A few days ago I ranted about economics, and in particular .22 ammo.
“I know .22 ammo is in short supply. I know this because it’s not on the shelves. America is currently a place where tofu is plentiful and .22 ammo is absent. We’re screwed!”
The common opinion out there is that people are acting weird and buying far more .22 ammo than they can possibly sling at squirrels and tin cans. Some folks call this “hoarding” and I call those folks dumbasses.
“I hate that term! ‘Hoarding’ like ‘gouging’ is simply a word used by people who disagree with what you’ve done with your money.”
But that doesn’t answer the question, why isn’t the market adjusting? In a free market system there should rarely be a shortage of anything… it should simply get more expensive until you can’t afford it and either find an alternative or someone starts making more of it to soak up the sweet profit just lying there to be taken. My theory was that stores were selling it at fixed prices because they’re idiots. By all rights they should be raking us morons over the coals to see what we’ll pay.
Joel at The Ultimate Answer To Kings disagreed with my ‘lots of people are buying it’ theory:
“The Mudge, like many people, assumes the shortage is caused by hoarding but I’m not sure I buy it. I looked for a video clip I can’t find in which a PR flack for an ammo manufacturer assures us they’re cranking out .22 just as fast as they ever have but those evil hoarders are snatching it all up so stay calm, citizens. I wanted to post that vid here, because it sounded for all the world like one of those pressers where a government stooge tries to tell you something you know damn well is a lie. It just had that tone.
I have no alternate theory. I just don’t buy that hoarding explains the shortage away.”
Fair ’nuff. But that just asks the question as to why it’s in short supply. I wanted to know why I couldn’t get it at insane murderous prices.
Question answered: I can get it at insane murderous prices. Last week I stumbled across a supply at a local gun shop. They’d just received a hefty box and offered that I could buy 500 rounds at the low low price of $60+/-. So there you have it. The price is reflecting either the demand which is insane because of “hoarders” or supply which is low because ammo makers are concentrating on higher profit calibers.
I was truly happy to see it! But then, because I’m cheap (or sane), I chose not to buy any.
Part 2: So there I was… driving home having parted ways with the elusive, unattainable, totally gone from everywhere, .22 ammo. I stopped at the grocery store before heading to Curmudgeon Compound. What did I spy? Coffee… on sale!
Now I’m kinda’ into coffee. I don’t need the ultimate high end catshit coffee but I try to avoid the darkened sawdust they put in a can of Folders. Mrs. Curmudgeon and I have been buying the same “mid-quality” brand for years. Like what once was portrayed as well prepared Boy Scouts and is now portrayed as evil exploitive “hoarders” we keep a decent supply on hand. We buy only when the price is good. This is because we are spending our own money instead of someone else’s and therefore due diligence is rewarded. Alas coffee, like everything else, has been getting rather expensive. (THERE’S NO INFLATION PAY NO ATTENTION TO RISING PRICES BECAUSE THERE’S NO INFLATION!!!) So we hadn’t bought coffee in several months. This has been bothering me.
Well hot damn, it was a little over $6.50 a pound for whole beans. That’s a price I haven’t seen in a while. I randomly tossed a dozen 12 ounce bags in my cart and whistled a happy Curmudgeonly tune of joy as I sauntered up to the checkout.
One bottle of dish soap and a dozen bags of coffee. The checkout girl eyed me like I was a loon. (I’m used to it.) “Really like coffee eh?” She said.
“I freebase it.” I smiled. Folks should never start a conversation with me.
“Ummm it’s on sale.” She didn’t know the sale price but the computer did. All hail the robot service industry!
“Yep, better get some. There’s a total breakdown of civil order in Botswana. That’s where the coffee comes from you know. We’ll be all out by Christmas.” I chuckled. Nothing is more fun than saying total nonsense and doing it with a straight face. No wonder people choose to become politicians.
The guy in line behind me disappeared. Five minutes later I was stepping out the door and I saw him wander up to the checkout with an armload of coffee. I’m not sure if he’s preparing for the Botswana collapse or just knows a good price when he sees one. Either way is fine with me. Good coffee is it’s own reward.
Back at home I stashed the new coffee with my other coffee, which is stacked on more coffee. I had a moment of doubt. How much coffee does one guy need?
Then I glanced at the .22 ammo I’d left sitting on the freezer. There’s $13 sticker on a 500 round box. I bought it some random day in the past. Back then there was no hint that the same box would cost $60 in the strange twisted alternate future of 2014. I can chase squirrels and tin cans a while longer before I have to drop $60 on a brick. Then again I’ll probably never again see a $13 brick.
I think I’ll pick up more coffee after payday.