The Dollar Store Becomes the Two-Dollar Store
Posted September 30, 2021
I’ve always wondered about the name of the Dollar Store! The first time I went in there I was shocked to find that everything really did cost one dollar. I’ve been a big fan for years. I shop there all the time.
Don’t judge me! I adore a good deal. I’ve never been able to fathom why people gladly pay more for the same product just so that they can have a fancy shopping experience or enjoy the status of being in the right store. The product is the same once you get it home!
And yet, it always struck me as somehow risky to name a store something that depends fundamentally on the value of the dollar. Actually, I vaguely recall that my grandmother used to reference something called the Dime Store. Looking it up, I see now that this was short for the five-and-dime store, also simply called the five and dime. Well, that certainly went away at some point.
The name Dollar Store must have been some kind of homage to that history.
In any case, we can kiss that goodbye too. The Dollar Store has just announced that it will sell more and more items that cost more than a dollar. They cannot and will not change the name. So long as some products cost a dollar, it can still make some sense. The same is true of Dollar General. Over time they will effectively become the Five Dollar Store and the Five Dollar General.
To me, this symbolically marks the end of an era. For forty or so years, we’ve generally stayed within the range of what we might call stable money — not entirely, but the value of the dollar was never inflated away at a pace at which our normal spending patterns became unrecognizable. That has now changed. So much for transitory inflation. It’s our new way of life. The old way is never coming back.
Resistance Is Futile
The stock of the company has been under pressure for some time, and investors are blaming the company for resisting the price change. Stockholders have demanded that the company “break the buck” for a while. This year, management finally gave in. That will help their stock price.
There are other ways inflation manifests itself beside rising prices. My strong impression is that the Dollar Store has been pulling back quality for a while now. I bought a spatula there last month. I used it once, and the handle bent like aluminum foil. I was taken aback. Sure, it only costs a dollar, but the truth is that the thing is nearly useless. It’s great to adhere to the name, but at some point stores have to care about the quality of what they sell.
The Biden administration has taken to blaming private enterprise for price increases. This is because they are economically ignorant and afflicted with an unwillingness to admit that the government and The Fed themselves might be responsible for any economic damage.
Blaming private enterprise is also a strong signal that this administration will consider a form of price control. If this is all about private enterprise gouging people, what harm can come from having the Justice Department lock down the companies from raising prices? Of course such efforts only end in causing shortages which in turn promotes hoarding. Then there have to be controls on that too. That becomes a form of rationing among the civilian population, such that there are restrictions on how much of what you can buy.
Suppliers become pinched and the retail sector can no longer get goods. Restaurants can’t get the food they need to serve customers so they have to shut their doors. The grocery stores start to look ever more like they did in socialist times. Red state, blue state, it doesn’t matter. Once supply chains break, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your governor is. The goods just aren’t there.
This is already happening sporadically around the country. It’s a bit of a shock to people to go to their favorite store and discover randomly missing items. Media is not really reporting on this either. I know because people are sending me via email pictures from their local stores.
Some of the missing store items are due to the shipping-container crisis. That traces to lockdowns for sure. The international trade issue right now is a huge mess. It is fixable, but no one is bothering with doing so. This is not only about broken supply chains. It is also about shortages and extremely high prices that business cannot pay lest they get too levered up and risk all profitability.
A Sign of the Times
I feel as if I need to offer readers an apology. You read this missive daily. My content for decades has been hopeful and cheerful, always celebratory of the good side of life. All that has changed. I’ve changed. We’ve all changed. I despise typing all this bad news to you daily. And yet, I also believe that information is better than not knowing.
I warned that the situation would get worse before it gets better. I’ve been sadly correct. The censors are intensifying their crackdown. The political purge of our institutions is ramping up. Great men and women are losing their jobs and seeing their reputations and careers destroyed. No longer does government care about you, me, or even the social order generally. It’s all about power now.
Great writers of the past have always warned that when money fails, everything in society fails. We are in the early stages of this. We can hope and pray that something changes before we find ourselves in a full-scale crisis. That there can no longer be something viable called the Dollar Store is a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand — a sign of terrible things to come.
Those who prepare stand a better chance of survival in the coming storms. How to do that? Get out of debt. Get to a safe space. Surround yourself with people who love you. Direct your money and resources to good causes and safe spaces. When you can, fight for a restoration of the good life. Stay connected with independent sources of information.
This is the sure prescription for survival.
As for the Dollar Store, it is going the way of the five-and-dime, and washing away a gloriously growing economy with it.
Gilder's Daily Prophecy