Even though it’s pretty well established that she didn’t actually say it as it’s commonly reported, like fictitious suicidal lemmings and boiling frogs, Pauline Kael will be forever known as saying nobody she knew voted for Nixon, and symbolizing the New York City dweller’s out-of-touchness with the rest of the country (which voted for Nixon in one of the great electoral and popular massacres of American history).
I therefore institute the Pauline Kael Award for Insularity, and make its first nominee yet another NY Times writer, Dan Ariely, for his article “Eyes off the Price”.
Mr Ariely suggests that it’s the very act of watching the price go up that makes us more sensitive to price increases there than other places. That we don’t notice the other prices going up because we don’t spend the money in the same way.
Really? If you’ve got a bunch of kids and they go through a gallon of milk a day, you think you don’t notice the price going from $2.99 on average to $4.29 in six months–as happened between January 2007 when the ethanol push started, and June 2007?
You don’t notice the weekly food bill going from $250 to $350 over a year? You don’t notice the water and power bill when it spikes?
Five years ago gas was under $2 and today it’s over $4, which makes the increase considerably greater than the increase in milk prices (albeit less condensed).
That’s why we notice.
The people who don’t notice price hikes in other items are people with lots of disposable income they’re not paying much attention to. (I suppose you could be someone without a lot of disposable income whose not paying much attention to it, too, but eventually it’ll up and slap you in the face.)
I dunno, maybe I’m off-base. But not everyone drives. Most everyone eats. The food price spike probably hurts a lot more.