Rising prices and lowering costs change the nation

The other day we were in town, and I said to my wife, “Come on, let’s go to this bakery that we like and have some anginettes and cannolis and…”

“I won’t,” she answered quickly.

“What is the problem?”

“The last time we went there, it was not very good. Buns were smaller, pastries were getting stale…”

I guess it’s a sign of the times.

Someone else recently complained to me that when he goes out to eat the prices are higher, the portions are smaller and the quality goes down.

What’s going on in America? Is this something the Department of Weights and Measures should regulate? Maybe some of these new IRS agents could start looking into this trend of lower quality, higher priced products and services.

It’s everywhere. The roast chickens we loved – and the dog too – have been stringy and greasy lately, and even the dog has turned up its nose.

Call me Debbie Downer, but here’s my theory. With inflation on the rise, everyone is trying to take shortcuts just to stay ahead, and it has become apparent that nothing is as good as it used to be. How could this country have fallen into a tailspin so quickly? Smaller portions, lower quality, abbreviated services.

We pay more and receive less. At least that’s my observation. If your experience is different, let me know which country you live in, so I can move there.

The price of a cup of coffee has gone up. The salad is wilted. The candles we have been buying for years cost more and contain less wax. Even flower bouquets crumble much faster. Carnations and alstroemeria that once lasted two weeks barely survive a week. Is it a supply chain issue? (Hasn’t this problem been solved yet?)

It forced me to do something I’ve resisted all my life and check expiration dates because food seems to be sitting on the shelves longer than it used to. My question is, if everyone charges more, doest are we getting at least the same products and services that we are used to?

I fear the worst is yet to come. We got our new fuel oil budget at $4.99 a gallon and foolishly signed the contract. The next day I read a story that predicted heating oil could go up to $5 a gallon this winter…so we’re paying $5 before it even goes up.

Will we reach a point where they dilute the gasoline with water or put a lower grade with the high test? It’s a way for the government to encourage us to buy electric cars.

This scourge will affect all sectors of society. I predict that CNN, in a cost-cutting measure due to declining viewership, will cut 15 minutes from the evening news and plug in a MyPillow infomercial.

I’m afraid that when you go to the doctor’s office, they’ll want to get you in and out as fast as McDonald’s so they can keep the volume up for the benefit of healthcare provider outcomes.

Places of worship are also affected. I noticed that a church’s special monthly collection for energy brought in $50. Considering the cost of fuel oil, it should cost about 10 gallons, so be sure to bring your overcoat and sash the next time you go to pray for America.

Hopefully the organists and choirs won’t be fired, or we’ll have to listen to a cantor with a ukulele sing “Amazing Grace” in the tradition of the late great Tiny Tim. On the other hand, it would save electricity and shorten service, which means lower heating and cooling bills.

I don’t want to forget the cost of higher education, where tuition fees have increased by an average of 150% over the past two decades. The price has gone up, but has the quality? What exactly does a degree get you these days?

Nevertheless, I promised not to be a Debbie Downer, so I want to point out that there are encouraging signs. For example, despite economists’ fears that we were entering Great Recession II, my daughters haven’t stopped getting manicures and pedicures, and considering the number of nail salons in this country, that should enough to keep the economy from going into a tailspin. Therefore, I encourage Americans of all genders to get their nails done twice a week, whether they need it or not.

But be careful. They may cut corners and polish only four toes and neglect the little toe.

As patriotic Americans, we all need to do our part to prevent this economic wreckage, and whether that means paying more and eating less, walking instead of driving, or contributing our Social Security checks to college endowments, I’m on board. I already do my part when it comes to haircuts. I will pay full price even though I am bald and should be 66% off.

Joe Pisani, former Stamford lawyer and editor of Greenwich Times, can be reached at [email protected]

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