Tag Archives: inflation

Sorry Okanagan

One of the top five things I miss about living in the Okanagan is fresh Okanagan fruit. I miss the days of picking cherries, buying strawberries, or being able to get a few peaches at the side of the road.

There hasn’t been a year when I haven’t bought a bunch throughout the summer and fall – until this year. Last week one of the discount grocery chains had Mexico and BC peaches. The prices of the Mexican peaches was half as much as the “local” BC ones.

Yesterday I was at my local grocery store which had a big display of “flyer special” Okanagan cherries. Hurray…or so I thought. This pre-packaged bag of cherries might have been 50 of them – tops.

Fast forward to the checkout cashier a few minutes later. She looked at the cherries – she looked at me – she scanned them through. I thought the “look” was kind of weird but it made perfect sense when I saw $11.65 show up on her screen! WHAT? Take those off, please. Her response was: I don’t blame you – you’re not the first one…

Sorry, Okanagan. I don’t know who is getting the money, but I’m quite sure it’s not the orchard owners! According to the store cashier: Add me to the list of people who certainly can’t afford or justify spending almost 12 dollars for around 50 cherries.

Blame It On the Rain

That was the name of a song by a late 80’s R&B duo called Milli Vanilli. It turned out that they were just lip-synching – including their appearance at the Grammy Awards. In the worlds of one of the group “we were in constant fear of being discovered.”

The group didn’t last, but the blame-game and flagrant misleading (OK, lying) is alive and well. It happened within a month of the Covid pandemic in March of 2020 with a lot of businesses blaming Covid for anything and everything.

Within 10 days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US President Biden was blaming rising gas prices on Russia calling it the “Putin price increase.” It’s total b.s. and a poll done last week showed that less than six percent of respondents blame Russia, but the line keeps getting used. Oil was already around $90 a barrel before the war, then went to around $100. Nice try, President Biden. But someone has to be blamed when people get mad.

Politicians have no control over oil prices or supply chain issues. They also don’t have control over the weather tomorrow – honestly! Sure, in the US, voters can blame President Biden for not even getting his calls answered or messages returned by the Saudi government for weeks at a time. Oil is a world-wide commodity. The only way the price drops is when the supply exceeds the demand as every person would have seen in the past two years. Cut the demand of any product and the price drops. Increase the demand without more product and the price jumps until equilibrium is reached again. Economics 101.

But whichever party is not in power blames the current administration and claims they would deal with this. You know it’s b.s. when they don’t actually tell you anything about how they would do that. Yet it works. The current party blames someone – anyone while the opposition blames the government.

Milli Vanilli may have been in constant fear of being discovered, but sadly, businesses and politicians don’t have those same morals when it comes to blame, excuses, evading responsibility or the likes. Stuck in between are the voters who don’t really care who is to blame, but care a lot that it’s addressed. Or at least that someone understands.

BIG Inflation or Temporary Blip?

That’s the question most economists are asking themselves. So is the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve in order to set interest rates.

Add my vote to those predicting the spike in inflation is temporary and only part of the post pandemic recovery. Pent up demand will do that – but it woudn’t or shouldn’t last. One of the measurements has already shown that. Lumber prices have collapsed to their 2020 levels or lower (but only in the U.S. so far). So have copper, crops and gold prices. If inflation where heading up, those would be among the first places to show it.

Yes, energy, food, and housing are still way up. But remember that these are essentially monopoly pricing areas. Without real competition to bring down prices, normal market forces of demand and supply don’t apply as much – or rapidly. OPEC sets oil prices, as one example. And in the housing market, a new report shows that 85% of condo sales in Canada are to investors. Food prices (already down in the U.S. as well) go up instantly here in Canada (even though our dollar is pretty strong at around 80 cents). But most cities have only two major competitors. Thus it doesn’t take much for them to pass on price increases, but they seem to “forget” to roll them back when costs go down – way down.