Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
What if rationing did suddenly happen today like it happened during and after WW2? Would you survive? Sure you would. We did. Today many factors effect our food supply such as major disasters. One major concern is the cost of gas and energy. As the cost of energy goes up so does the price of available food and STUFF. STUFF is another subject for another day. Today I talk about food. I believe we must become better educated in order to hold to our budgets.
Think about rationing for a bit. Let’s use sugar as an example. What if there was a 25 percent drop in available sugar? Meaning there would only be 75 out of 100 packages of sugar available. The sugar industry would then start putting sugar in smaller packages so more people could get a share. Also, the price per package would go up to deter folks from buying the whole batch. If those two things didn’t control large purchases then a controlled purchase of some type would be put into effect. In other words, rationing.
What would you do if you couldn’t get 5 lbs packages of sugar anymore but could get only 4 lbs? Would you spend more from your budget to buy more packages or would you use less sugar and find alternative sweeteners? Grandma Mama knew of several alternative sweeteners she could use. White refined sugar was saved for very special occasions. People switched to using honey, treacle, syrup, molasses, fruit juice, or other type sweeteners. My point is that no one actually did without their sweet treats and desserts. The sweet taste came from different sources that’s all. I hope you have the idea about ration and and about adapting to live with it.
If there is less of something available; people will certainly find an alternative for it. so let’s think about what’s available in the stores. Right now. Today. Think about the items you purchase on a regular basis. Items you always have on hand and buy whenever it goes on sale. Have you seen any of those foods or other products disappear from the shelves? If you can’t find it in the store, you can’t buy it. Right? Maybe you’ve simply noticed it’s still available but the price has skyrocketed? Maybe out of your budget range? Well couldn’t that be a form of modern day rationing too?
If an item is available in fewer places it means people will search harder to find it. Someone might say, “I couldn’t find _____ anywhere lately, have you seen it?” And the other person might reply that they have, which means it is available, just not available everywhere. Could this be a different form of rationing? Or could it be a selling strategy? If there is less available, in fewer places, then the price can be raised; sighting scarcity and cost for production as the reasons.
Then there is short sizing as another form of rationing. What is short sizing? Short sizing is when cleaver tricks are used to fool us into believing we are getting more product for the dollar than we really are.
The quickest way to short size something is to say it is sold “by weight” instead of by volume and put it into a really big package that you can’t see through. Cereal is what I think of first and potato chips are another.
People most often purchase items with our eyes instead of our logic. Our eyes see a big package which tells our brain it’s a big package so it must have lots of product. But if you look at the weight, it could be a whole lot less than you thought. Short sizing is a modern version of rationing as well as a way for the processing plants to increase profits.
Another trick is to keep the package looking almost identical but really isn’t. See the photo of the sugar above. When the packages are setting right next to each other you can see a very slight difference in package size. But; if you were looking at those packages from the distance, the bottom shelf in the store, and set a distance apart from each other you wouldn’t see the difference in package size. You would probably look at the price sticker on the shelf and pick up the less costly package believing it to be the better bargain. Wrong! Unless you read the weight or the cost per unit price instead of the price sticker you won’t know you are getting less. A clever trick to get more money from the consumer? Or invisible rationing? It could be either one.
I’ve ranted about short sizing for several years on my main blog. Every time I discover a new short sizing trick I plan to post about it on this blog. It’s hard enough buying groceries these days, tricking us is not cool. I could keep ranting about modern day rationing but I think I need to get busy. Lots to do.