It costs how much?

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

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By Jack Godbey

Contributing Columnist

My wife and I were out of town recently and as we were driving; my stomach suddenly began to demand to be fed. I can tell you that when I’m hungry, my stomach can be more demanding than a politician on election day. While we normally follow a healthy eating regime, we decided that fast food was the best option. It was either that or I was going to start eating French fries from under the seat of the car.

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We pulled into the drive through of a popular fast-food restaurant and imagine my surprise when I learned that for two meals and drinks, the cost was $35. Instantly a fight broke out between my stomach and my wallet. For that price, I could go the Cracker Barrel and sit down and eat food that actually tastes good. Therein lies the problem. I didn’t have time to sit. The worker and I locked eyes and a showdown had begun. The situation reminded me of the Wild West with two gunslingers facing off in the street. Except this time, it was between me and the restaurant worker. I could have sworn I saw a tumbleweed blow across the street as the worker and I engaged in our battle of wills. I had enough of being gouged and I decided that here in the drive through was where I was taking a stand. However, as I glanced over at my wife in the passenger seat, she gave me a look as if to say, “Feed me now or I’ll chew your face off.” That was my clue that the showdown had gone on long enough. I gave in and handed the worker my money which he accepted with a smirk on his face to make sure I knew that I had been defeated.

I was so upset about being robbed at the fast-food restaurant that I didn’t even taste a single bite of my meal as I crammed it in my mouth. The next day, after we arrived home, we went to the grocery store, and I went to pick up a box of cereal and I couldn’t believe my eyes at how much it cost. When I was growing up, we at least got a cool toy out of the cereal and there were puzzles on the back of the box. Eating the cereal was an experience. Sure, I can buy a box of sugar laced cereal a little cheaper. However, for a box of cereal that won’t send me into a sugar induced coma, I have to cash a savings bond to afford it without a single toy in the box to look forward too.

On the way home, we stopped at a secondhand store to search for treasures, and I was amazed at the prices they were charging for other people’s trash. I have enough trash of my own, so I’ll have to pass. Not a lot of “good will” going on.

It seems that everywhere I turn, someone is trying to rob me with their inflated prices. I miss the good old days when I was a kid. I had a set of chores that I had to do every day and as a reward, I received fifty cents allowance on Saturday that I could spend when we went to town. I would buy a can of grape soda, a bag of Cheetos and a pack of Hubba Bubba chewing gum and have enough left over to put a nickel or two in my Smokey and the Bandit Piggy Bank.

Here it is, 45 years later and when I cash my paycheck, I’m still only putting a nickel in my piggy bank. I’m thinking of buying some fast food, anybody got a hammer.