes you don't really need, doing a little tailoring on existing clothing. Now that sounds like good money-saving advice to me. Call me prejudiced for liking my own advice. I'm OK with that.

We round out these pearls of wisdom (snort) with energy prices. Higher gas and higher airfares etc. I bet you can't wait for this advice... Fill up at places like Costco, or a grocery store that offers discounts to shoppers through the reward cards. Uh huh. Good stuff, there. That's really helpful to people who don't have those options in their areas. And have you SEEN lines at the gas stations at Costco or Sam's? Holy crap!!! How about... and I know this is controversial... DRIVING LESS. *Gasp!* Or, I don't know, getting organized with friends and neighbors, and carpooling? Maybe a few fewer activities to drag the children to all the time?

You know what all three of these things have told me? (Yeah, besides the fact I can't respect this "writer", whoever she is. I'm sure she knows her stuff... in some universe) They have told me we need to SLOW DOWN, stop for a bit, breathe, and get back to the real things. We can do with fewer clothes. LOTS fewer clothes. We can be OK with hand-me-downs again. We can spend time gardening and growing stuff again. We can stop with the 42 activities per day for the kids and let them have a little time to themselves and, well, just be KIDS for a change. It worked for us. I loved my free time. It encouraged my creativity. Why do we have to keep kids active and occupied from dawn til dusk anyway? Slow down.

Is it irony that these things I suggest - in a complete and polar opposite from the "advice" in the article - also make for a healthier environment? Stunning.

To summarize: 1) I need to stop reading Real Simple for sure this time or my head's going to explode; 2) We need to go back to things that always worked before. You know why? Because they worked. It will help in many different areas of Life to bring these simple ideas back. Real simple.

Yeah, I know you know I know I won't stop reading it. It's much to fun to tear the stuff apart. Wherever would I get my material, elsewise?