Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 08, 2011

Leaving the Chicago apartment, after a visit, I have a long drive back home: through the NW side of Chicago, through the near suburbs, the far suburbs.
I noticed something on this trip, and that was signs with prices on them. It's a sign with a picture of something and a number attached to it. For example, one of these signs said: "Jalapeño Cheeseblogger $3.99." Of course you had to be there but I saw other signs too for other things that I maybe want to be buyin' into. And I thought about this.
Why sell for "x" price and not "x+1" price or "x+2" price. If the selling party charges more, he gets more. Then, in his life, he may spend more. I can spend more; he gets more. If I spend less that man gets less. In which case I get more; but why is one better than the other?

I have "x" amount of money to spend. I don't have to get the freaking Cheeseburger if I don't want to. I can assure you, I have more than four dollars. I can buy the Jolly Cheeseburger or not buy it---any freakin' way I wish.

Suddenly I realized: the signs that give quantities of money for goods to be sold at are psychotic. I mean, that's a pretty strong concept, so I wanted to write this down. For posterity.

Now that we know the prices are psychotic, I hope we are more happy. (Is that good grammar?) Later, a sign selling coffee for $1-- per cup: (any size). So what? So, I get more. So Fred gets less. Wowie zowie. But what did we prove?
What I am thinking is that maybe there should be government stores. (Oh, I know, anathema to the conservatives. Zzzzzzz...) They would have regulated prices. At every such store the price for something -- like coffee? -- it would be the same and the benefit is that there is no more confusion and tension, you know? Maybe the price could vary by the day, so, if the economy is up the price would go up. If the economy is going down the price would go down. ...or should that be the other way around? But the basic question here is that of just what the up and down prices do tell us. If anything.

I don't know if I am some kind of spoil sport or what -- I mean, to give away the whole game? Gee, I hope not.
The next time that on an urban street you see that type sign ask yourself if it makes any freaking rational sense. Is there any rational -- relational -- way to determine these precise prices?

... ... ... ... ....

Should I feel happy in a precise ratio to how much a shopkeeper is willing to impoverish himself so that I can get a better deal on let's say, a cup of coffee or some other item, maybe one that I do not even need? Hmmmm.... gets intewwwwwestinnn', duzen't it? All these considerations...

OK --- Do I feel happier when business owners make less money? (when I/U get the lowest price)? Why? What kind of happiness would that be? What kind of bizarre psychology? Let's stabilize the prices and cut the drama
-because this whole thing is not worth the strain.

Actually all these fluctuating prices have reminder value. It reminds of an earlier time in the glorious capitalistic history. [add trumpet flourish...] In those days, modulating prices reflected a dynamic, changing society --- including the economy. There were fundamental social changes that these prices represented. I suppose I am thinking that somehow the prices meant something more when new means of production that changed the society were going on line; and the society itself was going to change. But at any rate, I don't think those fundamental changes are going on anymore. So what are the signs?

These are ads with different numbers attached to different products. Nowadays, though, these ads just punch our buttons and play with our psychology.

Thanks. My neo-cortex has enough bumps and squiggles as it is... ,,, ... /// +++

1 comment:

  1. re-edited, Thursday, Feb. 10, when I also noticed how central "coffee" was to my whole thinking. Drivin' thru the night after visiting with friends...