Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The real shortage

  I had Monday off, but it was raining in the morning so instead of walking my dogs to the Jiffy convenience store for their beef sticks and my cup of coffee, they went to the backyard and neither of us got our morning treat. It had stopped raining in the afternoon, so Kathy and I took the dogs to the Jiffy to get their treats. Normally on weekend afternoons, we take them to the Kum & Go for their treat and we each get a 32 ounce soda for 59 cents. We went to the Jiffy because it was not warm enough for an ice-cold soda and I wanted a cup of coffee. We got to the store, I got my 20 ounce cup full of coffee and the 2 beef sticks and fished 6 pennies out of my pocket (99 cent coffee, 2 beef sticks for $1 and 7 cents tax = $2.06) as I have done for years. I got to the register, the clerk rang me up while I was getting the bills out of my wallet and then I got the shock of my life.

  The clerk said “That will be two twenty seven”

  I thought I had heard her wrong, or maybe she thought I was a cappuccino drinker, or maybe she had made a mistake. She saw my puzzlement and pointed to the large sign over the coffee machine. My 20 ounce coffee had gone from 99 cents to a dollar nineteen. And to add insult to injury, the state of Iowa was charging an extra penny sales tax. I put my 6 cents back in my pocket, pulled out an extra dollar bill, paid and left.

  It was a depressing walk home. I had just gotten the same size coffee the day before for 99 cents + tax and it went up 20 cents in the blink of an eye. The coffee wasn’t new and improved either. It was just the same old coffee. As we were walking back, we passed the Casey’s convenience store. I saw that the price of gasoline was still $2.59 a gallon. Since there are 128 ounces to a gallon, I figured my coffee cost over 7.25 per gallon. It’s a good thing our cars don’t run on coffee.

  I don’t understand why coffee is so much more expensive than gasoline. I know the coffee comes in a cup, but if I wanted to, I could buy 20 ounces of gasoline. It only takes the clerk about a minute to get a giant canister of coffee brewing so it can’t be the labor costs. I have to go in the store, pour the coffee in the cup, put the creamer in it, and put the lid on it, so it can’t be the convenience of getting the coffee. After all, I can fill my car up with gas and pay for it without even stepping foot in the store. The only reasonable conclusion is that coffee is more valuable than oil. I bet if coffee had started leaking into the Gulf of Mexico this spill would have been contained in no time. There’s probably more than enough oil but the world is running out of coffee so the country is arranging to strategically stockpile it in our convenience stores. These foreign countries that think they have the USA hooked on foreign oil will eventually realize that we’ve been accumulating an even more valuable commodity and then they’ll be singing a different tune!

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