Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend going on. I’ve dubbed it creeping prices. I first noticed it when one of my long-time service providers for my business, Cognent, suddenly doubled their prices for services we were purchasing from them. The price increase came without notice. It just increased from one month to the next. When we asked for an explanation, we were told that it was a planned price increase.
I wasn’t buying their explanation, but I assumed that they decided that the loss of business from Covid-19 and attrition would be offset by their price increase.
Those that know me well know that I budget meticulously.
I used to have a $10 a day budget for lunch each day. That included the cost of food and any tips that were necessary. When I moved from El Paso, Texas to Orlando, Florida almost ten years ago I figured I would have to increase my lunch budget. I was surprised that the ten dollars still worked in Orlando.
My ten-dollar lunch budget had been consistent for ten years.
Until June 2020 when I started eating out again as the pandemic regulations were somewhat relaxed.
Suddenly my lunch was costing $12.60. I was eating at the same establishments, those that reopened or were still in business. That is a 26% increase from May. Yes, the budget is consistent at various outlets and includes taxes and tips.
I soon realized that businesses have decided to weather the uncertainty of the pandemic economy by increasing prices. Because restaurants are not to full capacity, it seems to me that a combination of increased prices and reduced workforces is the way some businesses plan to whether the economic chaos of Covid-19.
Almost everyone understands that prices rarely go down as they just go up.
As such, the first reality, at least for me, for life after Covid-19 is that lunch and other expenses have gone up.