Saturday, March 10, 2012

They Just Don't Get It

There are two words several North Coast merchants/restaurant owners apparently have never heard of: discretionary income. For those who appear to be clueless, a simple explanation is: Whatever money the consumer (your potential customer) has left over to have fun with after buying food and gas and paying bills and taxes. In other words, not much.

I don't know about anyone else, but I have cut way back on my discretionary spending. I call it my Austerity Program. We don't go out at all any more unless it's on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, for one thing. No fast food. No dinners out. Just a few beers (or sodas for him) to get out and socialize. And that's it.

I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one around here who's on an Austerity Program, either.

Yet instead of encouraging us to come back, I've noticed that several places have actually raised their prices on both draft beer (where they already make a several hundred percent profit) and food recently. It's like they're thumbing their noses at their faithful customers, who are finding it ever-harder to be faithful.

Call me pissy, but I strongly feel like I'm being kicked while I'm down. I can barely afford to go to these places anyway (and I'm not talking the chi-chi over-priced tourist traps, either, these are purely blue-collar "local" joints), and they're making me want to just stay home. I'd rather glue myself to my chair than bend over for the price of a draft beer.

OK, that's the end of my food/beer rant. 

Onward to the next one. I needed a certain item, which I'll call a whatsit. I could easily order 2 whatsits online for $3.50, including shipping. But I thought, "What the hell, I'll give a local merchant a shot." Yup, they did, indeed, have a whatsit. For $5 each. 

I turned to the salesgirl and said, "Have you ever heard of the Internet?" and explained that while I'd like to shop local, why the hell would I pay more than double to do so? I don't have money to waste. So I went home and bought 10 whatsits for $16 online, including shipping, and was a very happy camper.

OK, I know the local merchants have to mark up, and have overhead, etc. I get that part. But they should be smart enough to know they have steep competition online, and price accordingly. If there had been a reasonable markup, I might have bought the whatsit downtown. I just don't like being gouged.

On the good side ...

Then there are places like Columbia Produce. Hallelujah and pass the artichokes. They are fabulous, and their prices are always fair. Too bad they don't sell beer on tap and whatsits. 

Click here to see Elleda's photography at the Astoria Photografpix web site

1 comment:

Vadman said...

Well hey - whatsit to you - and I think I know what kinda whatsits you are talking bout.

At any rate, hey lady. Miss ya, was just talking about your Alcor days with Darwin to a co-worker who was awed and is now interested in visiting Astoria.

Go goonies and go you. Hugs