Shrinkflation

Gas prices have fallen for about 90 days in Portland. I’ve heard that in many parts of the US, gas has dipped under $4 for the first time in six months.

Here, it’s still averaging well over $4 for a gallon of regular, but I’m happy the mid-grade I use is under $5. That’s still about a buck more a gallon than I was paying in January.

However, I’ve noticed a couple of amusing returns on my gas investments recently.

First, when I was being a pre-vacation grump and refusing to put more than $20 worth of gas in my tank at a time – not sure if that’s denial or self-preservation. I had done just that and was headed out to mom and dad’s for a smoker-q.

Side note: I’ve been thinking about drugs lately. Specifically that moment in drug history where cocaine had faded from popularity and made a resurgence in a smoke-able versus snort-able form that everyone called crack cocaine. I think we really missed a portmanteau opportunity by not calling it smocaine.

Anyway, I remember doing the mental math on my round trip with my almost half tank of gas. I figured I’d come back and park Angela with a quarter tank. I enjoy these mental math games of speculation. Especially when it pits me against technology – like gas gauges and “miles to empty” projections.

This particular instance was a draw. After my ~60 round trip, I was still around 3/8 tank. Saving me face, though, was the “mikes to empty” reading had only dropped by 12 miles.

When I went on vacation and drove to the high desert, I had to give up my grumpy old man ways and fill up for the 168 mile trip.

I remember the mileage between here and Sunriver because it’s my birth month and year. Another thing my brain likes to pass the time noticing. Anyway, I figured filling my tank would be a cathartic exercise to start my vacation. I was shocked when I looked at the “miles to empty” as I pulled onto the road.

Angela usually teases me with 500 mikes to the tank, delivering somewhere closer to 430. I’m not sure what she was trying to pull telling me I’d actually get my money’s worth for the $100 I’d just coughed up.

Maybe she was just trying to make me feel better.

Of course, that projection ended up more like this…

More so than normal, that is. Surprising no one.

It was, in my mind, a pleasant turn from the shrinkflation I’d been confronted by daily throughout the summer, though. I’d noted my reluctance to pay retail prices to water manufacturers in the past instead of something closer to wholesale prices.

I mean, where do they get off?!?

So I was proud of my La Croix loyalty because I could get a 12-pack for $4.

Not anymore. Welcome to shrinkflategate!

Now I can’t find a 12-pack to save my life.

It’s 8-packs or nothing these days, my friends.

But don’t worry, it’s still $4. If you’re lucky.

My mind – noticing the patterns it does so naturally – reflexively does the math and can’t quite find where inflation is 8%. I mean, at best the price is flat. But the damn package is 1/3 smaller!

I’d like to speak to the manager.

At least Angela has my back. The prices all around me are rising. Groceries, restaurants, services…everything is going up. But Angela tries to make it all better by giving me hope that a tank of gas will magically stretch further.

Shrinkflation

5 thoughts on “Shrinkflation

  1. I was crowing about paying a net $4.80/gallon for premium the other day (stupid Lexus SUV needs 91 octane) when I stopped for a fast-food take-out lunch at Red Panka. A tofu saltado bowl, a burrito, and a side of fried plantains = $33. Am I dating myself if I say, “Remember when you could get a burrito and a soft drink for $5? Yeah, I’m old.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, you are. There used to be a joke back when under $5 bought anything that when you got your change you could say Ah! Lunch at Taco Bell! No more. Grandkids and McDonalds? Take out a loan. The good thing is gas down here is almost under $2 for reg, the 91 in my SUV was $3.45 the other day. Unfortunately, screw the 8%, the dollar store tells the economic truth becoming the dollar and a quarter store!

      Liked by 1 person

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