Jack Simpson - High prices

Office watercooler conversation usually includes today's high prices. Go grocery shopping and be shocked at shelf prices today as opposed to those of last week. Just the other day, a lady in line waiting to pay for her basket of food complained, "I cannot believe at these prices for bread, milk and orange juice!"

Notice your container of orange juice looks fancier, but read the label. You are paying more for fewer fluid ounces. Look in that lady's basket and you might find she has shopped for more bargains and less expensive items like chicken, pasta and pizza. When she pays out, she probably hands the register operator a fist full of coupons. Your breakfast used to cost a couple of dollars. It is now double or better. Your lunchtime Frosty used to be 99 cents; it is now $1.29. Oh, the good life! Where has it gone?

Need a new car? Better not purchase one of those gas-guzzling SUVs. If you insist on having one, there are plenty of used ones on the local car lots. People have traded them in for smaller, economy models. Trade down, save gas. Average price in the area in the last month topped $4.09 per gallon!

If you have a favorite pair of shoes with a hole in the sole, it may cost $45 for repairs. This is cheaper than a new pair. Economize where you can.

Pity those who want to travel for vacation this year. If gasoline costs don't eat them alive, hotel rates will do them in for sure. Flying to a destination may soon be too costly. Perhaps that half cup of soda and bag of peanuts will tide you over until your arrival. You could miss lunch altogether because of delays, late arrivals or misdirected baggage.

Ah, those good ole days of 5-cent candy bars and 15-cent movies. Will we ever see them again? Probably not. Sometimes dreams just float away, never to return again.

Companies we all do business with are adding extra fuel costs to our monthly bills. We not only pay for our gasoline bills, but pay for the company's fuel costs as well. Fly now and pay an extra $25 fee for a second bag. Have the garbage picked up and pay a fee for fuel costs. Buy food and remember fee charges are helping pay diesel fuel costs for truckers hauling groceries to markets.

Do you ever think about your tax dollars being spent for expensive fuel costs for Air Force One, our ships and planes, and all those Hummers in combat? Necessary expenditures, but very expensive.

It is little wonder that the lady of the house looks for specials, bargains and coupons. Who do we blame? How did things reach such a state?

Obviously we want change. But what is it? A reversal of current policies, a transformation? Is it a replacement of incumbents who haven't been able to resolve problems?

The current administration believes "the economy is fundamentally sound." Someone is out of touch. Maybe it is the anxious, common man. Perhaps the current hard times are only a figment of our imagination!

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.