Way back during the Carter/Reagan presidencies, America suffered one of the worst cases of inflation in its history. It survived it. This past April, the country chalked up an “impressive” 8.2% overall price increase on goods which, while better than March’s, got everyone’s attention big time.
Most visible to the average citizen at the gas pump, inflation reaches into most sectors of the economy and has people flailing around looking who to blame…which, honestly, doesn’t do a whole lot of good and never did. It’s human nature to blame. It’s also human nature to spend anyway.
Most people only care about increasing prices on the things and services they usually buy. They don’t give a hoot that the price of a new boat has gone up, but they will look twice at the receipt their grocery store checker hands them along with the bag of breakfast cereal, coffee and cold cuts.
So, what do you do? Cut back on non-essentials? This is America, after all, a special place where people tend to spend their last nickel on something if they want it…even, too often, if they can’t afford it.
How is this affecting coin-op? Again, apart from rocketing gasoline prices for the route people, not all that much from what we hear. Collections out there continue to be robust for many, although summer’s coming when folks tend to move themselves and their money outdoors, so who knows.
Of course, if someone’s on the economic edge and needs to make a choice between buying a gallon of gas of a couple of spins on a coin machine, that’s another story.
The finger of guilt for this round of inflation can quite honestly be pointed at Covid-19. We just can’t go through a horror movie like that without this kind of fallout. The disruption to the world’s economy has by no means been all ironed out yet. Now, some “in the know” pundits are forecasting another spike, though nowhere near the impact of the original lockdown.
Like politics, the impact of this round of inflation will be felt locally. Just use your head on what you buy and don’t worry too much what happens three states away, or even three towns for that matter. And remember: these price waves come and go like the waves on a beach. At least, that’s what history shows.