Did you know that a hamburger at McDonald’s used to cost a quarter?
When I was a little kid that fact fascinated me when I read it in an old trivia book. The idea that you could essentially go out for a family meal for a dollar was a novelty and at a time when a hamburger went for around six bucks, $8 if you wanted fries and a drink, if I recall right.
As I’ve grown older I’ve come to understand just how much inflation can impact everyday people. When I first bought my car from my parents in 2018 it only cost me $60 to fill up the tank. Nowadays I’m lucky if I pay $80.
Likewise, groceries prices have only risen since I started buying my own food. A trip to Save-on-Foods the other day cost me $250. Granted, I had some cleaning supplies to buy but that was still a lot of money to spend.
I can’t even imagine how much families with young children are having to spend right now. There’s little wonder why so many rely on the 100 Mile House Food Bank Society to make ends meet. Between the cost of housing, gas and food, people have been squeezed hard over the last few months.
In 2022, according to BC Stats Consumer Price Index, the province saw an average inflation rate of 6.9 per cent compared with prices in December 2021. The cost of food went up an average of 9.5 per cent, the cost of shelter (housing) by 7.1 per cent and the price of transportation 7.6 per cent. The rate of inflation was the highest B.C. has seen in 40 years.
Something I have questioned in recent years is why we have commodified so many things we need to survive. It’s true that not everyone needs an expensive car, fancy clothes and other luxuries. But without food, water and shelter, we die.
Affordable, or dare I say, free options, should be more readily available. Rather than placing the burden solely on food banks and mental health services, it may be time for the government just to provide these basic necessities.
With signs of a global recession on the way now would be the time to consider how these programs might be structured and funded. Because whether or not prices will fall in 100 Mile House or not, we all know that hamburger is going to keep costing us more.
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