Tag: pricing

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Beating Black Friday at Banana Republic Factory Store

I wish there was a better way to combat inflationary pricing than Black Friday discounts. Banana Republic Factory emailed about the big 60-percent off storewide, topped by another 15 percent with special code. Since, coincidentally, two years ago nearly to the day I last purchased boxers—and none since—time had come to follow my wife’s advice: resupply. BRF’s undies are comfy and durable, which is why I buy them.

Two BRF stores are about equally far, North and South, from our San Diego neighborhood. We chose the one farther from Mexico’s border, for no particular reason. Decision was figuratively a coin toss.

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Pain at the Pump

If you’re wondering why another gas price photo, so am I. But the cost—a full dollar more than the Mobile Mart just three days ago—demands documenting. Today, I came upon the Shell station while walking to Petco in search of a potted plant for our cats Cali and Neko (out of stock, of course). Location: Fourth and Washington in San Diego neighborhood Hillcrest.

What can you say about seven dollars and twenty cents per gallon, unleaded? This place inched up to $7 during that last big rise (June 2022), but not higher. To think that in October 2021 $4.94 was outrageous. Now we can only wish that the price was as low.

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Oh No, Not Again

A week ago, price at the pump was 90 cents less than it is today at my local filling stations. This evening, in North Park, I passed a Chevron sign for $6.60 per gallon, regular unleaded. Oh my, what’s going on with gas going up the cost ladder again?

In the Featured Image, captured using Leica Q2, the Arco across Texas Street (at El Cajon Blvd) seemingly offers a deal for 10 cents a gallon less. But hours later, the station had matched Mobile Mart.

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The Price of Gas Rose 30 Cents Overnight!

When I drove past the local filling station late yesterday afternoon, a tanker parked and offloaded fuel. I wondered: You don’t suppose the delivery means Valero will charge more? Fleeting thoughts come, go, and never manifest into anything. But on this occasion, I was right to wonder and wish to be wrong. Gas prices had fallen recently and stabilized at $5.30 per gallon.

Ha! And I thought the 24-cent overnight increase, back in February, was a big hike.

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Not One Crisis, But Two

Two days ago, I looked upon something surprising inside the Grocery Outlet, located in San Diego neighborhood Talmadge: An empty display case for Mexican Coca-Cola. Shall we blame supply chain disruptions that every fear-mongering pundit has blabbered about for months? The beverage, sweetened with cane sugar instead of corn syrup, is popularly stocked by many grocery stores in this area of SoCal.

But far more unsettling is the price. Mexican Coke, sold in glass bottles, is perennially priced 99 cents. A buck sixty-nine puts inflation and rising food/beverage prices into piercing perspective. That’s a 70.7 percent increase, by the way. Yikes!

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The Unhappy Meal

Before June 17, 2022, I hadn’t been inside a McDonald’s since before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, on March 11, 2020. My daughter needed a ride, and on on the way back to her residence she asked for fast food. I grumbled and pulled into McD’s.

Whoa, what happened to prices? The current $5.99 for a Quarter Pounder is about a buck less when I last bought a combo meal, which is now $10.49 for a burger, fries, and drink.

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A Good Reason to Work From Home

At one of the pricer area filling stations, located where Fourth and Washington meet in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, the price of gasoline approaches mountaineering heights. Grab your gear and head for the summit of cash required to fill the tank. For context, rounding to the nearest buck, customers paid $6.60 per gallon on May 27, 2022 and $4.94 on Oct. 15, 2021 at this location.

On the same day as the Featured Image, June 8, 2022, at my University Heights-located Valero, I filled up a half-tank for 30 bucks at $6.09 a gallon around Noon. Lady driving an Acura in the queue before my car paid $69 and some change. When I drove past a few hours later, posted price had jumped to $6.16.

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Yeah, But What About Diesel?

The price of gasoline is now above six bucks at my local Valero, which is one of the more affordable stations in this part of San Diego. Diesel is higher, and that’s a problem for truckers and the cost of transporting goods to retailers.

But there is another dimension that I hadn’t considered. Back home in Northern Maine, farmers are planting crops for autumn harvest. My dad reminded me that tractors and other equipment typically run on diesel. Higher costs transporting food is a bad situation, but the spike to grow food is far worse—especially if some smaller farms simply can’t afford to operate.

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The More You Pay, The More You Will Pay

Funny the things you long for. On Oct. 15, 2021, I shared a photo showing the cost of gasoline as $4.94 a gallon (rounded up) at the Fourth and University Shell station in Hillcrest. Fast forward to today and you pay $6.60 per gallon (again, rounded up). That $1.66 more than the old price—high for the time—seems oh-so affordable now. By the way, cost is 33 percent more than before.

Several large hospitals surround the station, and I got to ask: Is this why medical services—like ambulance—cost so much in San Diego? Yeah, the question is facetious. That said, unless the arm is severed and shooting blood, wrap a tourniquet and drive yourself to Emergency—and hope none of the doctors and nurses treating you filled up at this Shell. Somebody has to pay, and that could be you. Yuck. Yuck.

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Killer Branding

For the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, I had planned to go with a nature theme. But plans changed after shopping at Grocery Outlet and seeing the wicked instant brew that my wife discovered during another visit. The company and its coffee are about a decade old but they’re new to me (obviously). The instant variety debuted in 2018.

The connotations of Death Wish, “world’s strongest coffee”, and skull-and-crossbones logo are loaded in all the right ways. It’s killer branding. K-pods are called “death cups”.

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I Wasn’t Prepared for This

On Valentine’s Day, we rushed to be among the people signing up for “The Prepper’s Roadmap”. Initial enrollment ended on February 18, and we paid $197 for the privilege. The course seeks to educate enrollees about how to prepare for calamities, whether they be natural disasters (like earthquakes or wildfires here in San Diego) or crisis of human instigation (like cyberattack that takes down banking systems or power grids), among others. I would recommend the educational series, if the first-round of registrations hadn’t closed. You can’t sign up today; in the future, though.

My wife and I aren’t so-called preppers—and we never expect be. Meaning: If you’re looking for a horde of food or supplies during an apocalypse, we won’t have it. Our apartment is small and we aren’t of the mindset. That said, we do recognize the increasingly dangerous times in which we live, when looking at advancing economic crisis or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example. Not being naturally paranoid about catastrophes and preparation for them, Annie and I liked the idea of getting some no-nonsense advice from someone who is sensible rather than the typically fanatical.

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The Difference Between Today and Yesterday

Gasoline prices continue their relentless rise here in San Diego. Regular unleaded now is $1 or more per gallon than on Feb. 24, 2022—when started Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. The Featured Image and companion compare changes over one day. The Arco is located at El Cajon Blvd and Texas Street, where North Park and University Heights meet.

But 30 cents a gallon more than yesterday, or the day before, isn’t the bigger difference. I awoke this morning to news alerts that Joseph Biden banned importation of Russian oil. Price to pump fuel is least of the problems. This sanction, on top of the others, leads to one conclusion, and a single consequence: The United States and Russia are unofficially at war. All that remains is declaration by one side or the other.